Okay, I’ll admit it. I almost started this blog by mentioning the you know what- the reason that we all have to wear masks, stay six feet apart and stare at all strangers, surfaces and swappable items with suspicion. The reason that dust is bust, clean is keen and paper is the new gold plate for dining… The wave has hit and we’ve accounted for it, incorporated adjustments for it into our routines and audited our routines for anything that we can defer, delegate or ditch. We’re down to the essentials in terms of managing things and trimming away wasted time, money and energy bit by bit. I’ll let you know how we finished out the year sometime in late December, when I expect to be a bit thinner, have a bit more savings and be more disciplined on several fronts. All of this is worth it, to me.
But the “naughty virus” as we’ve name it for my special needs relative (in order to avoid frightening her) isn’t the only challenge that has landed in the last several months. My housemate is building a business and it’s doing well. I have a coaching practice that is having birth pains and growth pains simultaneously. On paper, we’re good. On the client side, we’ve got the systems, space and resources. But- our slots aren’t all full and all of this stuff that comes with the naughty virus has us a bit off track of where we expected to be. (I know, right? “Welcome to the club…”. You’ve got a point. I’ll move on now.)
The thing IS that while we’re all busy managing the stress from changes, complications and losses due to you-know-stinkin’-what, we’ve gotten a tad stretched out. Overtaxed, even. And then, we get acclimated to the one-more-thing syndrome. That’s the one where of course some other curlicue is about to be thrown on the next pitch. Life is throwing curve balls across home plate one after another. Every batter that’s up faces a tough line-up on the pitcher’s team this season.
At my house, the curlicue is a major medical procedure for my relative’s dad, which means he’s out of commission for a bit. And THAT means that somebody, who is completely a daddy’s girl, is going to have some dad withdrawal symptoms in September. Which we’ve kind of explained by explaining-but-not-explaining… Now, don’t get me wrong. Information is power. At least, it’s potential power. But how we receive it determines whether or not it’s actually going to be useful.
I’ve never used the term “people mechanic” before. It’s the only way that I could come up with to explain-but-not-explain that dad visits were on hold. Because language matters. And while we essentially want honesty, we also have to keep the frame of our audience in mind. So, whereas I research and deconstruct whatever I’m facing before acting, my relative requires a more stripped down version of facts. Dressed in vocabulary that’s reasonably accurate, but that doesn’t trigger her somewhat extreme anxiety around anything “doctor-y”.
SO… frame matters, words matter and capacity matters. We’re all telling ourselves a story about how things are going in our personal and professional lives. The felt experience of our lives is certainly impacted by the onset of challenging and difficult events, especially when our felt sense of competence is taxed- sometimes to the point of exhaustion or overwhelm. But- we can choose to reframe how we tell ourselves that story and THAT is a tool whose impact is endlessly serviceable in the management of stress and the enhancement of our feelings about the lives that we are living.
Difficulties that pile up one on top of another can have the consequence of causing us to be vigilant in every moment, watching for the next emergency that we’re expecting. Living in that mindset is untenable. It’s depression, dispiriting and plain old exhausting. Put yourself into any posture that you like and hold it for a minute… two minutes… five minutes… Are you tired yet? In order to have the ability to respond to things as they arise while still fulfilling our regular roles and responsibilities, we need a more relaxed posture.
Change up the narrative. Dispel the tension. Engage in something that brings a more positive vibe. These are all ways of breaking out of the state of hypervigilance and reengaging with the world in ways that are meaningful, relevant and soul-sustaining. Freezing up in anticipation of the next thing that might go wrong is disempowering.
If you need a little help recrafting your own narrative, reach out. We’re here to help.