"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baseballs & Smiles

Hold each thought and emotion separately.
Cling to none.
Push away none.

Like pitches across the plate, each thought is watched and labeled. "That is a curve ball."  "That is a fast ball." Do not catch them. Do not swing for the fences. Observe and label, feel and release. Wait for the next. This is a metaphor in mindfulness and my daily exercise. With this practice I will eventually know a strike from a ball.


Yesterday I was at Office Max waiting for a print job. A man was at the counter. He turned to leave and smiled at me. I thought I smiled back. He said, "Oh, don't give me that kind of smile. I've been getting those fake smiles all day." I gave him my best false 'Cheese'. He wasn't so thrilled with that one either. Another man walked in the door. He said, "Smile. It can't be all that bad!"  I said, "Are people going to tell me to smile all day? Do I look that pathetic?"  He said, "You woke up breathing didn't you? Smile."

The old cliche, "Things could always be worse" never really has any teeth. Of course they could! That's why we have the story of Job. I'm not sure when I'll feel like smiling again. I am grateful for my family, health, jobs, bills paid, grace, mercy, forgiveness. So much. But a smile comes from somewhere else, somewhere beyond gratitude. I'll know it when it comes. I'll take a swing at it.


  1. brilliant.

    i know, it's not the point, but you just nailed a ball and sent it out of the park!


  2. Funny you should mention that. I've noted that I was shocked (when viewing photos of myself), that I looked soooo tired, downtrodden, sad and dispirited (even when I was feeling happy). Our faces reveal our current state of affairs.

    The good news?

    Our current state of affairs is subject to modification.

  3. You smile when you feel like it Annie. I fucking hate fake cheerfulness. Screw that guy and anybody else who pisses you off. Shoot 'em the bird next time and tell 'em that's from your crazy coonass friend in Louisiana. Love you!!! :-0 xoxo

  4. I can't wait to read a poem about your smile when it comes :)

  5. erin called that one right.

    i am thrilled to be in the company of someone who melts metaphors and swings thoughtfully.

    practice makes perfect, you know. perhaps you can offer one wide smile to some one person who wants directions to somewhere beyond gratitude.

    you, by the way, are a welcomed gift to myself this past year. i have good taste.

    (huge grin)

  6. Annie, for the first time in 9 years I woke up alone on Christmas morning, I drove to the place my soon to be x wife and my children were and acted like I was happy for them...If you look back over my posts from the time I started my blog most of them have had to do with this situation...three in particular were Screaming at me from inside my head: Sadness becomes me, Whisper so soft, and God rest a giant. This blog thing has been a way for me to do something that I have always wanted to do, and also A way for me to vent as my life was being ripped to shreds. I have started smiling again, not all the time, but often enough that I am able to go through some days without feeling completely helpless hopeless afraid and alone. Thank you for being a part of this process!

  7. I smile because I know that living is the hard part...and just a drop of water in the ocean of spirituality

  8. I really appreciate you guys. Today is a hard day. I need to write I think, but don't know if I can.

  9. "Things could always be worse" never really has any teeth. Of course they could! That's why we have the story of Job..."

    My good friend, KP... a Hindi, tells me that in each Life time we live, there is a lesson that we are to learn, and that we carry those lessons forward, until we live a perfect enough Life to move on to the next plane... the next level.

    I figure my lesson for this Lifetime has been to learn about Patience... and in that end, suffering...

    I don't think it was an accident that my initials spell "JOB"...


  10. a smile comes from somewhere else, somewhere beyond gratitude. I'll know it when it comes...

    wonderful! and even if they seem to prod us way too hard sometimes .. there are angels everywhere and in every circumstance ...


Thank you for listening.