By Tim Miller of The Leaky Faucet Blog
You will tell me that serenity is not possible. That life is too crazy. Work. The kids. The house. Shopping. Bills. Too much to do and not enough time to do it. The endless monotony of life during a shutdown, day after day after day. The weekend that doesn’t feel like a weekend. Another whatever Monday that bleeds into a slough of weekdays. The constant— just a minute…I’m working right now interruptions. Ugh.
The mere suggestion of a word like serenity is insulting. Because you know what’s coming.
School. It’s about to start. Again. At home. Can you feel it? The mere word, the first syllable even, schuh…..and there’s that little urge to throw up in the back of your throat.
Those four unopened emails from the school district in your inbox aren’t helping. Neither is the tension in the back of your neck or the elevated blood pressure I’ve induced by reminding you.
But I tell you that not only will serenity be possible this fall, it’s simple and easy to achieve with short, consistent practice.
Let’s get started!
To begin, you might want to print out a picture of a bump on a log. Try to pick one that has a nice, round bump. Color is a nice bonus, too. Go ahead and tape it to the wall in a place that is normally a location of stress: above that desk where you attend zoom after zoom, the place you pay bills, above the sink always cluttered with dishes.
Now that you’ve got your bump, the next thing to do is very important and also very easy: stare at it.
Start small, maybe thirty seconds. Work your way up, incrementally, tacking on 15 or 30 seconds a day. See if you can get up to ten minutes of solid bump stare time. If your mind wanders, that’s OK— it will, just bring it back to the bump.
Eventually, when you close your eyes during dinner or waiting in line to enter a grocery store, you’ll see it. The very picture of serenity in the midst of a hectic modern life turned upside down by a global pandemic: a bump on a log, doing nothing but sitting there for hundreds of years.
You might be tempted to start applying your bump right away to stressful situations. But don’t rush it! Keep up your daily practice. Just seeing it is not enough. You must become the bump on the log.
So continue with your practice and be patient. It will come. Once you feel you’re ready, it’s time to give it a go.
Let’s pick an example. Oh I don’t know, there’s so many to choose from… how about a bedtime routine when everyone is cranky and irritated and dirty? Kids are screaming about water temperature and ocular soap penetration. No one will do anything you say. They argue over who’s turn it is to get out first. Then no one will go out. Then they are fighting over who gets to get out. Bath time is over, but the water works are just getting started. One of your kids has tangles up the ying yang. Everyone is freaking out. You’ve reached the breaking point. That’s when it’s time. Time to become that bump that you’ve studied and mastered and learned every little nuance of.
Your significant other will turn to you. Ask you to do something as basic as hand over the tangle spray that is just beyond the reach of her extended, dripping hand.
Then you will hear it. And you will know that you’ve arrived. A far away voice, above the canopy, gently falling in dappled sunlight.
“Hey, bump on a log. Care to lend a hand?”
About the Author
Tim Miller is a writer and humorist living in San Marcos, CA. To the dismay of plumbers everywhere, he blogs his leaky thoughts at https://thefaucetblog.com/. Find him on Twitter @faucetwriter. As a school teacher and father of three young daughters, he’s f*cking hysterical when he’s fully rested, which is never.