I was shivering in my boots (shoes) at a Christmas party long ago, when our table became engaged in a mind teaser game designed to get us 'mixing' with each other. The moment my brain started working, my entire body warmed up.
In the aftermath of a separation long ago, I eventually stumbled onto a coping mechanism that was the springboard for so many of the good things that followed. I became 'courageous' as I stepped far, far out of my comfort zone and stirred things up in my life. I became engaged in my life and it was intoxicating as I invited people into my life to join me for the ride.
I had a good run. I suppose I had to run out of steam eventually. But over the course of the past few years, I can remember specific moments in time where I started shutting down.
Being told that my work-from-home position had been changed to a work-out-of-my-home without forewarning or discussion was one of those moments. My job was less than perfect before that happened, but that moment catapulted me into a fight or flight mode that started a domino effect of work-events.
Mom's health scare that happened at the same time completely unnerved me. Emotions were strong and raw. Suddenly a hyper awareness of the fragility of life made me fearful.
The fear overrode the courage that had been a driving force of my life.
I could not have predicted where life would take me after that point. Deciding to change career paths while I was down was not one of my wiser moves. Perhaps that explains the 'learning curve' (I so want to say failure) after that point. Strong people around me sensed my fear and pounced.
You don't go far in life when you retreat inside a protective cloak of sleep and withdrawal. But I had to keep going. So I did. But I slept. I slept alot during that time.
Thankfully the past three months have been the turning point that I needed so badly. I am getting my feet back underneath myself once again and I am becoming stronger. I am sleeping less ... but sleep is still my safety zone.
As life quietened down and stress levels declined, I noticed one variable that remained unchanged. When I was actively engaged in something ... as long as my mind was busy and active ... I felt fully alert and awake.
This past week, I have been fully alert. Not in a fight or flight mode. Simply engaged in my life once again. There were things to do, places to be and deadlines to meet. This is what I need to propel me.
The weekend arrived and there was a part of me that would have loved to retreat into my zone of safety. Oh! To grab a blanket and snuggle up on the couch and lose myself in a movie &/or sleep marathon. Ahhh. The temptation.
But Christmas is looming. I had a small assortment of tasks that I could do without even leaving the house. A few gifts ideas to start. And complete. Cards. Oh ... cards. How could I ever do cards this year? How do you write about a year that will not go down in history as 'memorable'??
The words came.
Saturday morning, I sat down and wrote the words. They were nothing. But they were everything. It helped me see that this was a year that I needed. The pieces of the puzzle started coming together ...
Then I became engaged. Engaged in the idea of doing 'one small thing' to start the momentum of doing another small thing. And so on. And so forth. Saturday afternoon, I immersed myself in the idea of giving. It was a wonderful place to be.
Sunday morning, I woke up once again knowing that if I sat down on my favorite comfy couch ... I would lose myself. And the day. I could turn off everything and sleep. But I didn't.
I started by writing one card. And then another. Momentum propelled me throughout the day. Was I tired? No! I was engaged. Engaged in the idea of popping into the mailbox of family and friends. I know the joy that I feel when I see a hand written letter addressed to me in the mailbox. I was giving that gift to others.
It can be hard work to stay engaged in the moment. I feel like an addict who knows what they want. Can see it. Feel it. Loose themselves in it. To become disengaged. Sometimes it is just easier to cocoon yourself away from life's lessons. It is hard to step out of that cocoon and believe that your wings will take you wherever you want and need to go.
Your wings don't get stronger if you don't flex them. Go out and spread your wings today. In one small way. Do something 'courageous'. Call a friend. Write a note. Stay awake and alert and become engaged in your day. You will be glad that you did ...