Darbella’s Articles — Living in the moment

Com­ing back from Phase to a month of con­tin­ued hol­i­days was an easy tran­si­tion. This past month I have been back to work and find­ing the work­load even greater than it has been in the past. I am also notic­ing that I am dif­fer­ent in that place.

Work stress has always been a major fac­tor in my life. When things pile up too much, I have giv­en myself major migraines. Over the past few years, I have sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced the num­ber of migraines I have giv­en myself. When life has become too much for me, I col­lapse with a migraine — only then allow­ing myself time to curl up in bed.

Last week, what with mov­ing Wayne’s dad, Chuck, in com­bi­na­tion with a busy time at work, I end­ed up with a migraine. I took a day off to move Chuck but head­ed back the next day to work. The day start­ed with a headache that con­tin­ued to devel­op into a migraine by late morning.

I decid­ed to leave work at lunchtime. Before I left, I want­ed to tell the teacher that I was work­ing with that he would be on his own for the after­noon activ­i­ty. I had to wait for a moment for him to return to the class­room. I found myself lean­ing against the wall of the hall­way. I had an aware­ness that what I want­ed to do more than any­thing else was to sit down on the floor and cry. Being who I am and giv­en the sit­u­a­tion, I decid­ed not to do this. It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

The tears I had blocked were a result of the strains of the move along with the sad­ness of watch­ing Chuck­’s life shrink down to a space of a sin­gle room. Many of his pos­ses­sions, which at one time seemed so impor­tant, were now being tossed aside. I felt sad­ness for Wayne’s dad as he sat back while some­one sort­ed through his pos­ses­sions, decid­ing the best way to dis­pose of them. I was almost moti­vat­ed enough to come home and sort through my clos­ets. (Almost!!)

Wayne had fin­ished with his client when I came home so he did some Body­work to get rid of my headache. I end­ed up in tears. This is not a usu­al out­come in Body­work for me. I tend to have to work hard at allow­ing the tears to flow. I am aware of the strain around my eyes but I tend keep the area blocked.

I won­dered at the moment that I stood in the school hall­way how many migraines I have giv­en myself over the years sim­ply because I chose not to cry. I’m guess­ing that is true for most of them. I won­der in the future how many migraines I can avoid by allow­ing myself the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cry when I need to. This will require stay­ing present in my body and being aware of this need to cry. I also will need to be gen­tle with myself and throw out the old learn­ing that cry­ing is not okay.

I learned very ear­ly in my life to block the tears. It was much eas­i­er to sur­vive if I was sim­ply qui­et and hid­den. Cry­ing could get me into more trou­ble. I learned to see it as a sign of weak­ness. I did every­thing I could to keep myself from cry­ing. I con­vinced myself that I was strong and I could take it all. That has done quite the num­ber on my body.

Giv­en the real­i­ty of edu­ca­tion in Ontario at this time, there are few­er teach­ers in our school to do the same amount of work. This has increased every­one’s already busy work­load. There is no way that I can com­plete all that is expect­ed of me and do it all to the lev­el of per­fec­tion that I may want to do things.

I can be my own worst ene­my in this sit­u­a­tion. In the past, I expect­ed to be able to do it all and do it all well. If I was unable to do every­thing, then I was not a good teacher and I was not a good per­son. Some­how, I con­nect­ed to this that nobody would like me if I were unable to be the best at every­thing I tried to do. I would con­tin­ue to try to do it all until I reached the point of col­lapse. No won­der I have a prob­lem with my blood pres­sure being so high.

My approach to all these stress­es is dif­fer­ent now that I have attend­ed Phase. I am liv­ing more in the moment. In each moment, I exam­ine my choic­es and make the best pos­si­ble one for me at that giv­en time. I am able to put aside all those oth­er things that I am not work­ing on. I’ve giv­en up on spend­ing so much time wor­ry­ing about the things I’m not doing. Some­times “good enough” is the best that I can do.

I have learned to live with the fact that I can’t do it all. This is not phys­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble. Even mak­ing an attempt can be very dam­ag­ing to my body. Wor­ry­ing about all the things I have not done is counter pro­duc­tive. My old pat­tern was to work myself into quite the state — where it was impos­si­ble to get any­thing done.

Liv­ing in the moment sim­ply means choos­ing one task from the pile in front of me. If there is one task that has to be done, then some­thing else will have to be left undone. I’ve learned to let it all go. In the moment, I chose the best thing for me to focus on and leave every oth­er task in the pile. When I am fin­ished I move on. I am amazed at how much more I get done when I don’t spend so much time obsess­ing about not doing the task well enough or not get­ting some of the jobs done.

I con­tin­ue to bring work home and I do spend long days work­ing. In the end the deci­sions on how to spend my time are mine to make. When I need to do some­thing for myself, I do it. When I need to sleep, I go to bed. I con­tin­ue at home to make the best pos­si­ble choice for me in the moment. I am respon­si­ble for my own choic­es and what they are doing to me. I con­tin­ue to work hard at choos­ing not to wor­ry about the things I am unable to do in the moment, and obsess­ing about whether or not the end result is “good enough.” The end result is I am get­ting more things done and I am feel­ing bet­ter about myself, and the choic­es I am mak­ing. More and more I am choos­ing to live in the moment and being aware.

In the end, I was my most crit­i­cal judge. In most cas­es, nobody else cares. It was only I, giv­ing myself a hard time. I was very good at that. When I stopped giv­ing myself a hard time, I stopped giv­ing myself headaches. I will con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor how often the headaches hap­pen. They will be my con­stant check on how well I am doing.

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