There was a challenge at about two this morning when an apparent conflict between my medications and poor judgement on my part gave me a clear, distinct moment to understand that the purpose of life is to life it, to taste the experience, to reach eagerly…but at the same time, not to employ self defeating behaviors. An anxiety attack by any other name is still torture.
So what is it that we do to ourselves when we employ self defeating behaviors? Why do we run patterns that result in self destructive mindsets? It brings conflict to your mind, into your relationships. Today, the “conflict” is a side effect that exacerbates things like shaking, throwing up and in general, loss of balance and the feeling of fire burning in your neurons. Granted, there are flair days that are this bad; knowing that brought it on through my own choices causes my stress level to rise.
At 2 a.m. I was up, talking with Brian about my reactions to being part of a social crowd. I’m better with work and things like deadlines or new product marketing launches. How hard it is for me to readjust back to life outside of my academic community now that I am home. He said something that really resonated with me, something that made the day.
“Baby, you can life through today, be happy, love, experience something new. Or you can relive your mistakes from yesterday and be unhappy. It’s your choice.”
We went back to sleep after that, but the choice still haunted me. Could I possibly just let go of having acted somewhat stupidly, forgive myself, allow peace to take place of anxiety? I could choose, make my own mind up about how dumb I have to feel.
I could break the cycle.
I could choose the healthy ideas.
And I did.
Instead of losing the day, it was nearly magical. Taryn and I collected an acre of sticks while Brian mowed, fitting in several moments to do lots of cartwheels. We nibbled some breakfast of Sumatra coffee, yogurt and Hawaiian rolls. We went on an adventure to the south of house, where the river is high from rain and the reservoir of a billion gallons was teaming with people. First, we imagined that there was a plane ride to Hawaii, but it was really a great fun trip first to pick up picnic supplies. We stopped in a little novelty town and saw a grist mill and a waterfall. Then, to the white rafting center, where about sixty thousand gallons of water crashed in from the dam about every minute. Standing at least ten foot over the swirling water, it parted, rose and drenched me from head to toe in ice water. It was exhilarating to feel the power of the water.
Then, off to the beach for a few hours of fun in the sun…it was great. We finished the afternoon with a picnic in a meadow away from the crowds, with only one ant, and the most gorgeous floating cottonwood seeds in the air, butterflies, thick rich grass of emerald green. We napped for a while on the red and white checkered blanket, and Brian laughed at my super duper picnic basket with all it’s gadgets and gizmo’s. Tonight, the new Karate Kid (after the new Kung Fu Panda yesterday afternoon) and an early bed night for us all.
The great change of all of this is that in the moments of love and laughter, there was not self recrimnation and pain. Once I came to the space of letting go of the angst and internal conflict, I thought of some engaging ways to make amends.
I didn’t lose the day in the process.
Guilt and condemnation did not rule or ruin me.
I kept my self worth intact.
The key element in letting go isn’t that you’re able to get past the feelings that you have or even the moments that you remember. It’s realizing that life is about reaching with open, eager hands to the possibilities before you, walking the path of trust and assurance that you are both enough and loved even when you fail; and that you can do that, too. It’s okay to love yourself when you fail, to get back up, dust yourself off and smile…..without fear, seeking a new and richer experience.