Hitting the wall

We all hit a wall sometimes.

This week I traveled to the Google Boston office to teach a course called Managing Your Energy, developed by The Energy Project. It’s a full-day course that delves into some deep areas, and by the end of the day, I was exhausted.

Totally drained, I could feel a wave of despair creeping up on me. Rather than try to run away from that feeling or shut it down, I decided, in that moment, to embrace it and care for it.

I had a long train ride ahead. I put on my headphones and listened to Paul Simon — really listened, letting the heartbreaking lyrics touch me — and I let my mind wander where it wanted to go: to lost loves, to sorrow for friends who have suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of a brutal government, to sadness about getting older and seeing my parents get older.

There are times when we can, and probably should, let ourselves go this way. When despair takes over your life, it’s a disaster. When it takes over your late afternoon on a train ride, it can be a kind of melancholy sweetness.