“Last night I dreamed I had insomnia. I woke up exhausted, yet too well rested to go back to sleep.”
A small wooden rowboat. Colorless but made of thick, rich wood from long ago. Shapeless but endowed with the character of an eon of riding steady, open waters. I am rowing into stacks of waves, barely moving. It could have been raining, but I felt nothing.
I was on a journey to accomplish something, it was something important. The sky was dark and angry, and the boat was rocking heavily in the waves. The waves were black like ink, and the tips of each wave were gray and foamy. The wind was blowing the tops of the waves a hundred feet away, past me, to a place I could not see. I strained to keep the little boat upright.
The wind was ripping against me. At the same time, the wind was silent.
I rowed for all I was worth, and I never grew weary. My muscles would not scream as they do running uphill. Yet as hard as I strained, I wasn't gaining on the waves.
I turn around and see a rope tied to the stern. I drop my oars and swivel around on my wooden bench seat, noticing the fine, finished mahogany color for the first time. The thick, old rope is attached to a small loop carved into the wood of the boat's hull, just on the transom, and it is stretching at an angle down into the dark water where it disappears. Somehow the rope stays tight, even when I stop rowing against it, as if I were being dragged in reverse.
I pick up my oars and row, feeling the resistance of the rope. I can't budge this invisible anchor. I row the opposite direction and nothing happens. The boat is paralyzed, dead in the water, but held still. I realize the boat is completely immobile.
Could it be the very thing preventing my progress is the same thing keeping me from losing balance?
Maybe it wasn't a dream, really. Maybe it was a sleeping metaphor of real life. How often is my vision so narrow that I fail to see what is so obvious? How often are my obstacles and advantages the same, yet I am unable to see them because of perspective (or lack thereof)?
I rely on my brain to get me through a lot of difficult situations. Yet my brain, I believe, is often the biggest obstacle, the most difficult barrier I have to overcome.
Pride. Tough to swallow. I can be great, I remind myself.
Doubt. Easy to fall into. I could have been great, I scold myself.
Laziness. Comes from doubt. What's the point if I keep screwing it up? I ask myself.
Persistence. Comes from experience. I will learn from the last time I screwed up, remember I can be great AND make mistakes, and remove doubt by getting it right at least once. I smile inward at myself.
If I would only let it, that rope would push my boat for me.