It's all right
Bob Dylan wrote a miserable song about the end of a pointless relationship, titled ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’.
The two separate phrases in the title — Don’t’ think twice and It’s all right work well together, and touch on unnecessary mental patterns most of us have.
We think too much and carry an underlying fear that everything is all wrong.
I was lying in bed this morning when the alarm went off. It’s 5am, dark and cold. The sun won’t be up for another two hours and the waning moon hangs just above the western horizon, casting feeble light. I think about these things over and over, and add questions like, Do I really want to get up? Yes, it’ll give me two hours of writing time before I go to work, but what if the words don’t come? What if I show serious symptoms of writer’s block? Then I add a layer of statements: I’m tired; I’m too old for this.
I’m thinking more than twice and burying my life under a heavy doona of doubt and anxiety about what’s wrong with this morning moment.
I stop thinking. Slide on my side, push myself up, stick two feet out into the freezing air and onto the floor, then into sheepskin boots. Without thinking, I wrap myself in a long dressing gown and head downstairs, a soft smile on my face. Another day. Words will come. The sun will rise.
Don't think twice
My Dad had a favourite saying: When all is said and done, more is said than done.
I’ll give it a twist: When all is thought and done, more is thought than done.
Too much thinking is burdening this world.
Not thinking is the secret to a happy life. Well, not over-thinking. We have to think, or the morning egg will be overdone, and the deadline not met. But just think once, not twice or thrice or a thousand times. Ease off thinking.
Dylan was telling his girlfriend not to get into a mental tizzy because he’d left her. His leaving was inevitable based on the shallowness of their relationship. So, just like he was moving on, so should she.
Dylan’s message to you: Stop thinking. Start moving on.
It’s all right
I’m at my desk now, sipping Earl Grey tea and waiting for words to come. I type some. Make adjustments. Copy and paste a section of text to the bottom of the page because I’m not sure it fits. I change direction. Look something up on Google. Alter the intro. Fiddle with the title. Rework the middle section. Slight panic. This isn’t working! Something’s really wrong with this article! No, whispers Dylan into my ear. It’s all right.
I keep going.
It’s all right, is something we croon to a child with a grazed knee, say to a disappointed teenager or murmur to a grieving widow. It’s simple, but it’s true.
We should whisper it to ourselves throughout the day:
It’s all right
What makes something right or wrong? How we think about it.
So, if something goes “wrong”, change how you think about it. Think about it once. Don’t think twice. Decide that it’s all right. Decide this once. Then move on.
For a couple of minutes of black and white Dylan nostalgia, click on the link. But don’t let the miserable song ruin your day! Listen. Smile at the twists and turns your life has made. Then move on.
It's all right.
With love, Marlane
First published on Medium.com/Illumination