The Tightrope

If I lean too far one way, I fall into the pit of despair. Ok that might be over-dramatizing a bit, but not a whole lot. In this direction lies the land of high anxiety, which for me quickly shifts to “whoopee, we’re all gonna die.” (To the tune of whatever-that-song-was at Woodstock. Yes, I’ll post it at the end.)

Anyhow, I don’t mind visiting there, to avoid it would be foolish. But I have no intention of digging in and pitching my tent there. I am not about wallowing in misery, thank you very much.

Lean too far the other way, and I find myself in the land of dogged optimism and positive thinking where the right thoughts, visualization, and certain essential oils can keep Covid 19 away. I can stop by here too, but with all due respect to people who believe in those things, that’s not my home.

For me, it is about being open to where I am. My old go-to for a crisis was to be Very Calm and Focused. Because I knew if I could be Calm and Focused enough, I could make it all be ok. So when a crisis hits, I Am Ready.

Sometimes Very Calm and Focused looks really good. But there is an unreality about that stance. I become rigid. Controlling. There is a right way to do things and I’m pretty sure I know what it is. People really just need to do things my way and I’ll get us through this.

Just stay on the path, People!

Except it’s not real. And other people are really not going to do it my way most of the time anyhow, which is probably just as well, because I really don’t have the answers. Not your answers anyhow.

There’s nothing wrong with the Very Calm and Focused response. It has served me well at times in the past. It might even serve me sometimes now. But it’s not always the most helpful stance to have.

Mindfulness, of course, is what I aim for. With mindfulness, I can be open to what’s happening without denying it, without resisting it. Open to whatever I’m feeling without trying to push it away or hold on to it. I can be flexible in my thinking, things don’t have to be all one way.

But I can’t hold that space all the time and paradoxically, the harder I try to “be mindful” all the time, the less I’m able to do it. Does that make sense? Trying to force myself into mindful mode is, in and of itself, not mindful.

So I’m trying to just notice what’s going on with me. Sometimes I’m pretty cranky (imagine that!) I can usually keep that to myself, but it’s still there. Sometimes I have a really strong urge to DO SOMETHING! I know I will do that at some point, but I’m not ready yet and don’t know what it will be.

Mostly, I’m trying to use the tools I have to take care of myself right now, myself and my family. Sometimes I think that writing here is a distraction for me, and self-indulgence of some sort. And then I realize sometimes that being here – writing here – is a huge part of what I need to be ok. And I’m so glad I have this space.

And here’s the song. Another true classic.

16 thoughts on “The Tightrope

  1. Hi Olivia,

    Anxiety is running high now, it has just been announced we are moving to the highest level with everyone, apart from those in essential services to self isolate and working from home, for those who can

    Hugs
    Roz

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh, Roz, that is so hard, and yes, so much anxiety. I mean, the good news is that taking those steps might make a huge difference in the impact it has. You know, the state where I live is doing very little and we are going to pay for that. The state I used to live in is doing a lot and you can tell the difference. I’ve spent some time researching it today and it’s kind of amazing. Stay safe and take good care of yourself, ok? 💜💜

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  2. Thank you so much Olivia, freaking out and in a bit of shock right now. It is good that the Government have made this move now to get on top of things early and minimise cases.

    Take care and keep brrathing, and I will try and do the same.

    Love
    Roz

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Calm is the best path we can take. Panic does nothing more than muddy the water and lead to rash, bad decisions. Until the City or State tell me otherwise, I still have to work. We have customers and commitments to keep. Am I worried about the future, most certainly. Am I worried about the now, it is what it is. I do the things to protect myself and my loved ones throughout the day and beyond. The vast majority will survive this. The rest of us have to remain positive and soldier on to be there for the next battle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, panic isn’t helpful, it’s just good to notice when that’s what you’re feeling. Of course I can understand that if you need to work, then you need to work. I’m glad you’re protecting yourself and your loved ones. I like to think of myself as cautiously optimistic – that’s positive, right? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed it is, Olivia. Proceeding with caution is forward movement, and forward movement is a step into something new. You don’t really have to get out of your own comfort zone, but sometimes that leap of faith is the thing that opens your soul and challenges your mettle. On the COVID front, our county will likely enact a 2 week shelter in place starting tomorrow night. I’m surprised that it took this long to happen, and feel really bad for all those that it will impact negatively. There are many whom I know within the service industries who are struggling to make it right now. The OH and I will get thru this OK as we are somewhat insulated. However I do plan to support the many local merchants with as many take out and delivery calls as I can, so they all have a chance to survive and continue to pursue their dreams within the businesses they built. Take care sweet Lady! Hugs to ya and all those within your world. OYOU!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think alot of us feel similar . It’s the new and unknown we will be different after this . It’s scary for everyone and we all handle it in our own way. Our country has overcome every challenge because of our people and we have to do it again..be well and be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Middle-aged. It is scary and it’s good that we can all handle it in our own way. Yes, I think in the long run, we will overcome this. I’m worry a bit about what this journey is going to be like… You take care of yourself and stay well too!!

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  5. You, cranky? Noooo. I am deep into the control what I can mode. I know it’s not the people around me, but I can do things, projects, that help me stay out of those two places. Yes, I admit I have a saved tab for my counties covid 19 tracker (big county, big city, big tracker) and a big bottle of eucalyptus and peppermint oils (for the humidifier and home made vicks vapor rub), but I am also trying not to go there. Talking to other people, keeping in touch, and sunshine, seems to help me most.

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    • Lol, I know, hard to imagine me cranky… What? You’ve seen me cranky a bunch of times over the years? Oh, fine then. Lol

      I think doing things, projects and stuff, is helpful. The things you keep close seem pretty helpful ad appropriate to me. And yes. Community, connection, and sunshine. There’s a terrific big Three!!

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  6. You know, it would be awesome if everyone just did things how you suggest since you have survived and kept little people alive with a lot less. Not everyone is aware, for example, that people made cloth diapers out of whatever was available for the job. People are needing guidance and should be listening and learning more from each other. Families lived all together and worked together for most of humanity. That Very Calm and Focused is extremely helpful for when people around us are unable and unwilling to sit with whatever they are feeling. We had to learn how to do that and judge less

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    • Well, thanks for that vote of confidence!! I definitely agree with the value of being able to stay calm when others can’t tolerate sitting with their feelings. Yes. 💜💜

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  7. These are definitely rough times! Maybe try and make space to relax? I find being relaxed and mindful at the same time, to relax into mindfulness is the best way (for me) to do it. Hope you feel better soon anyways!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Definitely making space to relax! I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was avoiding that! In fact, now I will think of you WHILE I’m relaxing and imagine you smiling approvingly. This is my favorite definition of mindfulness: Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance. That’s what I aim for…

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