Grows All Around

And the dirt was in the hole
And the hole was in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
And the green grass grows all around.

Trouble comes around. It always does. The ol’ noggin is not a very reliable companion when the bad things kick your feet out from under you. The imagination flees. Instead of heading for the safety of open light, it usually panics and takes you further down the rabbit hole. You know the one I’m talking about. The walls crumble and you lose your grip. Nests of dark things gather at the edges. Through the tunnel, wrong voices howl.
 
Up and is an open field, low sun and a place on this earth where you belong exactly as you are. You have to plunge your hands in. Grab the root of something bigger than you. Climb.
 
This is how I feel my way back up towards that tiny circle of light. Because it is dark down there, I memorized the steps. One for each finger of each hand (or for each toe when the hands won’t still themselves) Five things by mid-day. Five more before nightfall. This mnemonic map gets me there every time, one inch at a time. It helps me seek purchase. Catch my breath. Return to the vast sanctuary of the living.
 
GREEN

Giggle. Doesn’t matter how. Bad stand up comedy, a goofball friend, or potty humor. Force a laugh up through that body and cast the demons out.

Rest. Find it again. Work naps in. Create order in the night: no screen time before bedtime, ease down the lights, arrange a nest of pillows. No talking allowed. No thinking either. For that, move on to the next step:

Exit. Literally: Go outside. Find air, art, body. Move over the skin of the earth. Figuratively: Every time your thoughts return to Trouble, picture turning your back and walking away. Every time. Even the 472nd time in an hour. Notice that you have looped back. Smile and say goodbye again. Turn around and leave it behind.

Eyes Up. Ten degree above the horizon. Notice something, anything, up and out of yourself. Take in the streak of the light across the roofs. Learn the name of one single tree. List all the synonyms you can think of for “free” and “flight.”

Nourish. Find the luscious, immerse in the extraordinary. Treat each one of your five senses to a decadence that you rarely allow. Take a bath in water scented with tea and chocolate. Press your cheek to the flank of a horse then get up and ride. Sit near a window and eat a heap of jewels – beets and rare greens and shavings of ginger – as you track the setting sun.
 
GRASS

Give. Find someone or something needing care. Provide it. Offer a gift. Your time, your strong back, your cookies, your hug. Your well is not empty. Fill someone else’s and you will replenish your own.

Reach. Keep on giving shape to the life you want. Name it, scratch a blueprint of it into the walls, build the scaffolding from old take-out chopsticks and unpaid bills. Work the flesh over it one patch at a time until it is whole. You have more than enough lung capacity to breathe it to life.

Assemble. Troops, allies, cheerleaders. Find your friends and loved ones. Don’t be afraid that you have been too absent to draw them back in. The ones who will help you heal will show up, and others you have not met yet will join your army.

Sweat. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Don’t give yourself one second to think. Get up and get moving. Right there on the living room floor if necessary. Move. Jump. Run. Let your endorphins do the work all the self-talk can’t.

Sing. Out loud, in the shower, on the street. Push the volume past 10. Flood your ears with music. Rumi offers this:

And if one of our instruments breaks,
it does not matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

Let it penetrate every crack in your shattered being. Let song knit you back together.

And in that dirt
There was some roots,
The prettiest little roots
That you ever did see.
Oh, the roots was in the dirt and the dirt was in the hole
and the hole was in the ground,

And the green grass grows all around, all around
And the green grass grows all around.

 

Here, See Louis Jordan and the Tympany 5 do a jump-blues version sometime in the 1940’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoBWy72t2gA
 
See Coleman Barks’ interpretation of Rumi’s poem, “Everything is Music,” here.
 

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