Finding a way to love my new normal

Posted on Posted in Teaching Moments

About a week ago, I was not loving my new normal.  I decided to take out a journal, put pen to paper, reflect and sort out my feelings.  It might have been against my better judgment to reduce to paper some of the thoughts in my head intent on including them in this post.  I also think it might have been in conflict with the advice of a wise friend who told me to maintain the same verb tense throughout my posts.  While I knew that consistency in verb tenses mattered, my ability to express the conflict in my spirit and mental processes rated higher in the pecking order of rules for my written communication that day.

Like other folks, life has afforded me lessons that I wished could have been taught without me experiencing them first hand.  On the other had, I have had some amazing opportunities and rewards that only came because I was present to live in the moments.  Often I believed that I spent more time experiencing challenges than rewarding moments.  I have written previously about the pendulum swings that seemed to hover at the extremities of the arc for a lot longer than the time spent in the middle of the arc.  The extremities for me have represented the highs and lows.  It represented those disappointments that loitered on one end or the arc that were the equal and opposite forces to my most exciting and rewarding mementos.  Before writing this post, I spent time convincing myself to accept my own coaching related to perspective and the ability to embrace change.  Giving advice to others has come so much easier for me than adhering to my own wisdom.

This crazy ride on the swinging pendulum started as  I packed for my last trip east.  I felt like the kid enticed to ride the swinging pendulum in an amusement park because it appeared to be so much fun.  Once committed to the ride, I learned that life constantly lived at extremes was not that much fun.  I was reminded of being a child on a swing set that had gotten a little out of control.  I remembered being on the swing set with metal legs that were not secured with cement.  With the base merely sitting in a dirt hole without being secured with cement, the entire structure rocked and lifted from the ground.  The instability initiated the flight or fight responses in me.  As a result, I extended my lefts toward the ground allowing the tips of my toes to scrap the ground every time the pendulum ride brought me close to the middle of the arc.  Well, fight or flight responses have become too common in the last several years of my life.  Life has been the grown up push most kids beg for at the playground in order to increase the chances of “fun.”  A big push generally meant the ride would last longer.  That long, intense ride was pretty exciting as a kid.  However, in this grown woman life that I am living right now, I need both feet on the ground for a minute!

I began the process of slowing the ride a few weeks before writing this post.  Slowing things down felt good.  Slow, however, did not provide the control I needed.  Slow only provided an awareness of details and realities about things that previously were flashing images zipping past me when the pendulum was in full swing.  Reality made me consider pumping my legs to generate momentum so that I could avoid the truths revealed.  Truth was the sibling of awareness and the cousin of accountability.  As I drug my feet to slow the ride, I wished for truth to be my very distant step relative.  It came to me that truth and awareness existed whether I decided to swing higher or not.  Another truth was that my decision was only my decision.  My decision would also influence my perspective of the images I saw as the swing slowed.  More swinging meant that I would be choosing the instability of the swing set that was sure to cause me to crash and fall.  Choosing to pump my legs and cause an inevitable fall from the toppling swing set felt as ridiculous as willfully slowing the pendulum just enough to avoid stopping it completely to avoid seeing those images more clearly.

Was this not the definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”  “Ok,” I said to myself, “Say out loud everything that bugs you, then develop a plan to address each thing.”  The prayer of serenity followed: “Lord, grant me the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  I added to that prayer the following: “Lord, don’t let me get paralyzed by change or challenge.”

I implemented a hard pause which stopped the swing.  I gained control because I took control of the moment.  I am still not overjoyed with my current circumstance, but I do have new perspective and motivation to make meaning of my station while simultaneously developing a plan of action.  I have renewed energy driving the plan which makes success more likely than not.

I have no idea what issues my readers are experiencing, but I pray that each reader will gain control of what might feel like a swinging pendulum.  I pray that the things my readers need in order to support them in this period of change or challenge become available to them.  Finally, I pray that my readers will find excellent villagers to encourage, enlighten, and otherwise provide them needed support.  I hope their villagers are much like or better than those who have stepped up to support me.

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