“I accept chaos. I’m not sure chaos accepts me.”
What month is it?
I’m going to share an embarrassing story with you. It’s only fair – people share their embarrassing stories with me all the time. They appear to be multiplying here in the COVID era.
The other day I woke up completely believing that it was August 4th. I like August 4th. It’s a good date. It is the shared birthday of Barack Obama, one of my friends and my eldest brother. August 4th makes me smile. I did a couple of quick social media posts honoring the honorees and went on with my day, happy.
I was driving to my office, (to work virtually,) when I received a text from my stepfather. I had Siri read it to me: “Six years. I remember. Still heartbroken.”
Get off my lawn, you kids!
They say that one of the signs of getting older is that we presume that we are oriented while others are disoriented. “What is he talking about??” I thought to myself. “He must be confused. Wow, he’s really slipping! He must think it’s September… Oh God.”
No, the 76-year-old was completely oriented to person, place and time. It was my almost 54-year-old brain that lapsed here. It was, indeed, September 4th – the sixth anniversary of my mother’s death; Not the happy day I was imagining at all.
(In the name of full disclosure, I also had to break out a calculator just now to figure out if I am almost 54 or almost 53. As if the original gaffe wasn’t disorienting enough!)
SO much like drugs
I have never been much into drugs. When I was a teenager and had easy access, I just wasn’t a fan of feeling out of control. I did, however, stupidly try PCP-laced marijuana once in high school. I had been at my then-boyfriend’s house and acquiesced to trying it in order to shut him up. (For the record, this is no way a strategy I currently endorse.) I remember feeling light, but not high.
In the “brilliance” of my frontal-lobe disconnected teenaged brain, the fact that I now had 15 minutes to drive 20 minutes home in order to get there by curfew seemed a whole lot more important in my distorted mind than whether or not it was actually safe for me to drive. My boyfriend did express some concern, but I seemed like I was straight enough, so off I went.
What does a green light mean?!?!
I still vividly remember slamming my foot on the brake at the corner of Hamilton Street and New Hampshire Avenue in NW, DC. I remember feeling completely confused and terrified, utterly unable to remember if green was the one you stop on… or red! And then there’s a yellow one! What was I supposed to do with that?!? How was I going to get home and not get in trouble for being late if I couldn’t remember how stoplights worked??
My thought bubble was broken by the couple in the car next to me. They had apparently been behind me when I slammed on my brakes to stop at the GREEN light. They were … unamused. After about the third or fourth string of completely-earned profanities they hurled at me, my head started to clear a little. Somehow I got home. I really don’t remember the rest. I can only assume that my guardian angels ended up fairly tattered and exhausted because I appear to have made it home without a scratch, and, on time.
See why I don’t do drugs?
Welcome to 2020
I share this snippet with you because I can’t think of any other experience that better resembles the way time confusion is randomly infiltrating many of our minds in 2020. My clients, my family members and my friends report that we are all randomly losing track both of time, and of what time means. It’s frustrating and at times, it can leave us feeling a bit crazy.
You are not alone! I promise. And, I believe that we can use even this, for good.
Neola Evans wrote, “Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.” The dragon of distorted time perception carries amazing gifts in its mouth.
There is the gift of innovation.
How many of us were racing through our lives at full tilt prior to COVID captivity? While life has certainly pressed on, expectations, deadlines and how we do what we do has all necessarily needed to be reimagined. Since we are “back to the drawing board” on how we do our lives, we have a chance to renegotiate our priorities to better reflect how we want to spend our time, talent and energy.
There is the gift of now.
While we might want to double down on our calendar prompts and re-orientation to seasons, we have an opportunity to relax into the current moment. Without the internal calendar demanding we pay fierce attention all the time, we can give ourselves permission to stop missing all that’s happening and not happening in this current moment.
As I type this, I notice that it’s a lovely, cool day, that my puppy’s fur is soft on my toes, that there’s a very angry squirrel fussing at something on the tree to my right, and that deep breaths feel really good when they leave my lungs. It’s just… good.
Here in the midst of our awareness of what Dr. Who would call “wobbly wobbly timey wimey,” we have a chance, (ironically, due to the nature of the pandemic and the current social justice movement that ushered us into so much stressful chaos,) to breathe.
Follow your breath to a settled place in your body. Take a pause. What are you doing right now? Why? Is it what best serves your goals? Is it how you want to spend this time in front of you, here in this minute, in this hour on this day in this week in this month… whichever one it might turn out to be?
If you don’t like what you find when you tune into yourself, you now have a chance to completely reimagine it. Take your thinking out of the boxes that you have long-assumed to be your best choices. (Don’t worry – if those really are your best choices, you will have increased confidence about them when you reconsider it all.) How can you implement your renewed vision?
You may think you “can’t” do your life the way you want to because you don’t have this or that resource. Unbox that thought too – How can you get who and what you need in order to manifest this new life, or new way of approaching life? Reach out. If you have a need, I can nearly guarantee that there is someone out there with a complementary need. How can you find that person or those persons? Now you are not only changing the world for good, you are building positive community at the same time.
Helter Skelter Akimbo…
Many things in our world are chaotic right now. It can be quite disorienting. I’m daring you right now to take all of that mess in it’s 6s and 9’s disarray, and consider every piece and part in a brand new way. Give less energy to the weirdness of how things are, and more energy to all of the possibilities that are now opened up.
Let’s recreate our lives, our relationships, our communities, our technologies, our careers, and our countries in brand new ways.
What do you want to see? What will you do today to move yourself in that direction?
Are you having trouble sifting through these seemingly scrambled months and days? Please contact me here. I’m happy to help any way I can.