I’m here in Tucson. I have a flight out, for now at least. I don’t know if I should extend my stay or go back to NYC. But not out of fear. I don’t operate from fear and reaction when I am centered. I just measure my risk tolerance and proceed. It’s become second nature because I’ve had to rely on my own brain to make important decisions time after time.
I can deal with problems in novel ways. Like the time I flew into Rome and the airport had caught fire the night before. No trains in. The roads in had been blocked. The flights rerouted to France. But I got in after a day’s worth of uncomfortable travel. Got my luggage. Got a taxi with the Euros I’d serendipitously taken out of an ATM in Chicago and made my way into the city. Meanwhile, people were stranded at airports of origin, at airports in France, and at the Rome airport for a couple of days.
I kept my head above water, observed from afar. Solved one problem at a time. Analyzed options. Made decisions accordingly. I didn’t get stuck.
It wasn’t luck. I have plenty of these examples. I’m good in a crisis, as long as I can keep other people’s negativy from creeping into my own psyche. And the only way to maintain strong boundaries is to go in with higher energy and recognize why people are talking and doing as they do and filing it in the “not my business” folder. That is not to be unfeeling. But some people will inundate you, suffocate you, overwhelm you, psychically slime you. Your job is to practice judo and not to let them overpower you. Deflect their energy.
I’m calm right now, partly because I took a Klonapin. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As I’ve discussed before, I think there are good drugs that help sensitive brains like mine tune out the background so I can focus. That agitation can drown out the important thoughts and then your pre-frontal cortex is overtaxed and solutions don’t come. The pre-frontal cortex needs breaks. If you let it rest, solutions present themselves. Self-esteem and a sense of purpose emerges. Imagination flourishes. This is why we have those brilliant ideas while sitting in traffic, while in the shower, as we wake up. If you are gentle with yourself, you can be more. This is not something you can force.
Worry and anxiety don’t bring solutions. They drain you. And if you transmit those energies to other people, some might come to your aid, but you’re not being compassionate to anyone, and you make yourself vulnerable to people whose own damage goes looking for weakness; to serve their need to be needed, to manipulate people, to take advantage.
Fake it til you make it. The cool confidence you emit is the most powerful thing you might every do to impact the outside world. Fueled by an inner sense of purpose, you get shielded by this forcefield. The seas will part for you. People will want to help you. They will want to fulfill your goals. They will connect you with people and ideas and places that will get you closer to what you are meant to be.
“Every man walks his own path, and every path has its fair share of locked doors. You never know who holds the key to a door you’ll need to open one day, so you best treat people as if they are all keyholders.”
—A.J. Darkholme, Rise of the Morningstar (The Morningstar Chronicles, #1)
But that cool confidence only comes from first cutting out the bad, making sure the elemental nourishment is there, feeding it with sun and water, and making it as hearty as possible. Resilient. Persistent. Pliable. Flexible. Renewable. Indomitable. Integral. And not subject to the whims of others.
There’s no magic trick to this. They call it work because it is hard. But, as with any new practice, when you begin to see the results, you will find the motivation to keep going.
The challenges do not end when you start figuring your shit out. That’s not how life works. You have to practice every day. You will fail. You will backslide. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t quit. Just dust yourself off and keep going. It gets easier over time to the point that it becomes easy as breathing.
I don’t know where I am catching you right now. What part in your journey you’re at. But when people tell me these horrible situations they are in the middle of, I find myself smiling. I’ve been there. And one day you will laugh about this. It is the preamble, the preface, the prologue to the you that you will one day become. As JK Rowling said, “Rock bottom is the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.”
I can’t promise you success. But I can promise you relatively better success if you meet each day with a little bit of an impish smile, with a little humility, and objectivity.
This is not a secret recipe. It is as old as time and found in every culture. I have yet to meet more intimate and wise kindred than women who have fallen from heights, picked themselves up, shaken themselves off, and come back from things that would have killed lesser mortals. That we exist is a testament to the fact that you can too.
Here’s sometime else’s advice that I like: