Chaos... or maybe not.

"Chaos does not mean total disorder. Chaos means a multiplicity of possibilities. Chaos is from the ancient Greek words that means a thing that is birthed from the void. And it was about that which is possible, not about disorder." (Jok Church)

Therapist/Blogger M.I.A. Those of you who get my newsletter may have noticed that I skipped a week and then was late on the next week. (Some of you didn’t notice at all.  Glad I could add blinking lights and arrows to my humanness.) The weirdest thing happened. I was plugging along with way too many things to get done in a week as usual, and I slid a few things down my priority list because it just wasn’t realistic to think I would be able to do it all. I did most of the big ticket items and bumped two to the next week. Dante’s usual Thursday laser treatments had gotten moved to Saturday, and the Ravens played on Saturday night instead of Sunday. It was an odd weekend. I took my time getting up on Monday, as I don’t start until later in the day. In my bleariness, I couldn’t figure out why my husband was still sitting in the living room relaxing and hadn’t made himself breakfast. It was already 8:00. What da what?? Then I saw the cinnamon brioche I use to make him French Toast on Sunday mornings, unopened and untouched. You know that look dogs get when something doesn’t compute?  That head-tilty thing they do? That was me, looking at the bread. Had I forgotten to make him breakfast the day before?? And then it all clicked.  It was Sunday, not Monday. Alrighty then!!! And, I still hadn’t finished Saturday’s Big Task. I worked feverishly away at it after making breakfast for my husband and then my stepson, helping him get out of the door to go to his mother’s. Then I was like, “Aaahhhh…” Ok. Let me relax for the rest of today. I really need the break.” When real Monday came around, I got about half-way through my day when it occurred to me that I never did the week’s blog or newsletter.  I had accidentally re-prioritized it right off of my list. This is not a “normal” occurrence in my life. That’s when I finally started to understand what was happening.  Better late than never! Fingers too close to my face There’s a reason why therapists have therapists. We are far too close to our own issues to be able to see them clearly all the time. I remember noting with colleagues, family members and some clients that I fully expected people to start falling apart a little bit in January. It’s a normal reaction when we perceive some element of relief after a period of intense struggle. We spent nearly all of 2020 with something close to daily “high alert” messages about the state of the world and the state of the country. We stumbled and fumbled through the best way we could. We managed to at least somewhat acclimate to persistent Sympathetic Nervous System dominance. (See explanation here.) After a prolonged period of this kind of living, once humans feel a threat lifting at least somewhat, we start to feel some of the feels we didn’t have room for when we were going through it. Can you relate? I had worked harder than ever before in my adult life, all year, to keep some sense of order, normalcy, predictability and constancy for myself, my family, my friends and my clients. While we are certainly not out of the woods, the plans I had heard for a methodical and dramatically increased vaccination approach were very comforting. You may recall that back in the Summer, I mentioned that one of the big challenges in coping with both COVID and our country’s civil unrest was being in that limbo state when you don’t know when something will end. I finally had a sense of an end point. Inhale Exhale I exhaled. In fact, I think I have exhaled more deeply and regularly in January of 2020 than I had in many years. I let go of some of my more restrictive self-imposed lines and demands to “have it together.” And no, I’m not sorry about that. Not one bit. Nothing crucial was dropped.  The clock kept turning around the dial, (or clipping forward for my digital-age readers – Google “analogue clock.”) and we managed. Let yourself fall apart a little In fact, not only do I not regret loosening up on my survival skills a little bit, I want to encourage you to do the same. You have all worked incredibly hard to find equilibrium in an environment that has been swinging wildly in every direction, unpredictably and painfully at times. Decide what you won’t relax and give yourself a break on the rest. The Panda Express continues We are by no means out of the woods or back to normal.  The incoming Legislators and Executive Branch official in our Federal Government will do some things that work and some things that don’t work; They will make choices that help us and choices that hurt us. They will very likely make decisions that you hate, and very possibly some you either love or at least don’t hate. My hope, however, is that the relentless pace of constant change is slowing down, and that we are moving concretely toward recovery from the pandemic, (or as one family I work with calls it, “The Panda Express” or if you like, “the Panoramic.”) People are still dying from COVID at horrifying rates. Those who have had it and recovered are showing long-term damage we didn’t anticipate. It’s still pretty horrible. And… apparently if we so what we are supposed to do, get vaccinated, continue to wear masks and socially distance, there is some very real hope that we can at least start doing some of the things that used to be normal again by this coming Fall. We are finally getting out from behind that truck and we can see the exit ramp. Don’t be surprised if things feel newly chaotic inside again. We are recalibrating once again. But look at you? With all of the mad, crazy amazing skills you’ve learned over the past year! You are prepared.  You are trained. You have everything you need to go do it all well, knowing full-well that part of “doing it all well” means not doing well at all at times, as you figure out how to do the moment in front of you right now. SO… Wear your masks. Socially distance. Get the vaccine when you can. Protect yourself and your loved ones as best you can. Keep finding ways to love, support and encourage those around you. Grieve when you need to grieve. Laugh when you need to laugh. Kitchen dance. Love on your pets and your family/friends. Let yourself be a little off-kilter here and there as you find the ceiling and the floor as needed. We are now EXPERTS!! ___________________________________ If you’d like some help finding your “expertise” in coping, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help any way I can.