The way be your type of super got real for me almost stopped me in my tracks with a loud screech and smoking skid marks.
I planned and all my plans went left. And for those that project plan, imagine several activities on the critical path going awry in a sort of sequence that happens as you think, “ok, at least _____ did not happen.” Followed by _______ happening. I knew my project; my baby was in trouble.
All the tried and true platitudes that we tell ourselves when life gets challenging were not working. The other shoe kept falling. The light at the end of the tunnel that made my heart relax got overshadowed by a new challenge.
The kids got sick, one-by-one with unusual symptoms. The main products for an event were delayed without explanation. The back-up order got lost somewhere in the ordering system. A completely different order arrived in the mail. The car broke down. The mechanic fixed what was wrong and something else broke down. The gear shift for the second car got stuck in park. The dryer broke. Squirrels found their way into the attic.
I remember thinking, this is the last straw followed by pulling another straw in hope. I am uncertain of the last mayhem that caused me to go into a dorsal vagal shutdown, but it happened, and I did… for five seconds.
I remember saying aloud, “cue the theme song,” as if I were a movie director. And a theme song started to play! What I heard sounded like a combination of the Rocky theme song and the Incredibles theme song. Don’t judge me. When I am stressed, fuzzy brain happens.
In stroke survivor terms, fuzzy brain is when you cannot quite access your files and what is available in the moment is like a faint memory akin to waking up from a dream with blurred memories trying to piece them together. When fuzzy brain happens to me, I know I need to shift, immediately.
The internal shift happened. I did not care that my theme song was janky, some hodgepodge score. The point is it was mine. I was not waiting for someone to tell me that things were going to be ok. I was not waiting for the evidence of ok. The music in my mind (playing in stereo) signaled that I was all in whether I won against opposition or lost, I was not giving up.
Within me, creativity was in a knuckling brawl with opposition. Possibility showed up and tagged teamed with creativity to deliver plans B, C, H, I and so on. Was it fair to opposition? Who cares because opposition wasn’t playing fair.
My cape was the depression bathrobe that I threw off as I ran around executing my modified plan. It was sloppy. My wig was crooked until I threw it off! It was not pretty, neat or organized. But if it played out on a movie screen and you were in the audience, you would be cheering and yelling at the screen as we do for our unlikely heroes and heroines who get a second, third or fourth wind.
Then the duh moment happened. I just wrote two workbooks for middle schoolers and high schoolers using the hero’s and heroine’s journey to see life, themselves in life and their gifts differently. I realized I had the gift of experiencing at a new level, what I wanted to share with the world. It still sucked but I felt grace come in.
When grace comes in most of the time it does not change the situation. Sometimes, we experience a miracle, that heyday turnaround that is one of the stories we tell until the end of time. More often when grace comes in, we change and thus change how we respond to situations.
So, here’s my version of the heroine’s journey that’s not quite finished or wrapped in a nice neat bow — yet.
I have learned to sit with ambiguity to let higher wisdom have its way. The higher wisdom will come as it should when it should. For now, some of the obvious things I take back to the ordinary world are:
· a new version of myself;
· a fresh experience that brings compassion to work that I am passionate about;
· acceptance of what is and loving all parts of me, including fuzzy brain;
· my new janky, hodgepodge theme song that I am starting to like; and
· knowledge that no matter how opposition comes, there is something compelling me forward that I can tap into. The experience calls in allies that are waiting to tag in.
The rest of this saga will play out in the next sequel. I am not done.