Off the Grid

The irony of

one post about the beauty of staring into the fire

and the next

about not staring but rushing around willy-nilly

does not escape me.

Of life-giving warmth

giving meditative bliss and salve

being ignored for

frantic prepping and sapping of adrenaline that may be needed in actual emergency.

I get it.

My analytic mind senses the conundrum.

My overly expectant self wallows in the defeat of two house-bound days devoid of relaxation.

Though my electrical panel never lost power, I did.

The ability to worry is the only sort of control I have.

Free to Fall

I think waiting for the power to go out is worse than dealing with its absence.

Flush the toilet one more time, hurry to put the last load of laundry in the dryer, fill the sink with soapy rinse water. Charge the computer, the tablet, the cellphone. Stack the wood, stoke the fire, boil one more pot for tea.

This blizzard is the perfect microcosm for my anxious world.

The worrying is worse than the event.

The scenarios the brain can come up with cause more pain than living through the eventuality.

The waiting, the waiting – for the other shoe to drop, the limb to fall, the powerline to go slack.

My mind is spinning faster than the vortex of wintry wind outside.

I am not thinking of the warm cocoon my house provides, the heat radiating from the wood stove that didn’t exist during the last such storm, the canned and dry goods in the pantry.

I am on edge. I am a raw nerve. I am living in fear of the worst outcome not happening – for if it did, I’d be free of the worry.

Jennifer Butler Basile

Jennifer Butler Basile

Mind Games


What is it about the anxious mind that creates a sense of urgency where there really need not be one?


Yes, we are busy.

Yes, there are things to do,

schedules to adhere to the insides of our minds,

errands to be run,

appointments to be met.


But what is it that turns that mind into a manic maelstrom?


That makes setting priorities an absolute impossibility,

that makes logic ooze out our ears,

that brings the piles of ‘pending’ into focus, yet nothing else.


The urgency is not in response to anything urgent at all;

it is the anxious mind’s way of attempting to exert control over –

an over-scheduled life?

a transitional phase?

poor planning and posturing on our part?


We go and go and go

until –



Reality smacks us on our asses?

A Tahitian vacation beckons?

We find the right cognitive behavioral therapist and drugs?


The unwitting interference of fate may be the only solution,

for we’re far too busy worrying to actively pursue any other option.



Getting to Point A by Starting with ZZZZZZs

It occurred to me last night, as I drove in a dream-like state from sheer exhaustion, that the dreams we experience in REM sleep and those that our soul manufactures for our future do, indeed, intersect.

In the land of greeting cards and self-actualization, dreams are lofty ideals.  A higher state of being to which we aspire.  Some goal, which in the practical nature of the ‘real world’ seems too good to be true, unattainable.  If we could do anything with our lives, it is our dreams we would live.  Some bliss-inducing, talent-utilizing best form of our lives.  The realization of our truest potential.

In the land of our subconscious, dreams are bizarre alternate realities.  Different worlds where I tour Jamaica with Ziggy Marley, but don’t leave the restaurant until I collect the empty glass spice jars from the table that came from my kitchen.  Where another woman literally tries to insert herself between me and my husband.  Where I’m forever late to work, in danger of missing the bus, grossly under-dressed for some huge milestone in my life.

Ironically, the only way we remember dreams is when our sleep is interrupted.  The whole story, the important details would be lost if the alarm or an insistent child didn’t come calling.  And usually that’s perfectly all right.  More beneficial.  All those anxieties that would eat me alive – or that at least would gang up with those that torment me in my waking hours – are processed by my subconscious so I don’t have to worry about them later.  I’ve always been one for multi-tasking; if my brain can tick a few worries off the list while I sleep, fantabulous.

If my subconscious can harness its power into removing some of my anxiety while I sleep, I will be more able to achieve my waking dreams.  More at peace, calmer, even-keeled, ready to step up rather than be dragged down.  The physical processes of sleep prepare our mind and psyche to focus on achieving that other sort of dream – the ones that don’t even occur in our wildest dreams.

So while one sort of dream seems unattainable, the other bizarre, one begets the other.  Our subconscious and our soul working in concert to give us true vision.

I would LOVE to have dinner with you – if you bring the spice!

Toxic Tilt-a-Whirl

Sometimes it is essential to spend time alone, apart, to process, to pare down.

Sometimes it is crucial to get out of oneself, one’s head, one’s ruminations.

Thoughts can become toxic, especially ones fraught with worry that get bigger each time they come around the bend.  And they circle around and around like a never-ending Ferris wheel run by an insane clown bent on making you a bitter old hermit after you’ve alienated all those close to you by verbalizing said toxic thoughts.

Maybe not verbalizing.  Maybe posting them on social media or in an email or letter.  Because toxic thoughts don’t play well in the real world.  They don’t like bright light.  They like to bubble and fester just below the surface.

Voicing them would make them sound ridiculous.  Saying them aloud would take away their irrational magic.

Or simply talking to other people might make you laugh.  It might make you forget all those sweet nothings the insane clown whispered in your ear.  You remember what it’s like in the land of the living.  You realize your worries were just that.  And that many of your toxic thoughts are what make you the same as other people.  You just need to press the release valve once in a while before you blow up yourself and everyone that you care about.

The best way to do this would be to turn toxic thoughts into meaningful dialogue.  To stop cowering in the corner from the insane clown and say what you mean and how it makes you feel instead of allowing your thoughts to run amok and turn toxic.

Now who knows how to overpower an insane clown without pulling all her own hair out?

This is the least scariest picture I could find of an insane clown.  No wonder clowns give kids nightmares!

This is the least scariest picture I could find of an insane clown. No wonder clowns give kids nightmares!

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