January has New Year’s Day, February has Valentine’s Day, but March! Lucky, charmed March – has St. Paddy’s Day! St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, has a feast day full of parades, fun, beer, shamrocks, green pretty much on everything and everyone (including pets), a general spirit of camaraderie, and – more beer.
But what is St. Patrick most famous for? Driving the snakes out of Ireland. Except, truth be told, he never did, for the simple reason that there aren’t and never were, snakes in Ireland. The ecological conditions of the Emerald Isle apparently don’t favor snake-hood. However, he did drive the snakes out metaphorically – in that St. Patrick’s fervor was all about ridding his beloved Ireland of what he saw as its “old, evil, pagan ways” (aka, the Druids), symbolized by – you guessed it – snakes.
So what if, along with the beer, shamrocks and green, you took a moment to consider the “snakes” in your life, and set about getting rid of those? And by snakes, I don’t mean your mother-in-law, horrible boss, or snarky ex-boy/girlfriend, I mean those thoughts that bedevil your mind, that have no business being there. That you’d do far better to simply – drive out.
Mine? Oh, let’s see: “I’ll never get this done!” “There’s not enough time” “Why can’t it happen faster?” And the thoughts that bedevil most of us at one time or another: “I’m too old/fat/thin/tall/short/young/stupid/geeky.” You know the drill.
And yet, when I’m in my sane “Saintly” mind, I remember that I do end up getting done what needs to be done. Somehow, there is enough time, and that no matter how things seem to be dragging on and on, eventually whatever it is does resolve. I remember that there are plenty of successful, happy, loving people who might be considered by others as “too old/fat/thin/tall/short/young/stupid/geeky.”
I usually get there with my secret weapon: the bathroom stall. You may think a bathroom stall is for certain personal physical purposes. And of course, it is that too. But a bathroom stall is also the best place to escape from everyone and everything (no, you don’t need to take your cell in there with you, really you don’t) for a precious moment, during which you can breathe and recoup.
Breathing, taking a few deep breaths, with a nice inhale and luxurious exhale, is a prime way to relieve stress. A few deep breaths will ease the pressure we put on ourselves with those “snaky” thoughts of how we can’t do or be or have whatever it is. Breathing inserts a pause during which you can engage your “saintly” mind, and remember the truth of life. That there really is nothing you can’t do or be or have, given what Angela Duckworth calls “grit,” which she defines as “passion and perseverance.”
I mean, if John Peck, who lost both arms and both legs fighting in the service of our country, could be the recipient of a successful double arm transplant, with Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine now to become his teacher so John can pursue his dream to be a chef, with by his side a fiancee he met after losing his limbs – surely you can realize your dreams, whatever they may be.
Yes, you can lose that weight once and for all. Yes, you can quit smoking. Yes, you can find the love of your life. Yes, you can even be a rock star. Or climb a mountain. Or write a novel – and get it published! In our Web-expanded reality, there is more room for dreams to come true than ever before. We have greater access to resources, to support, to like-minded individuals, to platforms for the expression of ourselves, to our personal fulfillment, than humankind has ever known.
There is really no reason to let the “snakes” trip you up and keep you from your dreams, your success in whatever endeavors please you. Follow the good St. Patrick’s example, and drive those old, evil, outdated thoughts right out!