I figured flying to England and back would give me a cold. And I thought the spotty sleep over there mixed with the inevitable drop in adrenaline might bring on depression. Check and Check. What I really hoped for, though, was magic. Alas, no.
I hoped a break from this weird job I started in July might help me see a clear path. Stay or Go? Jump in with both feet and start setting up mental wellness support groups? Or resign and look for a position with less chaos, less pressure, less ambiguity? You’d think leaving the freaking country might shift one’s perspective, throw a little light into the shadows, turn the fire up under the subconscious, but no. I’m still sitting just as squarely on the fence, the pros and cons equally balanced. I’m still in this Neither/Nor space—not able to fully commit, but not able to back away.
Sick and depressed, the impulse is to quit, crawl back into my safe, old life and nurse myself back to health. But, I don’t know if going back is the answer. I’ve spent the last two months pushing my Distress Tolerance envelope, and now I have this new space around me. When the impulse says, “Run!” I can actually take a step back from it and answer, “Wait.” And when I do that, the emotion and the thoughts settle down, and I simply show up for whatever is in front of me. Sure, I could take this skill back to my old life, but I’ve had a taste of more. I can have more if I just wait and stay present.
Yesterday, I felt too funky, physically and mentally, to meet my friend, but I also knew it would be good for me to get out of the apartment and into the sunshine. So, I went. Allison and I get together to write, which is always good, and to connect, which is even better. We sat in our booth, doing our thing, aware of the noise in the booth behind us—two very young mothers with their combined litter of small children eating lunch—when it suddenly got very quiet. We had heard the bonk of a little head hitting something hard and anticipated the bawl that would follow. We both turned and saw that the baby was choking.
Allison asked the mother if she needed help, and she rushed the toddler to our booth. I picked him up without thinking, and started doing the Heimlich. One. Two. Three. Four. Out flew a wad of chewed food. And he started crying.
The mother grabbed him and the whole crew went back to their booth.
I looked at the baby crying in his mother’s arms. I looked at Allison. She looked at me.
“I’m glad I showed up today,” I told her.
I believe in synchronisity and looking for lessons in the moment. But, this was a little much. My legs felt like jelly as I walked to my car.
Just Show Up.
Well, I asked for magic, didn’t I?