In the past decade, I’ve enjoyed the fruits of a great deal of personal growth. I have observed, dissected and successfully transformed many areas of self sabotage and habits of “success interruptus”. This November a real life crisis arose, further illuminating another opportunity for important healing along my path.
During a tumultuous childhood, I developed a finely tuned survival skill for navigating a crisis. I didn’t know how to make my life work on a day-to-day scale, but in a crisis... I was your girl! At some sad point, I also developed the subconscious belief that my crisis skill set was the only worthwhile contribution with which I’d been blessed. Thus, it became my honor badge. I lettered in it. I brought home the gold in it. I collected every proverbial merit badge offered in it. It's amazing how tightly and desperately one can cling to perceived proficiencies regardless of their true value or appropriateness to our lives.
Unfortunately, my honor badge also morphed into a destructive revolving pattern. I lived my life for many years allowing my body (truly my whole self) to respond to every minor stress event as if it was a major crisis. Why? I suppose in hindsight, it was the only approach I felt competent acting from. I existed in a cyclone of gushing fight or flight hormones only to eventually collapse like a ragdoll for inordinate amounts of time while my beleaguered system attempted recovery. It was a far cry from a "delighted" existence in any sense.
In November, my husband went from a week at home sick to the emergency room where he was then rushed to the operating room. Before I had a conscious awareness of it... off I went, rapidly burning through all my energy reserves to the point of depletion and pushing onward from there; depending, I suppose, on some unscrupulous cosmic energy broker to approve me for an interest only no-collateral loan to get me by. I was more than willing (as in the past) to pay the piper...later.
In my depleted frightened state, I fell prey to my inner gremlins and their constant devilish diatribes.
Do you see now? Your life is not meant to shine. Thriving is for other people.
Consider yourself lucky to have crawled up as far as you have.
You didn’t really think you could escape a daily struggle, did you?
And from my meanest snidest gremlin:
States of positivity and abundance are places you can access occasionally, Dear. But you only get a visitor’s pass. Much better people than you enjoy permanent residence there!
With that, I fell further to a place of gripe, grouse and grouch. It's an all too familiar state of being for my inner depletion junkie. (Oh the joys of a downward spiral). No matter how I imagined turning it around, no matter what positive affirming steps I took or soothing words of worth I spoke, I was stuck in that old story: spinning, stewing and revolving.
In the midst of my personal inner crisis, the reality of my husband’s health crisis raged on externally. This was no time for long reflection and introspection. Survival mode was in full effect. I began to feebly attempt a new skill offered by my trusted Counselor, Ellen. I took all of these new realizations and revelations about my past and how they directly effected my present and one by one, I put them through the "Isn’t it interesting..." observation process.
"Isn't it interesting that this happened and it immediately reminded me of when that happened?" and then I put it aside. "Isn’t it interesting that I find myself here and can see how and why that relates to when I found myself there." and then I put it aside. "Isn’t it interesting that I’ve run myself into the ground and have nothing left to give my life even though my life is still there staring at me?" and then I put it aside. This may sound silly and juvenile, but I tell you it’s an exercise worth pursuing. It served to soothe the savage beasts.
As my husband and I now prepare for our next and hopefully last surgery/recovery period in this current saga, I honor the knowing that my once revered “rock star in a crisis” modus operandi is not for my highest and best good. Developing long-haul strategies, proper assessment of available resources and the management of their long term allocation and appropriately asking for and accepting support are worthwhile efforts and represent the next stages of my personal evolution.
For today, I am in a time of slow: slow movement, slow processes, slow progress. Slow is good. Slow is gentle. Gentle is mandatory now. Gentle is what I deserve. Gentle is what I will allow myself. I leave you with my favorite lyric from a John Mayer song. "I'm in repair. I'm not together, but I'm getting there."