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Kansas City MO 64131

SQUIRRELS ARE DRIVING THE BUS

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SQUIRRELS ARE DRIVING THE BUS

Cindy Maddera

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I am having one of those scatter brained weeks where I can't keep track of my own thoughts let alone any one else's thoughts. The mind chatter (citta vritti) is so dang loud and my ability to focus on any one thing for a minute is a miracle. I was supposed to meet someone for drinks last night at 7:30. I thought this would give me enough time to eat something good for me, maybe lay down and close my eyes for twenty minutes, do something to calm the growing panic and quiet some of those thoughts. But no...the minute I walked through the front door, my power went out. In fact, the power went out in the whole dang neighborhood. Technically I should have been all business as usual. There was no TV or internet to distract me. I couldn't cook anything. There was nothing I could do but sit and wait. I didn't sit and wait. I paced around the house as it gradually got hotter and hotter. So by the time I made it to the bar, I had worked myself into a complete nervous wreck. I was given the task of pouring my can of beer into my tiny glass and I spilled half of it on the bar. I don't know who that guy was expecting to meet last night but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Lucille Ball. There's a moment before every one of these dates where I'm standing just outside the meeting place and I think "I've made a terrible mistake" and it takes all my will power to keep my feet firmly planted to the side walk so that I don't turn and run. I start playing the What If game and I don't know if you know this, but I am good at the What If game. I can What If any one off this planet. The What if game always starts with a tiny minor question like "What If I get a flat tire?" and then that snowballs into "What If my car explodes?". Usually though the game ends with "What If I made or am going to make a mistake?". No matter what the situation, this is always the final What If. When did I get this fear of making mistakes? This part of the What If game was all consuming near the end of Chris's life. I just knew that I had done something wrong and that catastrophic mistake ended up costing me everything. I know, I KNOW, I didn't make any mistakes and I did all the right things. I know this. Really. It's just part of the What If game and at that time in my life the What If game got tough and mean and serious and never really went away. I still play the What If game. Of course I do. Why wouldn't I? It's so much fun to fill up on self doubt! Especially when you're such an amazing person like me!

And that my friends is why I may or may not be so dang amazing. Sometimes I lose the What If game. Sometimes I let those thoughts worm their way into my brain like parasites. I let myself panic. I believe that whatever step I take next is going to be the wrong one. I drape that anxiety over my shoulders like a fucking cape. I do this because I know that I can't always be winning. Losing the game forces me to make a change and look for a different solution and approach things from a different angle. Because What If my car explodes? Well...if I'm in the car that's it and I can't do anything about it. If my car explodes and I'm not in it at the time, I have insurance. Cars can be replaced. But What If I make a mistake? Well...that ones a bit more difficult to swallow. It means owning up to doing something wrong or stupid. It means admitting that you are not perfect. That's just harder to do. Except...I know I'm not perfect and I know that I'm pretty good at learning from my mistakes. So What If I make a mistake? It's the same thing as my car exploding and it's my mistake to make. Sometimes it takes a moment of panic and distraction for me to remember these things. Sometimes I have to let the squirrels drive the bus just so I can remember how stupid it is to ride the bus while they're behind the wheel. I need that reminder.

So right now, all I'm doing is working on calming the citta vritti and next week I'll have some other thing to work on, maybe even make some more mistakes. Focusing on one little task at a time.