body of water surrounded with trees during daytime

The Bottomless Bog

Every one of us is occasionally tempted to think
About who we are and how to get things in sync
We wrestle with purpose and grapple with meaning
And if we are lucky, actually do some housecleaning

But most aren’t so lucky and easily get stuck
And you find yourself paralyzed in the mire and the muck
You cannot go forward and you cannot go back
That’s when you realize you’ve gotten off track

The problem isn’t thinking it’s what you’re thinking about
You’re thinking about you, you’re in a spiral of doubt
As the spiral spirals in, you get more focused on you
Pretty soon it’s the only thing you can do

You look around for something familiar to hold
You begin to lose confidence and no longer feel bold
The darkness is deepening, the shadows get darker
You cast desperately about for a beacon or marker

It’s The Bottomless Bog, full of quicksand and mud
There are What Ifs and Yes Buts, and they’re looking for blood
There are the Chitter Chatter Voices that never stop talking
And Irrational Emotions continually stalking

The Chitter Chatter Voices are gathering strength
They are right in your face within your arm’s length
“You’re not good enough.” “It’s too hard for you.”
“You don’t deserve it.” “You’re already screwed.”

The What Ifs are what iffing, and the Yes Buts are butting
They don’t pull any punches, you can tell they’re not bluffing
“What if nothing turns out like you planned?”
“Yes, but, you don’t even have a place to stand?”

The Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas are circling around
You can hear them breathing and pacing the ground
You are desperate for anything, any kind of light
But there is only soggy darkness, impenetrable night

And the night is filled with hostility and spite
Your breathing gets shallower and your chest constricts tight
Then the Doubts that were circling, start landing in the trees
And inch their way closer, the air is still, there’s no breeze

The Doubts are the worst, except for the Fears
Because they always get stronger over the years
You can feel their tentacles on your neck start to curl
Any you’d rather be anywhere else in the world

You know you must somehow gain some control
Before the darkness completely engulfs your soul
You try to shut out the noises and the feel of the muck
And you call yourself stupid for getting so stuck

You remember being in this exact place before
But how do you ignore something that won’t be ignored
If you stop struggling you may be able to stop sinking
But you know there’s no way to stop all the thinking

Is it possible to think of something other than yourself
Right now you would settle for anything else
But that is much easier said than it’s done
Still your only other options add up to be none

What the heck, you figure you’ll give it a try
It could hardly be worse if this goes awry
And as you think about family and friends you’re aware
You feel a bit better, even though you’re still scared

Then you think about some of the things you can do
To help other people and not just help you
Then you think about how other people helped you
And there’s a spark in the darkness as you feel gratitude

Slowly but surely you’re becoming unstuck
You can feel your legs moving down deep in the muck
And as the light begins to penetrate down through the trees
The darkness dissipates, you slowly feel a little more at ease

Thinking is not bad, it’s what you think about
Whether you value destination over route
How you consider what other people think
Whether you are comfortable alone on the brink

Whether you ask questions or assimilate facts
Whether you’re committed or still holding back
Whether you are willing to stop all the thought
And discover something new that you’ve never been taught

Do you think about something greater than yourself
Think about ways you may be able to help
Think bigger and bolder when you’re in the bog
And slowly and surely you will emerge from the fog

For humans, thinking is hard to avoid
And it’s a useful tool when it’s rightfully employed
But, think only of you and you’ll soon leave your path
And wind up in The Bog, so you do the math

Photo by Krystian Piątek via


Thanks for stopping by! You honor me with your time.

I hope you enjoy your sojourn ‘off the beaten path.’

Stay as long as you like.

When you leave, no matter what else you do,

‘Live the story you want to tell.’

And come back soon!

Share this page with your friends. What the heck, share it with your enemies, too.

© 2023, Steve Rigell, all rights reserved