I have realized here lately that when there is a situation that I cannot control I analyze it, come up with all sorts of possible explanations and solutions and tornado myself into an anxious place of f e a r. I am doing this because I trained myself, during the dark times, that occupying my mind with anything feels like an action, and an action feels like it is working toward a solution, and working toward a solution allows me to avoid feeling my present situation. It also, I told myself, prepared me for any and all scenarios either the worst or the best and anything in between so I could better brace for what comes. These were the ways of survival. But these are not the dark times. When a situation has no solution this action sends me into a spiral and just confirms there is no solution and this breeds that all consuming f e a r. As my sweet counselor likes to ask when I am stuck in such a tornado – is this a playdoh problem or a rock problem – meaning is it one I can actually push around or is it out of my control, unmalleable?
How do I change how I handle the rocks?
I be still. (U G H)
I live in the moment.
I allow myself to feel, leaning into the tears, the frustration, or the anxiety, if you will. Because let’s face it, if we are facing a rock that is causing us to seek solutions when there are none to seek, then it isn’t some kind of happy, happy, joy, joy thing that has us all tangled up in tornado thinking. It is something not going our way, or that requires a “wait and see what happens next” approach, or is just simply at the mercy of someone NOT US. What is that wonderfully terrible truth???? I am the only one I can control. Yeah. That.
I pray to God in thanks for allowing me the situation, because if it causes me to feel intensely then my heart must be all in. I don’t tend to get all worked up about situations that do not involve people I love. I give Him thanks for allowing me the love that causes the instance and I praise Him for creating and sharing this sort of love with little ole me. And, then, I ask HIM to solve it. What is a rock for me is always playdoh for HIM.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I allow myself to NOT see solutions and just sit in the present, not predicting, not worrying, and not telling myself stories that are most definitely pure conjecture. Do you ever do that? Brene Brown calls this a “shitty first draft” or how we explain things to ourselves when we are hurt or offended, insecure, etc. The stories we tell ourselves from a place of f e a r. These stories need to be checked for truth because, generally speaking, they are anything but. Recognizing a shitty first draft (SFD) reaction to anything will deflate an escalating situation quickly. Check yourself as that tornado begins to form for the SFD component.
I allow myself to feel the blessings of the moment and not search out the sorrow. I allow myself to be thankful for the grief or uncomfortable unknowing. It is ok to not feel peaceful, but there is some kind of peace in letting go of the fear. I must really just stay in the present. Wow. Soooooo hard for me.
Be present. Be present. Be present.
I am sensing a running theme. . .
Being present as a person who loves to plan her future is, well, sometimes a bit tedious. My head is always trying to look ahead and skip the uncomfortable parts. BUT, what I am finding is that when I cannot see a future, I am more engaged in my present. I am spending more time present with my kids, you know, engaged in conversation, laughing and talking. I am cooking dinner more, painting more, and spending more time with friends. Hmmm. Maybe I am not really spending more time on any of these things. Maybe I am just enjoying them more because in the back of my mind I am not already jumping to the next thing, planning away my present. Regardless, it feels good.
When I recognize that a rock has started knocking around in my brain, I pray and give it over (I do tend to be fairly specific in the way I would prefer for God to handle it, but you know, He is God. He will exact His will. But, it doesn’t hurt to put in my two cents, ya know?) Then I focus on my present. I fill my time with my people and my art. I make a conscious effort to Be still. Be thankful. Be HERE.