This week’s poetry is from Charlotte Eriksson, a Swedish author and songwriter. Usually I am instantly turned off by people who have a “manifesto” on their website (how self-important can you be??!), yet her poem “you’re doing just fine” has been on my mind. I am critical of the glorification of work for work’s sake, but the inner battles that she describes, and the simple assertion of “you’re doing just fine” is incredibly life affirming.
Take a shower. Wash away every trace of yesterday. Of smells. Of weary skin. Get dressed. Make coffee, windows open, the sun shining through. Hold the cup with two hands and notice that you feel the feeling of warmth.
You still feel warmth.
Now sit down, and get to work. Keep your mind sharp, head on, eyes on the page and if small thoughts of worries fight their ways into your consciousness: threw them off like fires in the night and keep your eyes on the track. Nothing but the task in front of you.
Get off your chair in the middle of the day. Put on your shoes and take a long walk on open streets around people. Notice how they’re all walking, in hurry, or slowly. Smiling, laughing, or eyes straight forward, hurried to get to wherever they’re going. And notice how you’re just one of them. Not more, not less. Find comfort in the way you’re just one in the crowd. Your worries: no more, no less.
Go back home. Take the long way just to not pass the liquor store. Don’t buy the cigarettes. Go straight home. Take off your shoes. Wash your hands. Your face. Notice the silence. Notice your heart. It’s still beating. Still fighting. Now get back to work.
Work with your mind sharp and eyes focused and if any thoughts of worries or hate or sadness creep their ways around, shake it off like a runner in the night for you own your mind, and you need to tame it. Focus. Keep it sharp on track, the task in front of you.
Work until your eyes are tired and head is heavy, and keep working even after that. Then take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more.
You’re doing just fine.
You’re doing fine.
I’m doing just fine.