Are you one of those got-it-together folks who – unlike Tootles – have their marbles all lined up and ready for play?
Peter Pan: How could you know Tootles?
Thud Butt: He was a Lost Boy.
[Thud Butt takes out a small pouch] These are his marbles. These are his happy thoughts.
[Peter empties out the pouch of marbles into his hand and laughs]
Peter Pan: He really did lose his marbles, didn’t he?
— From the movie Hook
I envy people who seem to have everything all organized and lined up… I myself am often on the verge of losing my marbles – they just keep scattering every which way…
Once upon a time, as I was preparing to go on vacation, I wrote in my journal: Why is it so hard to let go of my everyday life and take a few days off? I was feeling torn in many directions because I wanted to get so much done before I left and I needed to pack but wasn’t sure what to take along…which is why I wrote: I feel so helter skelter, so disjointed, so fragmented and, frankly, so confused.
And, today, as I revisited that journal entry, I recall that “going on a trip” is my metaphor for “my life journey” and all these mental mutterings about losing my marbles are simply echoes of my earlier lament: Why is it so hard to let go of the status quo and step into a new future? I feel so helter skelter, so disjointed, so fragmented and, frankly, so confused as I contemplate my future-forward moves…
Time to Knuckle Down
[Knuckle down is] a particular phrase used by lads at a play called taw, [marbles] wherein they frequently say, “Knuckle down to your taw,” or fit your hand exactly in the place where your marble lies.
Now that’s good advice for the game of life too: when I feel like I’m losing my marbles I must knuckle down to my task, fit my mind exactly in the place my difficulty lies and get on with the game! So simple, so obvious – and thus, probably a bitch to actually do! But for now I will assume I can and will implement however imperfectly. I will move forward and play my marbles where they lie.
Paul Coelho, Brazilian author and blogger writes about his daily practices saying:
Of course, I also live my life in a way that every day will present new challenges and unexpected things. I don’t like to have everything planned beforehand. This is mainly because:
- It’s pointless: life is impossible to predict.
- It’s the very salt of life – I don’t want to know what’s going to happen.
Me? I’d like to find a bit of balance between the focused act of “knuckling down” and Coelho’s more laissez-faire approach. In other words, I want to learn not to get rattled by scattered marbles. I know, I know – that’s a negative action statement – you can’t “not do something”, so let me rephrase: I want to learn to just reassess the lay of the marbles and forge forward anyway. This could make for some very productive, very interesting new times as long as I don’t keep losing my marbles along the way! (Yeah, yeah, I know – another negative action statement. Bite me…)
Hang on to Your Happy Thoughts!
All is not lost – I’m still in the game and knuckling down on these happy thoughts:
- Life is a song – sing it.
- Life is a game – play it.
- Life is a challenge – meet it.
- Life is a dream – realize it.
- Life is a sacrifice – offer it.
- Life is love – enjoy it.
— Sai Baba