Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back To Basics

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I have a mutant adrenaline system. When I get triggered, my adrenal glands make enough adrenaline for twelve emergencies. We're talking serious overkill. It's all well and good to have a burst of energy when you perceive a threat. I can see how that evolved. I can picture my ancestress minding her own business gathering berries or what have you when out of nowhere lumbers some huge predator. If she can get it in gear in a nanosecond to leap over the river or hot foot it away, she's got a much better chance of surviving long enough to pass her genes down through the ages until they land smack dab in the middle of me. The problem is that I seem to have gotten my entire generation's share of instant energy production and I can't figure out how to share the wealth. It's like having 100 fabulously cooked lobsters and no refrigerator or friends. You will be sick to death long before you manage to eat them all, they will stink up the place unless you get rid of what you can't use, and you will still be hungry tomorrow.

I'm at DEFCON 14, adrenaline pouring out of my ears, hands shaking, all senses ramped up - hyperfocused on everything and there's nothing immediate I can do. What I'm facing is a legal struggle that could take weeks if not months. I'm here to tell you that adrenaline is not a useful substance for a weeks or months long effort!! Even finding a lawyer is a process drawn out over days as I make calls, leave messages, and wait for return calls. There is only so much Googling that adrenaline will let me do. Cleaning is the same. It works for a while but my insides know that scrubbing the shower is not a concrete step towards being done with this threat. Hanging out with the kids is great because it grounds me in what I want (ie my family to get to stay together) and it uses up the right kind of energy to pay attention to them (as they are usually all going in different directions at once.) Soothing though it may be for me, there is only so much mom teenage boys should have to put up with. It should also be noted that hanging out with your kids involves doing what THEY want to do. There is only so much Job For Cowboy I can listen to or Full Metal Alchemist I can watch before it's not so soothing anymore.

What I'm learning (or re-learning or remembering) is that converting all this adrenaline overdrive into a steadier, more long-term energy base takes being kind to myself. In some ways it seems counter-intuitive to focus on myself when what I want to do is pour my whole being out into fixing the "problem". But when I pay close attention to my daily care, when I skip nothing - that's when I feel more centered, calmer, quieter and stronger inside. It's not that I think washing my face, taking my vitamins, and pumicing my heels is a secret recipe guaranteeing my success. It's just that the little routines give me structure and out of that structure comes the energy I use to follow the bigger routines that in turn fuel the care I provide for my family. Being thorough and gentle in small ways gives me confidence and clarity in big ways. Amazingly mundane stuff that. But magic nonetheless.

1 comment:

JTM said...

Lately, I find myself analyzing and contemplating my own custody woes over and over. I'll ask myself (or St. Ann) hypothetical questions and dream up possible outcomes, both good and bad. I make lists of things I need to do that might help my case. I write email after email to my lawyer, to St. Ann, to CB, to my kids...most of which die an uneventful death in the recycle bin on my desktop.

I have to catch myself doing this. And then I have to stop me. Sometimes the over-contemplating, over-thinking, and over-googling just makes things seem worse than they are. Have a little faith that things will work out, that's the only thing that keeps me going lately.

We love you guys. We know it will all turn out fine.