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.
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.