Advice for difficult times….

I actually don’t have any. Every difficult time is unique. It’s got its own set of subtleties, nuances and intricate systems that no one can really predict, probably least of all the person in the difficulty. Tai Chi is like that: there is no rulebook. You simply need to be in the moment and respond naturally. That mindset has helped me enormously this week, that and my therapist’s advice.

I started seeing a therapist at the beginning of the year because I was advocating therapy for people I love and I was following the Ghandi “don’t eat sugar” story. [short version: lady comes to Ghandi and asks “please tell my son to stop eating sugar!” Ghandi replies, “come back in 2 weeks” so 2 weeks later she makes the trek again, he tells the kid to stop eating sugar and the mom says “why didn’t you tell him 2 weeks ago” and Ghandi says “because 2 weeks ago I was still eating sugar”). Anyway, little did I know when I made the appointment the depth of need I would have for this resource before all was said and done.

And this is key: it is never “all said and done.”

We humans keep looking to tidy things up, forgetting perhaps that life is this ever-flowing, ever-dynamic profusion of change. It’s like Mr. Incredible… “can’t the world stay saved for 5 minutes?!” Not that I’m saving anything, but I do fall into the trap of wanting to get to “happily ever after” as if everything stayed put in that dynamic. It’s a strange proclivity of us humans, especially given the fact that all of nature is demonstrating that that is not the way things truly are.

I am not particularly used to emotional upheaval. I certainly was as a child, and I developed a lot of strategies that were very helpful at the time, but which I outgrew without taking off. This last decade has been a slow roll of identifying and releasing those patterns and I am super grateful, but, geezohmy can we please be done sometime soon?

What has been most helpful this week – well 3 things – the first is prayer. Normally I enjoy a nice mantra with my issues, but this one was so deep and heavy, all I could get to was “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” Very helpful. If my mind is reaching for God in any way, I can feel better just for that fact.  Helpful thing #2 was my therapist’s homework: “Today’s homework is TODAY” not the past, not the future. Focus on today until we shore up the resources to address the past or future with a clearer head. Maybe the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Helpful thing #3 is the idea that evolution only occurs in one direction. Any attention to any direction other than love and moving forward  is attention ill-spent. And since my only objective is evolving, any of those other thought-stream traps I used to chew on is participation in a drama. The drama is compelling. The drama seems valid. The drama is not what I want. Thus, my 3 things are saving me.

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