Wart

It was enough. It was enough to get me panicking. Is it a wart? That spot on my forehead? That spot on my forehead that refuses to disappear. I felt queasy at the thought, assailed by folkloric images of witches, hags and gnarled fingered wise-women. I tried to be sanguine. They happen. They are just a part of getting older. It’ll go. Put some stuff on it. Which I do, only to then read that it should not be used on the face. I then try to peel the it off. I succeed eventually and am left with a bleeding circle. A perfect circle on my forehead. Like the red sequins that Asian women attach to their forehead, their third eye. Is it a red sequin (I always thought it was) or is it a spot red henna or cochineal? Now it looks like a spot, he said triumphantly. And it’s just what I would’ve done. So there we are. No closer to the truth. The scab which eventually replaced the bleeding was still there this morning. A spot or a wart? Who knows?

We always approach the supermarket shop, twice weekly, separately, with separately trolleys and separate lists. It’s faster that way and wandering around one pushing the trolley one giving directions used to make me feel a little uncomfortable. Memories of childhood and shopping with my mother perhaps? I’d finished before him on Monday and I spied him at the other end of the shop talking to the cleaner. Apparently he too had had a cold. Couldn’t do a thing, he told him. No energy, no energy. Shame he couldn’t take the time off. He was laughing when he got into the car. Do you know what he said when I asked him how he was, he asked. No, I replied. I ‘ate January, he said. I ‘ate January, he repeated. And before I could reply, he said, and I ‘ate February too.

I haven’t made my resolutions yet. I haven’t felt inspired to do so. There is too much I want to change and that concerns me. And yet, I know in my heart of hearts it isn’t about external change but internal. A small tweak and all will feel better. It is just these low dragging spirits. The dark. The endless dark. See, it’s past eight am and it is still dark. And yet, I know that it isn’t personal. The darkness has its place too. I need to cease judging, weighing up good against bad, just let it be what it is.

Anyway back to resolutions.

(1) to accept what is. That’s a big one but instrumental in achieving the second.

(2) to be content.

(3) to pay attention and

(4) whatever else be kind.

I could flesh them out with all those little details I obsess over. But essentially that is it. That is my promise for 2018. Begin today. So I shall accept the wind (which is still howling), my spot/wart, my cold (though it is improving), my jaded spirits, my wobbliness over my work, the dark and all the precious gifts that this life of mine brings. By accepting all those things, which I shall judge as neither good or bad, I will be content. My back won’t stiffen, I will breathe steadily and calmly and I will smile. I shall pay attention to every job that I do today. Whether it is intellectual, practical or domestic, each will share equal weight in my attention. I will watch myself doing things, paying attention to my hands as they type, as they prepare food, or clean or hang out the washing. I will feel my inner body as I move, as I breathe, aware of every breath and the absolute miracle of it. I will taste food as I’ve never tasted it before. And I shall be kind. Kind in thought, word and deed. Letting the negative and unkind thoughts and actions that come unbidden float away unacknowledged. That is my work. This is my work. All else is inconsequential.

The morning tries to break. The second wash is done. He lies abed resting. All is well. Thank you.