I live in a fairly arid area that does terrible things to my hair and skin (I clearly was not meant to live here, heh).
My hair is frizzy anyway, but this environment makes it worse, so I’ve learned to put both a thick leave-in conditioner and a certain amount of oil in it after my shower. The oil helps enough that it’s one of my few “must-have” bathroom counter bottles.
I knew I was getting toward the bottom quarter of the bottle, so I ordered more a few days ago. It’s not here yet. Today, after my shower, I went to squirt oil into my palm and…nothing.
(Cue horror soundtrack if you’ve ever seen my hair on a bad day. Mufasa has nothing on me!)
I put my glasses on so I could see the bottle better, because I was almost certain it hadn’t run out yet. And sure enough, there was plenty of oil at the bottom of the bottle.
The problem was the straw part of the pump. Somehow it had gotten bumped sideways at a funny angle, so even though the product was there, the straw couldn’t reach it and the oil couldn’t reach me. I shook the bottle firmly a few times — problem solved.
How many times does this happen to us in other ways?
How often do we struggle with a problem or with a lack of will/energy/etc. to get through something because we never take the time to check our straws?
We cannot handle a tough situation emotionally, physically, or mentally if our meters are already on empty — yet we attempt it anyway, and we struggle, and we wonder why nothing is getting better.
The resources we normally draw on, those reservoirs of well-being, are always available, but sometimes in the daily grind, we get knocked sideways just enough that we’re not really tapped into those sources anymore — and if we’re not aware of the shift, we can run on fumes for quite some time before we realize what the problem is.
My Druidic studies have been good for me in this way — there are many reminders about awareness of the self, awareness of what’s affecting you negatively, and how to gently correct the balance within. (There are Christian, secular, etc. equivalents, of course.)
When I notice my distaste for doing everyday things is growing, or I find myself getting short/irritable with people I care about over minor things, I try to take time out to reposition my straw so that I can draw deeply on those interconnected, universal wells of compassion and strength and kindness, wells of the little joys and the calm quiet moments and the whispers of, “I can.”
The wells never run dry. We do, when our straws get moved.
So…how’s your straw?