During the first Summer after Bomb Drop it seemed like everything was out to get me. Peace was one of those ideas I knew was important, but I’d get to it someday.
It was around 5 in the morning and I was running to make my bus connection and fell flat on my face on the sidewalk. When the safety officer arrived at work a few hours later, she freaked out and told me that for the rest of the day I had to spend 15 minutes of every hour laying down and icing. It was pretty bad.
I worked in a lab and was doing something in the hood and spilled—out of the hood and onto my pants. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a 15-minute observed cold shower. You haven’t lived until you’ve taken public transportation wearing two lab coats as your clothing. That was a fun hour-and-half ride home!
I don’t know how many flat tires I had…on one occasion there was something on the freeway as I drove around a curvy area. The others were just random and sudden.
None of this was directly related to Chuck’s midlife crisis; it just felt like the universe was attacking me. I was focused on what to do as a Stander, what was going to happen in the Big Picture of the midlife crisis journey—the general script and then I was really focused on what was going to happen next… I wanted specific predictions about what Chuck was about to do. No wonder I was so distracted that I spilled chemicals and ate concrete for breakfast.
What’s interesting is that this began happening after I no longer felt as though I were having panic attacks; I’d already come to a place where I felt more in control. I’d started to feel more empowered. I’d had my Knowing that gave me full confidence that our marriage would survive this…someday. But someday was in some far-off unknown time and I was still only a few months after Bomb Drop and a few weeks after Chuck’s affair had become physical. I’d gained enough knowledge to give me confidence and hope, but the midlife crisis journey was still in its infancy.
I was on fire! In a good way in that I was motivated and excited to learn and grow, but I was running in circles or in multiple directions or like a headless chicken! Did you notice my use of the word focused above? What an irony. To focus is to center interest and attention. I was too scattered to really be focused with intention and success.
What am I not asking?
It was only my third session with my mentor who happened to be a psychic. I’d never been to a psychic before this, but I was usually pretty good (and became better) at not seeking predictive sort of information. My intent was to use her as my counselor instead. But not with that question. She cut right through to the core. This single statement solidified my trust in her as my mentor.
You’re not asking for peace.
Nothing to do with Chuck, what he might be thinking, where was his head, what sort of accident was the universe planning for me next… I needed to stop. I needed to find my place of stillness and re-center myself. That does not mean I had to quit Standing; it meant I needed to release control. I was thirsty for knowledge and midlife crisis was fascinating to me—it still which is why I’m still here today. But I was trying to use my new-found knowledge to gain control. Instead I needed to be like a 12-stepper and acknowledge that I was powerless.
Another irony: Being powerless is empowering! It’s not about giving up; it’s about accepting.
Choose and Create Peace
Don’t just go looking for peace—it’s not hiding under the rug with an elephant. Create it and choose it. Make a commitment to spend a minimum of 15 minutes twice a day to creating and choosing peace. Your 15 minutes can even be in bed as you fall asleep at night. During the weeks after Bomb Drop when Chuck was clinging to the edge of the bed to avoid me and I was having trouble sleeping, I calmed myself by meditating until I either fell asleep or achieved a state of restfulness.
- Peace-time is not resolution time; no problem-solving during your 15 minutes.
- Peace-time is a gift you give yourself. So, don’t use the excuse that doing the dishes is peaceful, so you can get two things done at once.
- Be persistent. There are no miracle cures, peace may or may not come quickly or easily. Keep dedicating time to it anyway.
Ways to Create Peace
- Spend time in nature, appreciating nature
This doesn’t mean you have to go rural or off the grid. Nature can be a houseplant, or the sky as seen from city or country.
- Engage fully in whatever activity you are doing
Think of children playing, how they are free from the distractions of a cluttered mind. They play with complete intention and attentiveness, fully living in each present moment.
- Love yourself and know that you are loved
- Observe your thoughts
- Practice Acceptance
The only person you can change is you; judgment and control inhibit peace
- Practice Detachment
This is a concept I feel is vital regarding your MLCer, but set that aside for a moment and let’s generalize it. Detach your emotions and mood from the conditions around you, such as the weather or the news. You can choose joy even when the sky is gray and dreary.
- Focus on solutions rather than problems.
Thinking about what you can do, rather than about why you can’t or haven’t enables hope, confidence, motivation and a belief in what you can achieve.
- Foster your connection with your Higher Power.
Actions to Create Peace – Things to do for Your 15 Minutes