Broken Glass

My new office has wood floors, the same flooring as the yoga studio on the other side of the wall. Just a little while ago, I could hear a class "om"-ing, and I actually paused what I was doing, closed my eyes, and joined them from here. I wonder if they could hear me, too.

My new office also has a big rug I bought. It is colorful and kind of just blends in at the same time. I usually take my shoes off when I enter the space, and I like walking around barefoot in here.

What my new office does not have is broken glass strewn across the floor. A strange thing to say, perhaps, but anxiety can feel much like that, like walking across broken glass barefoot, imagining things to be much worse than they really are.

My new office has a metal and glass coffee table in the center of the room, with two soft pink chairs on one side of it and a small creme-colored loveseat with a wooden frame on the other. On this table are little wooden pieces Pearl gave me for mother's day last spring; each one has facets cut onto it, so it is a kind of balancing game. Very meditative. Also a glass jam jar with different colored Sharpies, the skinny kind, a box of tissues, two coasters made of wood and stone, a tiny box of tic-tacs with a funny story behind it, and a few cards that say things like "you are gorgeous” and “you are loved.”


The glass is round. It was pleasing to remove from the big cardboard box it came in, to lift carefully by myself and place atop the small metal bits that hold it in place.

I did not drop it. It did not break. Glass is very breakable and also amazingly strong. Maybe it's a matter of how it slips, how it falls, that determines the degree of shattering. Like glass, I feel very breakable and very strong these days, a strange, living contradiction, a container of Whitman-esque multitudes.

The morning we left for our road trip in August, I was shaky from having coffee and running around doing errands wtihout eating breakfast. I was standing at the sink, washing the last of the dishes. A mug slipped from my hand -- it had been a gift at a retreat from a beloved writer -- and cracked. Moments later, I broke a plate. Then I burst into tears.

Some moments show us one thing and one thing only: That we need to stop. Literally stop everything, if for a few moments, a few "oms," a few deep breaths. To come back to ourselves. Some things are smooth and nonthreatening but we relate to them as if they are going to destroy us, whereas other things are actually quite dangerous and we deny their existence.

I once wrote, many years ago, about being unbreakable. But the truth is, I'm not sure that's true. I think we break and break again. We get out the broom and dustpan and clean up the debris. We take bold, brave steps forward amidst uncertainty every single day. We assemble new tables and envision beautiful gatherings that may take place there, hoping at least to do more good than harm.

The chanting that began next door as I wrote has quieted, and now it's just the hum of my laptop and the sounds of the keys as I type. I came here to write about broken glass, and have no idea about where I ended up instead, except that I'm right here. Always right here, broken, healing, whole.