I wear so many hats at work sometimes that by the end of the day, I feel like I can’t make one more decision or think about one more thing. I just need to shut down a bit. I get the sensation of an engine revving too hard and not being able to slow down, even when the foot’s off the pedal. I put on the blanket-over-the-head hat and try to knock the engine down a few RPMs, but sometimes I can’t. I couldn’t figure out dinner; if it had been up to me, we’d have eaten cheese crunchies. Luckily, Doug made us wonderful risotto with grilled zucchini. He’s amazing, he completely rescued me from the dark place last night.

But I was unable to meditate yesterday despite trying, took Benadryl to sleep and even then woke up occasionally with some random work thought. I woke up today at 4:50, still super groggy, but once I got back in bed after going to the bathroom, that was it, no going back to sleep. So up I got and was on my bike by 6:30 going to the office. Still having a small intimate pity party in my head, not the huge rager of the night before, the usual amount of poor me chatter, whine and cheese…

As I biked, I noticed that 6:30 is a different kind of commute. Less cars of course, but not the same people out and about. A fair number of them though – many appearing to be homeless, just starting out their day with carts and packs loaded up, a few having conversations with themselves.

I rode along, continuing to enumerate the many burdensome tasks of my day and wondering how I would manage to make even a tiny bit of progress up what felt like a mountain. I turned into the international district. Although the food bank wouldn’t open for a couple of hours, two old ladies were already sitting on the sidewalk outside, one hunched over looking asleep. Across the street a few feet further was someone sleeping on the ground with a blanket pulled over them. My mind didn’t chide me or shame me, it just pointed out that there are LITERAL blankets people have to pull over their head in order to survive.

Oh yeah, nothing like perspective whacking you in the face at o’dark:30. Not that a bunch of less fortunate people were deliberately put in my path to remind me that I am so incredibly lucky, but that if you are actually paying attention, you might have some understanding about your own situation that helps you be stronger, calmer, kinder, able to take on your work with the dignity and patience it deserves.

And I did.

I think I might sleep better tonight.