So…………I haven’t published a new blog in a while and haven’t really had a good reason, just feeling like life has been complicated lately. Do you sometimes feel like that? For me, there have been a lot of unexpected things to take care of, both good and bad, and it seems to have continued to sidetrack me. Part of my struggle, I’m becoming aware, is a notion that once I get a particular focus dealt with, it will be smooth sailing. Truth seems to be that life is just not that predictable. This is not a bad thing, in fact over the past few months, some occurrances that looked bad have actually created opportunities. What I needed to do, I learned, was to handle matters within my capacity and let the rest play out until I could see what was possible. Fortunately for me, none of the things I faced were real disasters, but it’s led me to think about how one faces those. My best answer?…………one step at a time.
“One step at a time” – a phrase we often use means many things. When life just seems complicated and overwhelming, it’s a good mantra. But how do you take one step if you don’t yet know the road you’re on? Imagine being blindfolded and not sure where you are. That’s often the case in the midst of a crisis, whether it’s a relationship that’s in jeopardy, a life-threatening illness, loss of a job, an accident or other unexpected event.
The problem you often face in a crisis is in trying to figure out what is actually wrong. If a situation feels chaotic, your senses are overwhelmed and your logical brain not very effective in sorting through the data. Fear and hurt do some funny things to your mind. You may be reaching for a solution, but what you find is instinct you can’t even really define that compels you to either strike out or hide. When you hear advice, it’s easy to dismiss it as meaningless, impossible or critical. When seemingly nothing is offered, you may feel abandoned or hopeless.
What does help, as I’ve seen time and again, is to allow yourself to feel scared, hurt and lost, to accept that your life as you have seen it may have changed irreparably, and to do whatever is within your capacity right now. This means starting small with taking stock of what is immediately surrounding you – people, resources, and circumstances. Probably nothing you can do will seem like an answer to the crisis, and generally it’s not. What it is, is regrouping, starting to find a base of safety, however fragile it may be for now.
Some things to consider when you find yourself in crisis: Who is with me in this? If no-one is sharing the crisis, who is a stable source of support? In either case, literally or metaphorically, take their hand and sit with them. Let yourself simply be connected to another human being. They may or may not have answers…………that doesn’t matter as much as knowing you’re not alone. What is available to me right now, in this moment, that I can be sure of? If it’s as simple as ground to stand on, a chair or floor to sit on, so be it. If you can take one breath after another, you have a place to start. From this place, there are small steps you can take.
I’m not suggesting a solution to your crisis here. There are too many factors that will be unique to your situation to consider. The steps you take will be yours to master and when it all seems too much and you reach beyond your current capacity, pause, regroup and settle yourself again in what you know just for right now. Then begin again………………..one step at a time.