This last winter I almost fell off the wagon. Ow.
Now just simmer down now people, I’m not talking about THE wagon, like the dry ride that the recovering wasted take, I’m talking about the Chill Wagon. The CTFD train, the Slow Motion roller coaster, the Hide Your Crazy carriage.
That was one bumpy ride, February. Especially following December and January’s bruise inducing expeditions. Thanks, but uh, no thanks.
The shortest month of the year held some of the biggest tests of endurance I’ve ever not wanted. The longest days, the biggest lessons, and unfortunately, more tears, despite my effort to take leave of that pity party. That was the closest I think I’ve come to a relapse in awhile. Like almost a year. Yikes
It also had some amazing, amazing, UH-MAZE-ING weekend adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a whole lot of fun. Like, A LOT of fun. However, I also initiated said festivities to avoid dealing with some of the near panic inducing obstacles that have continued to spring up all winter along with the early bloom of the daffodils. Playing ostrich much, Michelle? Ummmmm, maybe.
Many things came to a head all at once for me. Many potential stressors, many tasks, many obligations, many decisions, and many opportunities to get out of my comfort zone, whether I wanted to or not.
This is not particularly unusual really, but rather than take everything in stride, deep ujjayi breaths and all, I did a little foot stomping, a little heel digging, and allowed my type A brain to gain a temporary takeover of the space between my ears.
I went, gulp, into plan mode. #fail
Let’s just say I was blowing up the list apps on my phone like a war zone and using Siri to set reminders so regularly I started to miss her voice when my phone was off. Furthering my futile attempts at control, I made playlists on Spotify for every mood possible. Why? Becuase my life is just like a hip hop song, obviously, and it needs a soundtrack, organized into lists. Nice, tidy little lists. In boxes. And categories.
Happy sigh. My brain was working on overdrive, ON FIRE. “How am I going to solve problem A? With solutions 1, 2 and 3. Problem K, with solutions a2 + b2 = problems2, of course.”
Yeah. We know how that works out. It doesn’t. Getting the universe to cooperate with Michelle’s Plan For Total World Domination goes over about as well as a lead balloon. Ouch.
So I’m obviously exiting intact. I’ve made it through the Hallmark holidays, the bogus days off and the four rainy days the universe saw fit to bring Sacramento to date in 2014. I can see the mountain, covered with thorns; but I brought my shears and my big girl boots and I’m summitting.
How? Why? In between those moments of manic production, I’ve managed to check myself. For example, I found a blurb (see below) from a journal entry I wrote after running a 200 mile relay last fall. I read it, remembered the experience, heard my own words, felt that euphoric state of mind again and well, calmed the fuck down.
“Last night I was reminded of a great life lesson while running in the dark and the fog. I couldn’t see more than 20 yards (at best) in front of me, while running an unfamiliar course in an unknown location. I quite honestly didn’t even know what city I was in. And I was tired. It was 3 a.m. for God’s sake, and I was running, alone, exhausted and basically blind.
And yet, I knew that if I just kept moving forward something amazing was ahead of me. Something great was waiting, just a few more miles down the road. I just had to keep moving. One step at a time. One forward motion, one leap of faith, one small effort in stride, even when I didn’t know where my foot was going to land.
And so I did. I crushed it. And, not surprisingly, it was badass awesome. I finished my leg, passed of the baton to the next brave soul and did a little happy dance.
Thank you universe. Thanks for the reminder that we don’t always need turn-by-turn directions to get somewhere we’d like to be. We don’t have to see the whole path in advance to arrive at our destination, just the next 20 yards. If we do our best, we keep moving forward patiently and with strength, positivity and courage, then goodness, perhaps even greatness, lies ahead.”
So, once calmed again, perspective regained, I slowed my roll. A little. Enough. I still made plans, as some problems do actually require action, but I gave up those things for which I ultimately have no control anyway. I released the expectations and assumptions I was willingly and knowingly creating, and I let go of the banana, freeing my hands to hold fast to the sides of the wagon.
Let me tell you- every time I am open to accepting anything, I recieve in abundance. Every.single.time. The more free I am, the more I am offered. The more closed and narrow I become in what I want, what I expect, what I assume (erroneously) is mine for the taking, the less I am able to do.
This does not mean I sit around on my ass and wait for shit to happen. This means I am constantly observing the particular kind of shit that shows up on my lawn, from what type of beast, when, and with what intensity and potential for assistance in growth. It’s up to me to decide to stand on that grass or not.
I don’t know exactly where I will be in a year. I don’t know precisely what I will be doing and what specific experiences I may have had by then. And, I don’t need to know.
The minutiae aren’t what matters right now; I know in which general direction I am heading.
I’m visualizing to materialize, but I’m not painting by number.
I have my friends. I have my family. I have two beautiful, darling children to adore and love and with whom to bring goodness to the world. I have a template for my life, not an itinerary, and the format is subject to change at a moment’s notice. As I’ve said before: