February brings A Very Good Thought Suprise.


6.00 am. Still winter. I turn a new page on our Italia calendar, to be goaded by gorgeousness: “Don’t cha wish your country was hot like me? Don’t cha?” I pull my bathrobe around me and lift the espresso pot from the hob, its angel-demon liquid my only weapon against PITCH BLACK O CLOCK alarm-setting.

In my imaginary Mediterranean life, my olive skin, dulled by Britain’s low grey skies, would instead glow bright. I would sleep better from all the sunlight.  My clenched spine would unfurl. I would drink more water, cook nothing but fresh food, and be free of these infernal throat infections. I would…

Shh! Wait.

Something is pushing up through my default daydream and clamouring for space. It is A New Thought. One that says “Rachel, your life is right here: just where you are.” There is no scold involved in this thought. It is not reining me in, or telling me to settle for less. It just wants me to know something. It says:

“I know you feel like shit again this morning. I know you are wondering when you will ever have a full night’s sleep. I know you are frightened that you will never notch up enough good days in a row to ever see anything through to completion. Or even to answer your bloody emails.”

But, but.

“You are loved. You are safe. You do a job that matters. And you get to write stuff. That is a life. Your life: own it, see what happens. “

In the hallway, my partner is laughing as she plays with our cat.


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