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Each Day

Each Day

(From Brainstorms)

I’m doing the best I can

with each day that I’m living,

to try to embrace

the gifts I’ve been given.

Sometimes I soar.

Sometimes I squeak by.

Sometimes I just want to

lie down and cry.

Some days are light;

Others are packed.

I hope I won’t let things

slip through the cracks.

I aim to be kind

to the people I know

and I’m sorry for any

hurt I may sow.

One thing I’ve found

I try not to forget:

The easier I am,

the easier life gets.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman wrote to ask me about a poem in my book, Brainstorms. She said that she could relate to "Each Day,” but wondered what I meant by the last line: “The easier I am, the easier life gets.” I loved the question and want to share the response that I wrote her.

I wrote “Each Day” five years ago when my personal life as I knew it unraveled and I couldn’t yet imagine the new form it would take. I was “in the mystery,” as I sometimes say to my daughter when she asks me a question to which I don’t know the answer. “In the mystery” was a very unsettling place for me.

“In the mystery,” I felt a sense of loss, anger, and helplessness. I was overwhelmed by the idea of having to figure out so much that was new to me. I woke up most mornings with a pit of anxiety in my stomach from the uncertainty of not knowing what would come next. At the same time, I also noticed moments when I felt a sense of ease in my mind, my heart, and my spirit. I was curious about those moments.

One day in a class I was taking on brain science and leadership, the instructor said, “Be easy with yourselves. We’re all just doing the best that we can.” Something clicked in me. I decided to try an experiment. What would happen if I leaned into those places of ease and gave them space to grow? What if I shifted my attention (just a little) from what was causing me stress and moved toward what brought me joy? What if I loosened the reins of having to figure everything out in advance and instead trusted that a path would unfold if I kept moving?

Today I’m in a new mystery, one we’re all in together, even if each of our situations is unique. In some ways, my work-from-home life doesn’t feel that different. At times, I feel a wave of overwhelmed with trying to keep up with “homeschooling,” cooking, information, and communication. I can find great delight in spending time with my kids, but most days we all reach a tipping point and need to give ourselves a timeout. There are so many questions to which the only answer I have is: “I don’t know. It’s in the mystery.”

The planner in me wants to have a timeline and schedule, to have at least some sense of what's next. When I lean into that feeling of ease that I’ve cultivated over time, I find myself reveling in a feeling of timelessness, staging dance parties with my daughter in the living room, wandering off the trail to explore a patch of light that catches my eye, and meandering into long, rich conversations instead of straight-to-the-point text message exchanges. Somehow the meals still get prepared, the laundry and homework are completed, and work projects move forward. It just happens in a different rhythm, one that feels like I’m flowing with a current, rather than pushing against it.

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