Morning again. I woke ahead of the alarm clock, a bit wistful that it wasn’t much earlier; I’d have enjoyed going back to sleep for a while. I woke, showered, made coffee, and wondered all the while at how easily our fears can change our minds, or our behavior. Mine, too, I’m not immune. Sure, I’m not feeling backed into a corner over recent terrorist attacks, lashing out in anger underscored by fear against an ‘enemy’ I don’t know and can’t define. Instead, my fears hit me very close to home, in the night, frozen while I listen to a neighbor wail. It was last night, and it was the sort of cry in the darkness that sources with terrible grief and pain. I have made such sounds, and felt feelings that project such sounds into the darkness… but I took no action last night. I laid quietly, very still, feeling distant fear wash over me, wondering…locked in the past, and fearing someone else’s moment, until quiet came and sleep overtook me.

I hesitate to load myself down with ‘should haves’, but I find myself facing the woman in the mirror with a firm question this morning. “Why did you not act?” Because, I could have – I live next door. To dress and knock on the door and ask the simple question “Are you okay? Can I help?” could mean so much to someone in distress. I didn’t go and I didn’t ask the question. My distant ancient fear got to me first, and I lay still in the night, frightened and wondering. I am able to make choices that result in being a better person than I was yesterday. I take a moment for gratitude that I live, really, such a singularly peaceful life day-to-day, these days. It’s hard to spell out how much that matters, or how much I value it. Contrasting experiences, like my neighbor’s distress in the night, are powerful reminders how far I have come since those long ago years when I was the one wailing in the darkness, terrified and wounded.

I sip my coffee and prepare for the work day. Here too there is room for gratitude and a moment of appreciation; I’ve gotten past much of my work stress, and regained my balance by restoring my perspective on having a job, in general. I have a good action plan for making significant improvements in my overall experience of working, and yes there are verbs involved, and change. I’ve remembered to shift the emotional investment in my experience back into my own experience of my time and life with myself, and firmly away from the tasks required during working hours to meet the needs of employment; it’s a job, and only that. Allowing my professional commitment in return for a well-earned paycheck to become anything more significant than that in the way I view myself holds so much potential discontent and frustration, for me personally. I am excited about the future, and although I don’t expect most plans to turn out as planned when life unfolds, I do find a bit of planning quite nice as a starting point. A plan is a map with which to begin again.

Every sunrise is a chance to begin again.

Every sunrise is a chance to begin again.