through the door

July 7th, 2020

The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method? — Confucius

Yesterday I was doing morning yoga but I was thinking about what I would make for dinner. The problem was, I didn’t have all the ingredients. Not fresh thyme, not pecorino, not shallots, not the pound and a half of beefsteak tomatoes. How many was that, anyway — one, two, four? Come to think of it, I didn’t have a single one of the ingredients! It was hot and getting hotter, so why was I trying so hard to make tomato soup from nothing? I’d twisted myself into a sweaty heap before the answer floated down from heaven. I’ll just make something out of what I already have.

I’d spent nearly ninety minutes mentally freefalling through deep space when all the while I was planted on mother earth with spinach in the fridge.

One hundred and ten days of going nowhere can feel like falling through a black hole, as if anyone could tell you what that feels like. And that’s what it feels like too, not knowing how it feels. At the beginning we actually thought we could see an end, we thought we could go back, we thought it would turn out. We carried a sane, logical, and highly orthodox expectation that it would all be okay. But now I wonder: had I ever even been mildly inconvenienced  before this happened? Thrown for a loop? Knocked back on my heels?

“My life has been destroyed,” my daughter would say about the piecemeal disassembly of her world. “You can’t understand because you’ve already had a life.” That much was true. She clung to the hope, the absolute necessity, that she’d return to school, pick up where she left off, and resume her steady progress toward the glittery future she’d imagined.

There have been many dark days, spiraling into darker days, dark beyond dark.

Last week she sat on the sofa and read a list of protocols that had just been handed down for the fall semester in her drama studio: no more than six people per class, no fewer than six feet apart, no removing of masks, no uncovered mouths, no noses, no faces, no people, no performances.

I held my breath.

Perhaps she had already expended all her disappointment and despair, because something amazing happened instead. She said, “I don’t have to do it. I can do something else.” And so she will take other courses, happily, gratefully, with interest and enthusiasm. She worked it all out within a day, saying it was what she wanted to do all along.

Here we are entombed by walls that turn out to be doors, and we walk through. We just walk through.


Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash


  1. Thank you for giving me hope, again. ❤

    Comment by marcea pugliese — July 7, 2020 @ 8:37 am

  2. I love this post! The timing is perfect!

    Comment by Linda Rice — July 7, 2020 @ 9:00 am

  3. I love this . . . making something out of What’s There Already . . . and might create something so different and surprising than what we intended in the first place.

    I think your daughter’s zen is showing. Good work, mom.

    Love and Light, Elizabeth

    Comment by E. J. — July 7, 2020 @ 9:05 am

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed it today.

    Comment by Joan Rough — July 7, 2020 @ 9:37 am

  5. Yes. And that photo is, well … perfect.

    Comment by Bonnie Rae Nygren — July 7, 2020 @ 5:28 pm

  6. Always ‘what is already here.’ Always the same message. Always simple. Always profound.

    Comment by Elvin — July 8, 2020 @ 3:13 am

  7. Stone soup.

    Comment by Mary Rosendale — July 8, 2020 @ 8:17 pm

  8. You daughter left a great message for all of us, Karen. Change your path, it just might be what you wanted to do all along!

    Comment by Laurie — July 9, 2020 @ 9:13 am

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