The concept for this blog post came from three random “encounters” so I feel the need to give the backgrounds to lay the ground work.
A friend recently did a retreat in Bali and one of her posts was about facing your vulnerability. They were each tasked with doing something outside their comfort zone as a group and alone. She referenced a Ted Talk About Vulnerability that was long but worth the listen. This sat in the back of my mind.
A cousin of mine posted a photo of a pie chart that had a funny overtone but a more serious message underneath that can be found here at Cup of Jo. This same young professional has also embarked on a #100daysofmakingspace journey as she explains below here. These thoughts percolated.
The third starting point was an email about emails which I know seems odd but it was about what we can and can’t handle.
I have a close friend who suffers from serious life threatening depression. Her background story, as told from my perspective, is in a post called Broken.
This is not the kind of depression I understand; if I get out of kilter I go for a walk, hug my man, resolve my issues and move on. Not like that for her; it’s more like being swallowed whole by a sinking submarine with the doors slamming and the water pouring in. Such a simple thing as several emails has signalled her brain into stress mode. Add to that a couple of upcoming events and her thoughts has become chaotically out of control. To the level that there is deep seated concern about her own safety.
Now my brain races often with my work, to do lists, friends and family connections etc. Occasionally I find I feel a myself a bit scattered and overwhelmed which means it’s time to find my balance again. I pull myself together and figure out a what’s the cause and make a plan. My friend can’t see outside the racing mind. She can’t pull it back because her brain is no longer wired to handle what the regular person can so hence the emails toppled her system.
This went into my system and the other two points kind of hit to merge a point home. My vulnerability, my coping skills, my focus and my life. The context of this ramble is that, for me, it is ultimately about priorities and time management and a balance for my physical and mental health.
So then I sat down quietly and did some pie charts, thinking deeply about the things that bring me joy and things that bring me down.
But first the pie chart story which certainly speaks to my “perfect world” illusions. I found paper, the right pen and then trialed several sizes of bowls to make sure my circle left room for writing. No random drawing circles. No random drawing lines even though I forgot a ruler. I used a book from the coffee table. I wanted to shade them in because colouring gives me joy but thought it would make them harder to read. So once again, with such an “easy” task, my perfectionist tendencies took over here and everything had to be perfect.
I did an entire blog about time and how it divides into the day. Always seems like not enough space and that’s what my young cousin is working on with her making space drawing. It is taking time to stop and smell the roses (or you could read that as crocuses).
This was such an easy one to fill up. Family, friends, fitness (well ok I’m sucking at that one lately other than dog walks), creativity, sunshine and beer. It’s interesting how the happy parts of life are easy to find.
But life isn’t about perfect. Nor about the kind of car you drive. Or the amount of land you own. Or the initials after your name. Life is about being messed up and saying “I’m not perfect”. Life is about losing your cool and then having to apologize. Life is about caring and connecting with others. Life is full of worries. Seems crazy that I could fill an entire chart up with things I worry about but man it was easy. As you can see I have a deep seated money issue — perhaps the product of parents who lived through the depression. Perhaps just the way I’m wired. I seriously try to keep the worry to a minimum because really worrying about it doesn’t change anything. I know that and yet I struggle to let go of the worry.
But I think, ultimately, that I’m on the right track. I’m whole hearted and vulnerable. I ask for help and I give help. I hug lots and I love hard. I stay connected with family and friends. I reach out and connect with my world of people but also with nature and space.
I’m lucky and I know it. I’m blessed and happy to share those blessings. I’d even share my last nickel with a friend (that’s a long story and an inside joke to “my girls”). Hugs to each of you who’ve read to the end. Who I now challenge to think deeply about your life and your vulnerability. Find your connections and your joy on the flip side.