If this were a standardized test (yeccchhh) and you had to pick one from the list below, in reference to the title, above, which would you choose?
- An upcoming film with Johnny Depp
- A new theme ride at Disney (see “A”, above)
- A sci-fi fantasy series with a young wizard on an epic and archetypal journey of self-discovery
- Or, the confessions of a 12-stepper about his much loved/much despised locus of disastrous projection.
Anyone need a hint? Didn’t think so. So, put your #2 pencils down, as they used to say, and attend the tale, if you will.
On a basis more regular than I would care to admit, I pack up my gear, climb into my little boat, and head straight for the Island of the Wreckage of the Future (may we call it IWF?). Once safely on shore, I pitch my tent and make my “home”. And, of course, nothing but ill befalls me on IWF (hence, the name, but you knew that). There are no fish to be caught. The wood for the fire is too green to burn. My sleeping bag got wet coming over, so, it’s miserable to bed down with. No cell reception.
And, after a night of that, I am full of self-pity. Then of course, I want to soothe myself, and that’s a whole other bucket of ugly.
On my better days, the little boat never leaves dry dock. Or, if I take it out, I only go half-way to IWF. Or, if I make it to the other shore, I don’t camp out…I look around, see that everything’s the same, and return the way I came
Must I go to IWF at all? I cannot say “why” I take the trip. Of course, I remember the previous trips, and their disastrous outcomes. But, that is not enough to dissuade me. So, since I cannot unravel the “why”, it has become much more healthful to take behavioral measures..
It is a mental discipline to leave the boat in dry dock. It’s telling myself that I have no idea how things will turn out, so why predict disaster? It’s calling other folks to say that I am contemplating the trip, asking them to reinforce my real desire not to go. It’s admitting that I really want to control the outcome, and predicting a bad one is a form of control. It’s reminding myself that, in the Great Abundant Exchange which we might call God, all things eventually work together for good (although my definition of “good”…well, we’ll save that for another time).
It helps to meditate; to practice mindfulness. It helps to admit fear, to welcome it, and then to release it. By the way, Cynthia Bourgeault has written a wonderful book on Centering Prayer, which also mentions this Welcoming Practice. More at:
Of course, there are other productive things I can do. If this really is a problem, I can research a solution. I can call friends for resources. I can make a plan of action and follow through. Much the same way that I reviewed my finances this summer, reconfirmed that renting on the Upper West Side was not a sound proposal for the long term, and decided to move.
Did I tell you that I am in process of buying a sweet studio in a pre-war building on a quiet street in Jackson Heights? There’s no dockage, and I’m ok with that, for now…