Calm… and hope

OK, that’s not the most informative blog post title, but… it’s (mostly) what I am feeling as this week draws to a close. The post from earlier this week definitely reflected my state of mind at that time… but it’s always fascinating to me how things can turn on a dime, shifting my frustration and stress and, well, overall angst to a more positive outlook.

Sometimes, the Universe delivers. And when it does, I feel compelled to say thank you. Plus, I feel like my blog has devolved into a whine-fest, and I don’t want it to be that way. Being here, interacting with those of you who still come by, and getting out of my work-brain for a few minutes, at least, helps to feed my soul. And that is a good thing.

What helped? Well, for starters, having a meeting on Tuesday that alleviated a ton of the work-related stress. It was budget related (no further details required, I suspect) and I had managed to talk myself onto a ledge, imagining the worst. Turns out my “worst” was a bit of an overreaction (shocking… or not… :>), and I found out that things are probably going to be okay. There is still a chance that things could go south, but it’s much smaller than I had anticipated.

Then, I took control of my schedule on Wednesday and backed out of a previous commitment. I don’t do this often, but when I do, there is a reason. And hopefully a good one. The result? Wednesday reassured me that all was not lost, that I am making progress (sort of) both physically and mentally, and that I can still do my job. And do it (mostly) well. To have that kind of day led to a 180 in my mental state, and as a result, my physical state.

Yesterday (Thursday) was what finally catapulted me out of the self-pitying doldrums where I found myself earlier this week. I “had” to go in to work to present to a new group of students who will be working with faculty on research projects and grants. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got to see three of my favorite people in one place for the first time in, well, years. I got to give a fun and mostly ad-libbed presentation with one of those favorite people, on one of my favorite nerdy topics (um, literature searches and the library… told you it was nerdy!). I got to answer questions from engaged students, and make them laugh.

And I got an unexpected – completely unexpected – raise.

That last point isn’t THE point. The big thing that reminded me of why I do what I do was the presentation to the students. But, on the same day, I was also reminded that the school has invested in me, and that they see me as a “good” investment. It’s a large enough raise to improve my savings cushion more than anticipated. And that relieves some of the financial stress I’ve felt for the last year, as I’ve shifted from being a member of a dual-earner-no-kids couple, to being a middle-aged single divorced woman, with one income. I didn’t realize quite how stressful that had been until a bit of it lifted.

It was huge.

I did get some slightly stressful news later in the day but I am holding out hope that things will turn out in a positive way, and that my worrying and fretting will have been for naught.

For now? I’m going to seize the moment, and enjoy the shift to positive thinking, forward movement in my career, and thinking about bringing a tiny bit of fun into my weekend. (More on that, I hope, in a soon-to-come post…)

So thank you for being here. For being such wonderful supporters, even though I haven’t met any of you in person. For being who you are, and sharing your lives, too, which helps to remind me that my world is not the only world. That there are others out there facing their own challenges, and doing it with smiles on their faces. Just, thank you. <3

Leaving you with this, which just spoke to me today…

When I was young, I believed that life might unfold in an orderly way, according to my hopes and expectations. But now I understand that the Way winds like a river, always changing, ever onward.. My journeys revealed that the Way itself creates the warrior; that every path leads to peace, every choice to wisdom. And that life has always been, and will always be, arising in Mystery.


Emerging, with some difficulty

Yet again, my long break from this blog was not intentional.

At first, it was – I left for vacation with my family at the end of July and knew that I wouldn’t be posting that week. But I assumed I’d be here the week after that, perhaps recapping the trip (it was wonderful) or highlighting what I hoped August would bring.

What August wound up bringing was, well, a bit of chaos. See, when I fractured my arm and had to have surgery, I also had to postpone a bunch of medical appointments and procedures that had been scheduled to try to figure out what’s going on with my whatever-it-is chronic illness. And all of those appointments (save one) had been moved to the two weeks after I returned from vacation.

So it was out of the (cool, very relaxing) vacation frying pan and into the appointment fire.

I was barely keeping it together, let alone feeling like I could post.

And I still feel like life is spinning out of control. I think it’s this feeling I hate most – that my prized control is slipping, and that I am just doing things to get them done and moving on. There’s minimal structure to some of my days – which I typically love – but often I find myself chasing shiny objects, and jumping from thing to thing to thing without focusing on what needs to be done first.

Now, I am trying (desperately) to emerge from that chaos and squirrel mind.

At the same time, work has, um, not been easy (let’s just leave it at that for now) and I had some major unanticipated work-related stressors earlier this week. The kind of stressors that leave you wondering whether you really want to keep doing this. It has been a tough few weeks and I’m hoping (desperately) that I am starting to emerge from it.

I just spent 10 minutes searching for this poem… which seems rather apt in this moment. So I leave you with this, and the promise to be back again soon. And I mean it this time. (If, um, there’s anyone left out there who’s still reading at this point…)

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

-Jan Richardson