There is a wonderful poem by Mary Karr called “The Voice of God.” It ends with these amazing lines:
” . . . .It says the most obvious crap—
put down that gun, you need a sandwich.”
I highly encourage you to follow the link above and read the whole poem. It is a lovely example of simple language put together in a deep, thoughtful, and funny way. I wish I had written it, but as it is, I am making sure everyone within reach of my voice or my email or this blog gets the chance to see it.
I love this poem for many reasons, but mostly I love it because it cuts through our inflated selves and reminds us that the simplest thing is often the answer. Let me offer you another amazing turn of phrase:
“When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.”
That gem was coined by Dr. Theodore Woodward in the 1940s. He was trying to impress upon his medical interns the idea that in most cases, the more common diagnosis is the correct one.
I am reflecting on simplicity, self-care, and the general need for sandwiches this week as a bunch of threads in my life are coming together. They could so easily become tangled in a frayed knot, or they could simply lie next to each other, in calm order. This is the last week of the term for my students, so twice a week at 8am (yes, I teach an 8am class), I get another dose of Someone Has Just Realized Deadlines are Real. I have several trips planned in the next few months, which brings all the coordination of flying, driving, finding a place to stay and editing my client schedule. And, I have just booked my next far away international adventure, which will require me to be in pretty good physical health.
It is tempting to add to the pile with lots of complicated exercise practices and sophisticated organizational tools. Yet, the truth is that maybe I don’t need some grand scheme with background music by angels. Maybe I just need to sit down, look at the next week, or day, or hour instead of trying to hold three months in my head. Maybe I just need to go for a run, drink some water, and eat a sandwich.
And you, you with your eyes on this screen, what is the simple thing being obscured by flourishes? Maybe you just need an hour for yourself — a massage. And a sandwich.