Monday, November 5, 2012

Heeding My Own Advice

My mother called it "contemplating one's navel" - and she had little patience for it - thinking too much, especially about things that can't be controlled or changed.  Needless to say, she didn't keep a journal, couldn't understand why anyone would go to a therapist.

She would use that phrase whenever she thought I was worrying about something or spending an inordinate amount of time and effort to dissect a situation or struggling to make sense out of nonsense.  I would bristle and defend myself.  I used to wonder how she knew that I was, in fact, overthinking, musing, worrying, deep within a maze of my own construction, bumping up against imaginary walls.

I've come to realize that it must be pretty obvious to anyone who is around me for any length of time.  I withdraw, disengage - journal much more than usual, make and remake list upon list, draw mindmaps - and double back again.  Get caught up in circular conversations in my head.  Just like a lab rat in a maze.  Not something I'm particularly proud of.

The good news, I manage to get through a maze much faster these days.  Only a month this go round.

The bad news, the sad news, it took Hurricane Sandy to snap me out of it.  Seeing the devastation, entire neighborhoods destroyed, children lost, lives disrupted perhaps forever. The water, the mud, the fires. Anguish, grief, unbelievable loss.  Every day another wrenching story. A sobering reminder to get a grip! Quick! "There but for the grace....."

Outwardly, nothing much has changed here in St. George.  Yes, it's cooler.  But my vote still won't count.  I know I will worry whenever John so much as coughs.  I can't seem to lose these ten pounds.  TV continues to annoy me.  Strangers will persist in calling me dear and honey. And whenever I enter a room and can't remember why, I still won't like it.

But internally, the walls of this maze have collapsed. The moment even a brick appears, I remind myself of the advice I so easily give someone else - to consider the alternative.  Now, I'm not so naive as to expect I'll never construct another maze and wander around a bit, but  I may just have a couple posters made - CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE - so that it doesn't take another disaster to snap me out of it!

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