An appropriate topic for a New Moon in Cancer, don’t you think?
I’ve been making notes for a couple of weeks on this topic, then yesterday responded to Lunaea’s post along similar lines.
My current anxieties have to do with a new cycle of grief over leaving my island home, as we prepare to put the house on the market for the upcoming holiday weekend. I’m also feeling the familiar powerlessness and angst over the state of the planet, especially after a scientist friend wrote to a group of us a couple of days ago that the global warming crisis is actually much worse than the general public has been led to believe.
I’m usually able to keep myself on a fairly even keel, but a couple of weeks ago I completely lost it.
It started when I filled up my gas tank and the bill was $58.62 ($4.25/gallon). I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Now I had a choice at that moment. I could have said to myself “I’m so grateful I have enough money in my account to pay for this.” Instead I felt of surge of rage at the Bush administration and Big Oil, accompanied by a flood of despair and anxiety over the state of our personal finances. And I gave in to it and started down a dark spiral of negative thoughts and feelings.
Not long after I filled up the tank, still feeling extremely cranky, I got a call from Craig. He told me that he’d decided to lower the price on the Eldridge house substantially, to list it with a realtor instead of trying to sell it ourselves; and that the realtor told him to expect it to take up to six months to sell in this market. That news sent me down even further, as we did not plan on supporting that house for 9+ months, along with our two other houses. (In retrospect, our timing into the real estate market was lousy. But who knew?)
From there, I went into a panic of overwhelm — feeling overwhelmed at my long to-do list, especially for clients who are struggling to pay their bills on time; feeling overwhelmed by the struggle to carve out time for my own work; feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work necessary to maintain the yards and gardens of three homes during the growing season. “I’m drowning in weeds!” I wailed at one point.
So how did I work my way out of it? Well, I have to tell you. I was in so far that none of my normal strategies worked. This is what did it: working in the garden, in the fresh air and sunshine, pulling weeds for four solid hours. (Interesting, yes, that the antidote was in the poison? The weeds, I mean.)
I don’t think I calmed down until I’d been at it for an hour and a half. But it did the trick. It brought me into the present moment. And the physical movement calmed my emotions down.
So this time — as I felt myself slipping into grief and despair over the last few days — I caught myself. And I found myself formulating the steps I take to keep my head above water, as I commented on Lunaea’s post.
So these are the things I do to keep myself sane and centered.
– I catch myself and notice that I’m running a drama. I tell myself that I have a choice to continue or to stop. I remind myself that “worry is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.” Thank you, Eckhart Tolle. He says that just the act of noticing a negative thought process will start it to dissipate, and I’ve found that to be true.
– I breathe deeply. I watch my breath.
– I go outside and spend time with Mama Gaia, even if it’s only a few minutes. I come into stillness.
– I ask for help. I ask the Great Mystery to help me maintain my peace of mind. (Thank you, Christina Baldwin.)
– I count my blessings, verbally or in a journal.
– I smile (partly: fake it ’til ya make it; and partly releasing the smile-endorphins)
– I talk to a friend, first asking her permission to listen while I discharge my negative emotion. (That one is from holistic peer counseling — thank you Wahaba Heartsun.)
– I get outside and get some exercise, especially walking and gardening.
– I remind myself: It is what it is. And it shall pass. (Also from Tolle.)
– And I remind myself to hold on to hope. (Thank you, Cristina E.)
So what works for you, dear reader, when you need to work your way out of an emotional meltdown?