A couple of weeks ago I stopped at a playground water fountain during a long run. A gnarled concrete block which had been extracted from the ground (from anchoring a swing set) caught my eye. I made my way over to it and began picking out imbedded rocks. The next thing that I knew, I came out of what felt like a deep sleep. I hoisted myself up from a squatting position and whispered, “Where am I? How long have I been here?” Time has a tendency to fly when you’re concentrating hard (more on that tomorrow.) It was as if each rock represented a worry or a struggle of mine and every time I freed one loose, I also released a worry. Does that make sense?
Another example of this “picking” therapy of mine is when I was little. I had a fist-size chunk of fools’ gold rock. With a desk lamp overhead and a pair of tweezers in hand, I would set up shop on the fireplace, silently peeling back layers of translucent faux gold for hours and lining them up on a tissue. Talk about a good time. True story. (You can stop reading about this crazy person any minute now.)
I once extracted a baby tooth on the first day that it began to budge. I couldn’t leave it alone and once it was out: I. Was. So. Relieved. My dad would call this neurotic. But for some reason losing teeth was therapeutic to me and to this day, picking at embedded rocks will always quiet down the things that are on my mind.