Picture this: a group of kindergartners at a birthday party are getting set to play a rousing round of musical chairs. Snacks, goodies, and juice or pop have all been rapidly consumed, and the cake was absolutely delish!! They’ve been laughing and running around for a good hour already, having an absolute blast! Giggles & squeals of joy can be heard ringing through the house (as the parents plead with them to use “indoor voices”, to no avail). Before they slow down completely to open presents, though, musical chairs seemed like a good plan. The music begins, around and around the little sweethearts go, still smiling from ear to ear. Who will win?!! The music stops, and 4 of the 5 manage to grab a seat. Whew, they’re safe!! What about #5? Outta luck kiddo, better luck next time. The rounds continue, anticipation building as each kidlet vies to be the last one standing. Final round: around they go one last time, and the music stops… one lucky one manages to snag the winning seat!! What do you think happens to the runner-up?…. As all of the emotions this sweetie-pie has been riding high on plummet down, and feelings of disappointment wash over him/her…
CRASH. A mini (or maybe not-so-mini) tantrum breaks out.
The fun is over, the music has stopped.
I find myself dealing with perplexing, and rather rapid, shifts in emotion lately. The day can be going so seemingly smoothly, and all of a sudden…CRASH. Anger, grouchiness, tears…it’s like some kind of emotional explosion. Take yesterday as an example: I set out to drop off some donations in the morning once Evy was safely at daycare, and did so. Lydia snoozed peacefully in her car-seat, I listened to my audiobook through the bluetooth in the vehicle (“why we get fat and what to do about it”, by Gary Taubes. So far, it’s quite intriguing…), drank my tea, and got all of our errands done in time to get home before little Miss Lydia gave me any trouble. (Things almost NEVER go smoothly with miss I-don’t-wanna-be-in-my-carseat!) Lucky me! Lunchtime came and went, and as Cody headed back to school I began tackling my task for the afternoon–clean and re-organize the pantry, complete with labels for each shelf and section!! (I love organizing, so I was actually looking forward to this all week!!) A couple of hours, and it was done. CHECK!!
There were a couple of household items up high on a shelf that we haven’t used since before Cody was even born…why we kept them when we moved nearly 2 years ago is beyond me. I decided to donate most of them, but I knew that Scott would likely want to keep this “Kitchen Craft” brand roasting pot/pan (or steamer?) thingamajiggie…he had always told me since I met him over a decade ago that he paid alot for this thing, and he really would use it, one day…well, we’ve been together almost 11 years, married for nearly 8, and neither one of us has EVER used that darn thingamajiggie. I would LOVE to have gotten rid of it, but I figured that Scott would want to hang on to it, yet again…
I was right. He got home, and announced there was no way he was going to give that thing up. “It can go to the cabin”, he said,….and all of a sudden….
I was infuriated!! I swear my face must have turned red, and smoke must have come out my ears!! I argued with him, stating my case as to why this thingamajiggie wasn’t needed in our house any longer…and “why on earth should I keep it when I have worked soooo hard to organize our home & make it more functional?” I was unusually livid. Not actually livid with HIM. Just at….well, everything! At life, at the house, or the pantry, definitely at that stupid thingamajiggie that threatened my composure, at ANYTHING. Here I was, working so hard to keep my composure, and that thingamajiggie had the audacity to topple my tower of strength right over!!
Then the dust of emotions settled. And I was left wondering what on earth just happened…had I really lost my s*%! over a kitchen item? Had I really acted like some prosecutor in a courtroom, nailing my awesome hubby to the cross for wanting to keep something so trivial? Yup, I sure had. (Cue the embarassment!) Tail tucked between my legs, I turned to my mommies group and asked for some advice. I told them that I really didn’t know why this had happened, that it had happened a few times over the last week or so, and asked for their advice. Was it hormones? What was it?? One of my friends (who happens to be a counselor) responded right away, and hit the nail on the head: She said it sounded like I haven’t been acknowledging my emotions enough, and that they can act like a beachball–you can push it down under that water and attempt to keep it there…but eventually, something will happen, and WHOOSH! That beachball will shoot to the surface and break free. Our emotions, she reminded me gently, are the same way.
At that instant, I thought to myself “No, that can’t be it…I do an excellent job of being with my emotions. I know how important it is to meditate, to take time for self-care, to journal, to feel the uncomfortable feelings instead of trying to squelch them…”
And then, in charged HONESTY, and hit me like a load of bricks. I have NOT been doing these things in almost 4 weeks now. Since we were in Winnipeg and found out about the abnormalities in our poor bugs’ brain, I have been GETTING BY. I have not made time for daily mediation…or even every other day…hell, once or twice a week is probably all I have done. I have not been brave enough to sit with my emotions, and hold space for them. I have been keeping myself BUSY, both mentally and physically. I have thrown myself in to personal growth & development (which, in theory, sounds great…but you know what they say about too much of a good thing…), in to reading or podcasts, in to decluttering and re-organizing our house, in to a new exercise program complete with measuring out every ounce of food in a set-out meal plan…
I threw myself in to attempts to find some semblance of CONTROL over life.
It wasn’t about the kitchen thingamijiggie at all. It was about the uncomfortable feelings that I had not been able to simply throw away. I couldn’t organize them away. I couldn’t meal-plan them away. Even a nice glass of wine couldn’t take them away. Then I remembered one of my “personal commandments”: the only way out is through. I went to bed early, and started my way through the wilderness today.
I got up, and immediately felt the urge to turn on some personal development, in the form of a podcast or audio book… “the only way out is through”. Instead, I sat with Cody, Lydia and Evy on the living room floor and played, no distractions. Then I wanted a second cup of coffee, with that yummy chemical-filled coffee mate (mmm, delish fake crap to pump through my body)…. “the only way out is through”….I made “Buddha’s Blend” loose tea instead, nothing added. I took Evy downstairs to “workout” with me and learn while we played, no distractions, “the only way out is through”. When Scott came home at lunch, I asked for 10 minutes to meditate, “the only way out is through”.
And now, the littles are napping as I sit here writing. I have no music going in the background. No tv. No podcasts. No audiobooks. 1 thing at a time. I will take the time to feel the emotions as they flow, I will hold space for the discomfort, or happiness, or worry, or sadness. I will stay with it, until it passes. And take comfort in the fact that it will pass.
the only way out is through