I woke this morning, having thought I was already awake, from a horribly frightening and angry dream. Last night I watched a discussion on Insight about anger and the four panelists talked about how they used anger in their jobs from head chef to rugby player to get what they wanted. They even interviewed a farmer who had driven 40 KS to explode at a telecommunications dealer for having their phone disconnected for 3 days (it was reconnected within an hour). The reason I mention this is it may have informed my dream, or it may not.
I was trying to get help. I was carrying my Dad in my arms (he was a baby) and he had stopped breathing. I needed to call triple 0 and I was in a shopping centre where I knew people. Instead of calling out ‘Help’ I was calling their names but they were too busy chatting to hear me. In frustration I grabbed a phone on a desk and went to dial the number myself but made a mistake (I think I dialed 3 c’s instead?). As I was trying again, an officious secretary type pressed the disconnect button telling me curtly I wasn’t allowed to use this phone. I screamed at her over and over again until she was crying on the floor and I woke up mid-scream.
Phew… that was an angry dream. It also resonates with helplessness, confusion and misunderstanding.
But it made me wonder if I am angry below all of this? I haven’t had too many periods of anger. Mostly tears, sadness and a little despair when I do express some emotions but the combination of having a daughter to look after, a busy job (until I changed roles recently) and having people around who don’t listen to me no matter what I say anyway, makes me less likely to express these things and just get on with it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as long as I do acknowledge my feelings from time to time.
It’s incredible, now that I’m here, to realise what a thin line we all walk between health and, let’s call it, not-health.
Just over 3 years ago I had emergency surgery to deliver my daughter (now that’s a whole other blog topic!) but they cut me in half with only 15 minutes preparation and I came out of that ok… I didn’t recover fast – it took probably 9 weeks – of course during which time I was sleep-deprived, emotionally strung-out with my life in chaos, and it took a while to discover I did have a bacterial infection that was sapping my energy also… but I got better. Eventually I just felt a bit tired as normal.
Tired now means something so different. When I first published one of these blogs, a Facebook friend (we all know what that means) said ‘Tired? Aren’t we all tired?’ and yes you are, but when you’re healthily tired you don’t feel like your limbs are going to fall off if you don’t lie down! Like your neck might break under the strain of holding your head up or that you’re going to fall asleep anyway no matter where you are.
It seems that a measly little virus caused this in me, although I know there are many causes for fatigue and many other illnesses that are diagnosed as fatigue.
Recovering after the birth of my daughter, having lost my daily job that gave me meaning and trying to adjust to the new meaning in my life and also wishing my Dad was there to meet my daughter, someone near to me asked ‘Can’t you just be happier?’ He saw it as a choice; just do it; just be happier. Move on from what is not serving you and adjust.
We are human, we are used to fixing things. Feeling hungry? Get some food. Need a job. Apply till you get one. Haven’t got one you want. Get some education. We are powerful, self-propelled, fixers. But we can’t move from one feeling to the next, fast, especially when it involves loss. The common saying is ‘these things take time’. It’s not just sitting there waiting it out until a certain amount of time has passed (think of people who hold a grudge for 20 years), it’s processing, thinking about the loss, adjusting your life and that big one… accepting.
When I first came across Eckhart Tolle’s theory of ‘The Power of Now’ I hated it. HATED! It felt like he was saying everything I’d done till now was not important. I was in a lot of distress at the time and the idea of keeping myself present in a situation that was unbearable was hard to digest for me. I read the shorter version of the book and eventually a few things made sense, like when you’re worrying about the future, ask yourself, what problem do I have right now that needs my attention, that I can affect now?
I guess my point is to this long rambling post, that if you are trying to rally against this feeling, to change it, influence or get rid of it – you are only wasting the precious energy you have. Acceptance is not failure as I wrote about earlier. Acceptance is making the best of it. Going along for the ride… OK we’re going this way now? What are the good bits I can find here? I don’t know the answer to my question yet and what the good bits are but today that’s ok too… because through reading Tolle I came to understand that this is your life right now, this minute. And do I have a problem right now? My coffee cup is empty… better make another cuppa, then I’ll look at the next ‘problem’ to tackle, but it won’t be ‘how do I get better?’ because that is too overwhelming to consider or grasp in one step, it’ll be ‘perhaps I should have a shower?’
And also to put on Johnny Cash’s ‘I walk the line’, one of my Dad’s favourite performers.