Aug 9, 2009

Letting go.

My last post reflects perfectly my state of mind at the time: muddled. In an attempt to gain some clarity, I took my first road trip since my accident; Grace and I drove to the coast to visit my parents. I was white-knuckled and tense the entire three-hour drive, and when we finally got there my muscles creaked when I climbed out of the car. (Grace was totally chill.)

I was hoping the fog might lift enough for me to connect with my mom and dad, but both my brain fog and the coastal fog were uncooperative, leaving us cooped up in the house most of the week, and a bit cranky. I was also supposed to do a book signing that didn't transpire, and my frustration about that didn't help my mood. I decided to come home earlier than planned, and that afternoon the clouds finally lifted and we saw the sun as we hit the road at dusk.

Something inside me lifted during the drive home, as well. I've been thinking about the illusion of control that generally gets me through the day, the idea that if I do things properly, I will be rewarded with success and happiness. That illusion was pretty well shattered last month, and I've been sort of unnerved ever since. I can drive safely and still get into an accident; I can parent to the best of my ability and still let Grace down; I can find a fantastic job and work hard but still get fired; I can take care of myself and still get sick; I can write a book and promote it like crazy but not sell it; I can try to reason with my psychotic neighbor regarding the land dispute and still wind up in a legal quagmire; I can love my friends and family but hurt them unintentionally. I could go on, but you get the point.

My personal injury lawyer, of all people, mentioned the serenity prayer during our first meeting. I'm not into organized religion, but I believe I'm a spiritual person. Regardless, the idea of accepting things I cannot change is somewhat foreign to me, and lately I've been too wiped to summon much courage for the things I need to change. I have two things working against me: I have some itty bitty control issues, and I struggle with chronic depression. So I tend to spin my wheels when crises arise. Rather than distinguish between what I should work on and what I should let go, I do exactly the opposite. I stew over things beyond my control and neglect my responsibilities. Pretty clever, right?

On my drive home, this tendency suddenly became clear to me, again, and left me feeling unusually peaceful. I'm not sure why I have so much trouble remembering to focus my energy on what is truly important; I suppose that whole pesky wisdom part still eludes me. But I'll be glancing at this prayer (originally a poem, by the way) often from now on, hoping to break old habits and find order in chaos, or just let go and enjoy.

4 comments:

Scott Williams said...

There are times I think we share the same twisted depressed brain. I always look forward to reading your posts. They always motivate me. I too battle very severe depression at times. It helps to see someone deal with similar life frustrations, yet you always leave it feeling like you are pointed in the right direction, and I come away feeling like I need to find a way to do the same. Thank you.

Girlbert said...

There you go again, being my long-lost twin, and all.

I've been reflecting on the serenity prayer A LOT these days, too.

Thanks for the lovely reminder to focus on what's important - sometimes just taking the extra 30 seconds to figure that out is the hard part, huh?

Kudos to you for being able to get it out on the keyboard and into the universe like this...

XOXO

King of New York Hacks said...

Great post and style, first time here, I dig it A LOT !

mama neeniebelle said...

Wow, we should talk gfriend...I have been contemplating such a similar set of notions (complete with Serenity prayer!)...let's go for a walk soon!! PS I am joining 24hrfitness through a rockin' deal at costco...wanna join me?Let's talk, I love you!!!