Friends, I'm always looking up. It's kind of a Thing with me. It can be a sunrise, sunset, or the deep and cloudless blue. I also get lost in the clouds.
Getting lost in the clouds or having one's head up in the sky is usually seen as a sign of scatter-brainedness. I wouldn't be offended if you were to point that out in me. I know I'm a little dissipated at times- instead of a fire-hose, my brainitude is more like a vaporizer. Or maybe like one of those clouds my head gets lost in sometimes.
I'm also always looking up at the stars. If I'm outside at night, I'm looking up.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of Thinking with a Capital T, and it tapped me on the shoulder to think on why it is that I always seem to be looking up.
That's something we say when we want to encourage someone, isn't it? "Keep your chin up." When you do that, you look up. And I naturally gravitate to keeping my chin up, to keep looking up.
Boyo boy, Friends, do I ever notice a difference when I don't. If I let my chin rest on my chest too long, the back of my neck starts complaining, and if I'm not careful, I'll get a headache that goes from the base of my skull all the way to my trapezius muscles. I learned what the sternocleidomastoid muscle is (give it a Goog) because for a while, I was getting these terrible shooting aching pains that ran from the pointy part of my jaw down my neck and to the top of my collarbones. It was during a time in my life when I'd raptly watch my feet as I'd walk, and nothing seemed sunny or positive.
And no, it wasn't just last week.
It was before we all had smartphones, in fact. During the Motorola Razr years. So my head wasn't always in a computer or smartphone, but I did always look down. Try that, Friends. Keep your chin looking down for a little bit, and notice how it makes you feel down, and you can't breathe very well. And notice how much better it feels to have enough room for your fist or a grapefruit between your chin and your chest. And then, if you really want to lean in to my mad little experiment, look up, and maybe not ridiculously so, but enough so you can see how much bigger than you and your problems and worries the sky is. And it feels a little optimistic to just physically look up.
When I really start going down into a spiral, I have to take myself outside to Look Up. It doesn't work right, looking at a ceiling. It's too easy to start counting ceiling tiles or cracks in the same. Noticing cobwebs, dust-boogers, and spots that could be leaking, possibly.
I go outside and look up at the sky when I'm spiraling, because the sky is different every time I look up at it, yet completely familiar. It takes my mind off whatever's sitting on my mind. I start wondering who else might be looking up at the sky, and what's weighing on their mind. And if I were sitting there with them, listening to what's on their mind, what would I do or say to help them feel like they weren't alone? People show me all the time how very Not Alone I am.
That's the thing about these dumb downward spirals. They tell you things that aren't true. They make you feel like you're in there, all by yourself, and that nobody cares whether you go down the drain you're circling. Downward spirals tell you it's never going to get any better, that the best you can hope for is to just go down the drain and that's that.
What the downward spirals don't take into consideration is that maybe instead of a drain, you're circling one of those waterslides that looks like a giant funnel, and once you get through the swirling and the darkness, you pop out into the sun and splash down into a pool and there's laughter and light, and if you're like me, some water up your nose. But fun, too!
Looking at the sky, all different types of sky, gives me perspective. Whether everything goes right or wrong, that sky is still going to be there.
All I have to do is keep on looking up.