As the pressure receded, however, I found myself unsure of what to write about. I surfed the web for ideas, but everything seemed slightly wrong. I realized that I was Not Writing. For me, that's a symptom of declining mental health.
On Wednesday, I wrote a journal entry listing everything that has been acting as a stressor in my life. It was very cathartic. I immediately felt my energy begin moving. It is as if, over the last two weeks, my soul has been caught in a stagnant pool created by the broken branches of each hardship.
Still, I am not quite ready to move on. I have a sense of possibilities… Things unfolding… Things about to change… But they are in the unformed mist of becoming.
Minnesota's governor and legislature cannot agree on a budget with which to move forward. Lacking a budget, non-essential state services have been suspended. My internal and external environments are mirroring each other. Waiting for a shift…Waiting to move forward.
I am not known for my patience. This is a hard place for me to be. But, as the saying goes, "you can't push the river." I created some guidelines to help me through this:
- Keep (privately) venting.
Part of the reason for the stuckness is that I let the stress buildup occur. It's an easy thing to do when busy-ness is one of the stressors. I need regular recovery practices and – though I have them – I often don't do them. This would be a good time to recommit to healthy living.
- Connect with others.
I went into the office yesterday and realized that one of our jobs during the partial shutdown is to sustain each other. I have a supportive workplace so it's happening naturally. Share the latest shutdown news; describe what non-essential tasks we have found to do; discuss our hopes/plans for After. I need to do this with the more personal issues included in my stress hairball. (Note: If I haven't done #1, #2 may degenerate into a whining fest that does more harm than good.)
- Find humor.
My family has recently taken to recording and watching "Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza." It's creative and funny. Silliness is a good activity during times of waiting. It helps put things in perspective.
- Keep picking at it… But don't only pick at it.
My mother always told me not to pick at my scabs, but this is different. If I avoid the situations that are tangling me up, they will remain tangled. On the other hand, if I think obsessively about them, I will remain in the tangle. Instead, I have to tease the mess apart strand by strand, taking breaks when I feel myself getting lost or frustrated.
- Have faith; spring will come.
There is something on the other side of this. Something is being born. As a Minnesotan, you would think I would be better at waiting through the winter for the new birth of spring. Nope. I have to coddle myself through it. I have to be reminded:
“When spring comes the grass grows by itself.” (Tao Te Ching)