I’m a Little Teapot

I have a strong sense this blog post might resonate with at least a few readers. Recently I have felt like a teapot about to blow. And not just a “boy do I need a glass of wine at the end of the day” kind of blow, but a full on “I am going to scream out loud, lie down on the ground flailing around, and cry for hours” kind of blow. The stakes just feel too high right now. Too much bad news. Too much war in Ukraine. Too many activities for children. Too much social re-entry post-Covid. Too much bad behavior (mostly from adults). And too many emotions period.

When we talk about spring, it is traditionally with wistful words of awakenings, regrowth, and perfect 75 degree temps. But this year in my little corner of the world it has felt just plain intense. No awakenings happening here. At least a few times a week I wake at 4am with racing thoughts. The thoughts can be silly and simple about all the summer sign-ups I need to deal with for the children, the teacher gifts I have yet to buy, and the thank you notes I have forgotten to send. But there are also deeply distressing things causing me to truly panic. In my head I run a constant loop questioning if I have said something while rushing that inadvertently offended someone or hurt their feelings. I am wracked with guilt that I haven’t done anything meaningful to help the innocent people whose lives have been destroyed by the Russian invasion. And I convince myself that all my best efforts of parenting my children well, will inevitably be crushed like a bug when they enter the turbulent and unpredictable years of middle school. Our eldest is already in middle school and that last worry seems to be unfolding in reality quite nicely. Gagh!

I never shy away from sharing my feelings with others, and as I have done so, the resounding feedback I have gotten is that so many people are feelings exactly the same way. While there is certainly comfort in shared experience, I am concerned that so many of us are running on empty, feeling spread too thin, alone, and in need of peace. I find myself wondering regularly how we got to this point. We all said that Covid would be the thing to slow us down and remind us that being present in our own lives was critical. And I certainly felt that way during some parts of the the last two years. But as restrictions lifted this year, and life went back to “normal”, that peace started to dwindle. My theory is that the last two years nearly broke the world. So many were sick, lost jobs, lost loved ones, had zero meaningful connection with others, and were isolated. It stirred up a serious sense of scarcity, and on the tail end of scarcity come greed, fear, and anger. If you lost your job, you might be panicked that you will never get a job again. There is real fear in not knowing how you will pay your rent or put food on the table. If you isolated from others, and people are once again starting to socialize, you might be worried that there just aren’t enough seats at the table anymore and you won’t be included. This kind of fear of not being included makes people social climb and clamor for that one leftover seat in the mad dash of “musical chairs”. And during Covid there was so much inequity. Some saw their lives barely changed, while others literally lost everything. As the world opens up again, that disparity has become abundantly clear. And I think it pisses people off. As it should. But pissed off people get angry out loud. And then others receive that gruff word or honked horn and it makes them angry in return. It’s a spiral to nowhere and I can fully admit that right now I am in the circle, on the roller coaster, and headed downwards.

So what do we do today to shift the energy? I start out by shocking my neurological system into calming down. For me that means deep breaths every time I am in my car and feeling on edge. If I am home I literally fill a tub with cold water and plunge for 3 minutes. Wim Hof has become a mainstay of my life and his site offers up great free resources on the benefits of breath and cold water. We also have to regularly remind ourselves that there is enough. Enough friends to go around, enough time to get it all done (if we prioritize what really matters), and enough love to heal our broken world. We just need to slowly day-by-day move towards goodness. If you see a long line of cars waiting to exit the school pick up line, maybe you slow down, flash your lights, and let them turn out onto the road in front of you. Even if you don’t have a stop sign. Just slow down. If you are lucky enough to have friends or family nearby, another great choice is remembering how meaningful a cozy movie night felt two years ago. Right now there are school cocktail events to be attended, spring sports to be played, and catch up work to be done – but a Friday night in with those you love can be just as rewarding as all those other things on the list. It is about balance after all, and with balance comes peace and calm.

Yesterday I headed to my garden, where I snapped picture upon picture of all that is just starting to bloom. I think I was subconsciously trying to remind myself that if I carve out the time and really purposefully slow down – I can find glimpses of still beauty and peace even in this season of movement, mayhem, and madness. If we look to the natural world to guide us we can once again see that spring is indeed an opportunity for awakening and regrowth. So I invite you to close your eyes, take a breath, and join me as I try to find a place of greater peace and joy today.

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