ny Linda Anderson Krech

Someone I love is very upset with me.  And I don’t know why.  They won’t answer my calls or respond to my emails.

This situation finds its way into my consciousness, uninvited, many times throughout the day.  It is distracting and disturbing.  I’d like to resolve the problem, but I can’t seem to do that on my own.  It will take both of us, and both of us don’t seem interested at the moment.

So, not feeling like it, I move forward with my day.  I repeatedly unclutch the problem, letting it drop to the ground, over and over again.  I tune into my surroundings, feeling the breeze on my face and noticing the vibrance of our petunias.  I also notice that a chipmunk is looking at me intently.  We get into a fierce staring contest and I will not let him win.  There, he finally gave up and we are both free now to move on.  And so the day goes, a mix of concern, confusion, and distraction.

This unexpected challenge of mine has much in common with any of the other challenges that may come up today for you or for me.  Either of us might get an injury, or discover a fraudulent charge on our bank statement, or become worried about a loved one.  There are, of course, infinite variations on the challenges we may experience, but we can initially approach these challenges in the the same way, regardless:

  • If there is something to do right now, to actually address the problem, we can seize the opportunity and give it our best.
  • But if there’s nothing to do, at least right now, we need to accept the situation, and get on with the rest of our day.

Even if we’re just bumbling along.  We can’t always rally with every fiber of our being, but neither do we need to collapse, withdraw, or go on strike.  There’s a middle ground that is based on simple, helpful, and constructive actions, even if we feel half-hearted.  Remember that actions are much more controllable than feelings.  Lead with the body and steer with the heart.

And here is an unexpected update that I’d like to share with you.

Before I had time to publish this piece, I found out that I was mistaken about the whole situation. Despite the fact that I was completely convinced that I had alienated this person, and had come up with several possible reasons to explain this, it’s obvious now that the disconnect wasn’t about me at all.

But my feelings, of course, fell right in line behind the story I had made up.  Our story-telling minds try to make sense of things, but it’s good to remember that our stories are not always trustworthy. Even when they seem so obvious and true, they are often incomplete and inaccurate, and sometimes they are really way off base.

Fortunately, we’ll never stop creating stories about our lives, our childhoods, our relationships . . . We are natural born storytellers.  But let’s carry our stories with a light touch, knowing that they are works-in-progress, rather than fixed in stone.  As we become privy to more information over time, or change our vantage point, our stories will, hopefully evolve. We might realize that we were jumping to conclusions, as I had, or connecting dots that should not have been connected.


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