Tania Kindersley
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The End of the Line.

The End of the Line.

Dec 15, 2022

On this very day last year, I started a writing experiment. I wanted to see if I could show up and do some public writing every single day. Something of worth, even if that worth was so tiny it could hardly be seen by the naked eye.

I began the Cup of Coffee page because I was worrying about money. This site basically lets people buy you a cup of coffee if they like the stuff you put out on social media. I thought of all the words I write for the red mare page and the things I put up on my own Facebook page and even of my funny little Twitter feed. That might be worth a cup of coffee. But I didn’t quite like that idea. I wanted to give you something extra, something special, something just for you. And then I thought I could combine that with a writing discipline which would be good for me. Everybody would win.

I have showed up, almost every day. I’ve missed a few. I’ve had nothing much to offer you on some days. I’ve galloped off on faintly self-indulgent tangents on other days. You have, kindly and generously, stayed with me, and even as I write those words I get a spreading feeling of joy and mild disbelief. I feel it growing in my chest. It is making me smile as I type. It has a relaxation and an ease in it, and my body feels that. My shoulders are coming down and my breath is deepening.

There are rude and disobliging people in the world. I was reminded of that yesterday. But you are not of their number. And here is the most lovely thing: as I was dealing with the last of the jangles that yesterday’s cross person sent rippling through me, the universe got up, stretched and decided to do something marvellous. 

The mysterious YouTube algorithm, which can sometimes be weird and unhelpful, chose for me the most perfect video. It was a lovely man who adores the Stoics. He was talking about Marcus Aurelius, and how he blessed the rude people because they helped him find his humanity. He not only accepted that there would be rude people, in life, but he welcomed them. They could help him remind himself of some important truths. His idea was that when someone is coming at you, with their crossness and rudeness, you can step back, not take it personally, and think about them. Think about what pain or sorrow they are going through. Think about why they might be scratchy or critical. Perhaps they have suffered heartbreak or loss. That’s the humanity, right there, and I think we all need to practise that. So that is what I am doing, this very minute, and the jangles can’t survive it. They are floating away, on the still winter air.

In this year of showing up, I’ve written 181,877 words for the Cup of Coffee project. On this day in 2021, there were no words. Now there are almost two hundred thousand of them. That’s a kind of miracle. I’m going to give this to my writers, so they can see what is possible. I always say to them: you write a book by not writing a book. You just write nine pages, because anyone can write nine pages. And then you write another nine. In this case, it’s not even nine pages. I’ve sometimes given you hardly more than a paragraph. But that showing up adds up. It works for the page; it works for the horses; I think it works for life. 

You show up and show up and show up, and there is something where there was nothing.

Thank you for coming with me on this odd, experimental voyage. I’m going to take a break now, because it’s Christmas and it’s been a long year and I need a rest. I’m going to come back next year with a new idea. It came into my head this morning and I love it and I hope you will love it too. It was inspired by Marcus Aurelius, because of course it was. I think we all need more of the Stoics in our lives.

Have a beautiful Christmas season, however you choose to spend it. I hope that you, too, find some rest. 

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