Day 2134 – Day 2140
Sometimes life is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Sometimes its riots, deadly viruses and murder hornets. Lately I’ve become aware of my maladaptive behaviour that is really aimed at managing the stress and anxiety around the current state of the world and of my private life. I know I’m not alone in this, but I honestly thought I was NOT experiencing any anxiety. I’m cool. I’m calm. I’m on a spiritual high. Yeah, what I was, was sick with some virus for many weeks, and sleeping while the world was panicking. I’m not panicking, but I’m sure not even-keeled and some of my behaviours (like buying way too much pasta in my weekly grocery shop so that now I’m pretty sure I have pasta in my pantry for life) betray a real desire to find some control in a world that is out of control.
In the last week or so, I’ve laid down some difficult boundaries with a long-time friend, I got into a disagreement with someone I care about but have never met (I need to back away from my computer), and I watched my family gather for Father’s Day and talk to one another, instead of with my Dad in the way that people tend to do with the elderly or sick, as if they’ve already left the room, or the planet. I can’t bear that.
It is all just getting to be too much for me and I’ve been feeling the weight of this for at least 3 weeks. I’m no longer buying pasta. But this leaves a gap and I’m trying to find ways to self-soothe when it can feel like the whole world is falling out from under us all.
I’ve been gardening. There is a unique satisfaction in killing off a pesky weed. Even gardening is not easy. I was cut from breastbone to pelvic bone and then across the midline at the waist last year, when I needed surgery to save my life. As I was healing, the midline stitches ruptured and now I have a hernia across my waist along the incision. It’s not like we ever use our core to oh, get out of bed, or stand up straight, let alone bend or lift things when gardening. I’m pretty tired of being physically limited, myself. If I could, I’d be out every other night, kayaking. I feel like a prisoner, not only of my own home, but of my own skin.
I started disappearing from view many weeks ago, when a friend urged me not to spend so much time being a ray of sunshine on social media and to just focus on myself. Maybe if I were a different person, that would help me get through this time. But, I find meaning in trying to be a positive model of gratitude, even in the dark times. When I stopped, in a public way, I lost the meaning in my life. That is a terrible place to be.
It all is hitting me, and I know my mental health is suffering. And then I withdraw, more. Aside from hoarding pasta, I’ve been hoarding my emotions.
It’s time to let them go and lay them down and let the fear just be there. I haven’t wanted to do that, but finally, today, as I sat in the car outside my Dentist’s office, anticipating the special-forces-covert-operation that I was about to undertake to fix a tooth broken from nighttime teeth grinding, I had a meltdown.
I know. You came here for sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. This is crap! I know: You want a refund. But here is the plot twist…
After my meltdown, just as I have done every day in my private way, as the weight of this crapfest has been descending on me, I stopped and I gave thanks for 3 things. I looked for that moment of beauty or laughter upon which I could reflect and feel joy. And, despite my withdrawal, I do know that I am connected with a network of wonderful friends around the world. I’m here writing to say you are not alone, in case life ever seems too much for you.
A simple practice really can keep one’s head above water.
I’m grateful for this practice, which lifts my spirits so that I can face another day of worsening news headlines. I’m grateful for my own wisdom that tells me that the future has never been certain and that this is the opportunity to see that the way we live is built on illusion. If the future is uncertain, then maybe, just maybe, we get the chance to decide how to live in the now. And I’m truly grateful for the friends I have, IRL and virtually, around the world. They remind me that we are all in this together and that we can’t survive without one another. But most of all, I am grateful for my faith – in humanity, and in something greater than myself.
I am still paying off a mountain of credit card debt from all that pasta, so I can’t afford to refund your money. I went to the internet and found some Lesley Gore for you.