Whether it is the weather, or post-menopausal insomnia, or whatever, my mind is still awake long after I am usually asleep. I am not going to try and second guess my body and will just roll with the energy and do my poetry practice in the early hours of the new day. It still counts. Write a poem a day within the twenty-four hour clock of the time zone I am living in. Partially, I think my wakefulness is due to a telephone conversation last evening after supper with a dear friend, which was a rather deep analysis of how institutions fail and how humans are too frail to live with uncertainty. So they do stuff – often ill considered things, too – to fill the vacuum of their anxiety and insecurity. (Brexit. Building walls. Shopping compulsively. Self-medicating.) And then we turned to the the subject of the will of God – or, if that sort of language disconcerts you – the will of some higher consciousness that has a wider canvas than one’s own little ego. And how for religious people, keeping faith while waiting to discern the will of of this higher consciousness is a test of courage as much as it is of patience.

Which led me on to the 21st century phenomenum of FOMO, or fear of missing out, if you have not come across this in cyber space. We may think of it as unique to the digital age, when everything is terribly fast and instant messages flash across wireless connections. (Like magic, they even call it ethernet!) However, upon reflection, it probably has been with us much longer since patterns repeat in nature and human behaviour is also subject to patterns. It has just been rebranded, an adaptation overlaid onto that impulse or sense of urgency that drives one to say yes to everything to fill a vacuum. Most often of insecurity or an inability to just sit quietly with uncertainty.


It is with relief and some elation,
that sense of freedom to pass up events,
to allow them to go on without you.
There is no need for rush or panic -
a polite 'No, thank you' to any or all
invitations is sufficient for
remedying social anxiety
of one sort - the terror of missing out.

Nothing is ever so important.
You can check your ego with your coat and hat,
never going back to show your claim check.
Stillness is a thrill. How else can you hear
the throb of your own pulse or heartbeat?
It will do without the juddering skips
when gripped by fear. And then, somehow, the world
grows larger for saying 'No.' It sounds odd,
I know, but I swear it is so. Lighter.
Freer. Or maybe the way towards joy.
Being able to slide into the sleek,
silky garment of one's own skin and know
that this is enough. It fits. Nothing missing.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image is Photo by Pablo Guerrero on Unsplash

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