What’s the point— Just last week, I was asking that about life, and once or twice I could taste the panic rising in my throat.

Thing is, that question has no good answer. It’s an endless kind of loop. Which is to say, not helpful, whatsoever. I know all too well where that question can lead if unnoticed and unmet by kindness. And that’s a place I’d rather not return.

But turning my back on the despair the question carries in its wake? Never worked.

(I notice how hard it is to write the word despair. There’s shame about admitting that it still, sometimes, arises).

Something says: Heidi, aren’t you past that already?

Apparently not. How do I know?

Because, there it was, just days ago, galloping in my ribcage and weighing down my chest like those leaden vests they make you wear while the technician runs out of room to zap the X-ray from somewhere behind the safety glass.

Fear. I can plaster it with affirmations, pretending I’m past it. But hel-lo! There it is. And it doesn’t much matter how good the affirmation is: if I’m using it to cover up fear? It’s bullshit. Plain and simple. And…

Bullshit by any other word? Yah.

Besides, when the “positive stuff”—you know, the affirmations, the grin and bear it everything-is-fine-thank-you-very-much smiles, the platitudes, the parroting of verses, proverbs, quotes or texts no matter how sacred—is used to cover up fear? Useless. The bogeyman may not come out in the noontime sun, but at 3 a.m.? Yeah. Yikes!

So, this is me out of the closet:

Hello, my name is Heidi, and I am a haver of a hard time. Last week it was panic.

Hi Heidi. Welcome.

Of bags and trees

Today was a blue sky, just-a-sweatshirt kind of spring day here in Boston. There I was, walking down Mass Ave from Davis to Central Square (to meet with Dave, owner of Black Lotus Yoga, where I am signing on as Massage Therapist come May —yay!) noticing trees. This isn’t unusual for me. I love trees no matter what, no matter where: in summer, full and round. In fall, decked out in celebration. In winter, breath-takingly naked. In spring, bursting in bloom. Like today.

So there I was, la-de-da-ho-hum ambling along noticing trees and then this one Magnolia in particular with a black plastic bag stuck in its branches was there. That’s right, there:

Of all things to be, a black plastic bag isn’t tops. Especially these days when everyone including moi is calling them names like “bad,” and leaving them to not decompose anytime soon for their much sexier and politically correct cousins, the reusable canvas bags.

Now you could say that black plastic bag did not belong there in that tree, and of course in many ways you’d be right. But, know what?

Saying that does not take away from the reality of it being there. And know what else?

If you’re going to be a plastic bag, and if you’re going to be stuck? Might as well hang out on the branch of a bursting Magnolia. Just sayin! The scent. The view. (Not to mention that chick taking my picture!)

And if you’re going to have panic come a-visiting, as sometimes it is wont to do with some of us? Why not take it by the hand, out into the world. Because seriously! A closet? When was the last time you tried sitting in a closet all day? And under the covers? Might stuffy, I say, mighty stuffy.

So, what’s the point?

Life. Life is the point. My friend Kate tweeted it best:

“Today I remembered why I go out into the world; not because it’s good for me, not spiritual homework, but because this is the point. Life.”

Until next time, see you around! Maybe on Mass Ave. Maybe on the branch of that Magnolia—

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