“My older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.
Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
If Anne Lamott is not on your radar, you’re missing a great lady to have by your side in the daily pressures and grinding down on you that life sometimes offers. Anne is warm, generous and so very loving. And is one of those people who knows just the right thing to say to put everything into perspective.
Her recent book title – Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy – displays Anne at her most human. That of having mercy for yourself and those around you in the face of things and struggles and annoyances. If you struggle with the day-to-day grind of life, or you are simply striving on some days to just not drink – check out Anne.
I’ve been struggling terribly over the last couple of days. Family systems and some bewildering actions by others around me had me feeling quite down. All my buttons are being pushed at the moment, and events simply aren’t turning out like I’d hoped – or are just taking too bloody long!
Wine is the siren call telling me to just go ahead, it’ll be so nice to feel comfortably numb again. Just turn the evening over to Rioja and it’ll all be fine.
And well, wine will take the edge off of it all. I was so tempted … so, so tempted. I wanted to escape it all for just a few hours. Dear reader, this is really the closest I’ve been in months and months and months to driving to the off-licence and picking up some bottles. Instead I fell back on another old bad habit – but in full awareness. That is of eating, eating and eating. Sugary, gooey and cheesy. BAD! Ice cream, pizza – stuff like that. Comfort and gluttony. I’ve been eating so consciously and so healthily these past nine months – for as long as I’ve been sober. So it was literally a shock to my system. I had the sugar rush, and felt doped up and sated. But also sick. At least I didn’t drink, I told myself. But I also realized I can’t possibly turn to food like this. It’s just another crutch!
I am faced with many personal challenges at the moment. Where do I start, how do I get through each one (None are tragedies – all are just life stuff that happens).
Then I think of myself putting my arm around me and saying: ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’
If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, here’s what Anne is all about – in her TED talk – ‘everything I know for sure.’