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2.02.09: going nowhere fast

How to Get Out the Door without Getting Tangled in Your Laces

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Team Dalog
Do you ever get stuck in not knowing?

All dressed up, with nowhere to go.

— William Allen White

In September, shortly after school started, one of my must-read cartoon strips, Rose is Rose, depicted each member of the Gumbo family on their way out the front door:

Wage-earner Jimbo purposely strides forth, lunch box in hand – DAYSHIFT FOR THE NEXT 8 HOURS – the caption reads.

Little Pasquale sallies forth wearing a wide grin and his red backpack – THIRD DESK ON THE RIGHT IN MS. HARRIS’ SECOND GRADE CLASS – his caption announces.

And then Rose is seen poised at the door, one tentative foot raised and a blank look on her face – NO CAPTION.

…that is until:
VRROOOM, Rose’s big-haired super biker-alter-ego roars forth on her souped-up motorcycle – WHEREABOUTS AVAILABLE ON A NEED-TO-KNOW BASIS – trumpets the caption!

As I absorbed the first three windows of this cartoon strip I felt a kinship with Rose-at-the-door, destination-unknown… she and me, stalled at the front door staring blankly into the great unknown… I’m stuck in the “not knowing” but unlike Rose, my alter-ego doesn’t seem to be waiting in the wings ready to whisk me forth into a bold adventure. As to my future whereabouts, it appears I’m not on the need-to-know list!

Tangled In My Laces

Instead I’m left “not knowing”… wondering where my feet should take me… and feeling that if I did step forth I’d find my shoes laced together – can’t you just see me tumbling down the steps?

Secretly I do believe there must be some part of me that is on the list – a part of me, call her my warrior spirit if you will, that knows or at least has some inkling of my future whereabouts… whose voice I can’t seem to discern amidst this cacophony of confusion, this worry over tangled laces.

In her post Four Tips for Finding YOUR Groove, Erika Harris of suggests:

Develop a high tolerance for mystery and the unknown…

…You know what the difference is between pushing an elephant uphill, and slicing butter with a hot knife? One is groovy, the other is not… [So, as you’re looking for your groove…]

If you’ve been banging your head (instead of crowning it), or beating your chest (instead of listening to it) there is good news.

Despair, depression and hopelessness – when felt for any length of time – is a ruthless and radical cleanser.

Scrub-a-dub-dub-squeaky clean.  And clear.  It gifts you with a zero-tolerance for fake, cheap, knock-offs of any sort.  That kind of darkness can make you wild and bug-eyed.  It can sharpen your animal instincts, and bring you back to YOUR center.

All that static-noise that’s utterly void of value gets replaced with sacred silence, so you can hear you for a change…

I wonder if I could learn to have less need for “knowing”… if I could learn to stop worrying about getting tangled up in my laces and, instead, to simply walkabout like the teens of today, shod but lace-less?

Writing Our Own Caption

I want to learn how to listen for my warrior spirit as she tries to VRROOOM me into my future whereabouts and I want to learn to trust that I can find meaning and purpose as I go instead of needing to know it all ahead of time.

We will not know unless we begin.

— Peter Nivio Zarlenga

And so, I will search out and find new ways to write my own captions and author my own bold entrance into each new day… learning to listen to that inner sacred silence, finding a way into meaning, and boldly moving into discovery.

Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.

— Mignon McLaughlin

Do you ever get stuck in not knowing?

2 comments to How to Get Out the Door without Getting Tangled in Your Laces

  • The G-Ma

    Nice post, Ellie. We do subconsciously sabotage our best selves over and over again. I trip and get my best party clothes torn and dirty. Metaphorically.

    Age has tempered some of this psychological clumsiness, then dishes out physical clumsiness as a tradeoff.

    I’ve also found that learning some new insight or aspect about myself poses the question: “So, what’re you gonna do about that?” Often the answer is Nothing.

    And so I limp into elderhood maturity, shoelaces dragging through the puddles.

  • Ellie

    Welcome to “The G-Ma”! My answer to “what are you gonna do about that?” is: Have FUN anyway! I mean, talk about self-sabotage, I defrosted the salmon for dinner on the same evening I was invited to dine with friends! Bought Halloween candy 2 weeks early when I am FINALLY “back in the saddle” on my fitness program… “lost” my ID badge so I can’t go to the gymn instead of walking in the rain… the list goes on and on. So I hear ya — I may be limping along but I’m still splashing in the puddles…