View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soul Feeder Chris Wilcox

I have amazing friends.  I’m lucky for that. The people in my life are all there for reasons that most days I cannot yet fathom because – to quote Wayne & Garth – “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!” At my best, I strive to be so, but it’s at my worst where I question their sanity. Luckily, even at my worst, I have a few who will still tell me stuff I don’t want, but need, to hear, which this week equated to something like “I’m not sure what to name this version of your personality, but I hope, for everyone’s sake, that it crawls back into the hole it came out of.”

I don’t know what I’d dub this personality’s name either. To say that I’m not dealing very well with the amount of stress I’ve been under, even under incredibly positive circumstances, is the understatement of the century. I’ve gained 18 pounds in 4 months, and have been unable to muster a truly enthusiastic moment of “YAY ME!!!” for everything that’s in front of me now. I can chalk it up to the move, the insane project I  decided to do at my house amid all of this, the stress at work, missing the life I had in Texas or returning to a life that I feel less hopeful about – any one of those things is enough.

But – reality is – I don’t want to feel this way. I want to feel happy and grateful about everything that’s transpired.  My friends have all suggested different things – a gratitude journal, meditation, wearing a rubber band on my wrist that I snap whenever an overwhelming thought creeps over me… but they all feel like Things To Do right now, not like Things that Will Help Me.

So I’ve been trudging through the day to day, dragging myself on planes and off again, usually landing at a hotel; however, on this latest trip, I got to stay in the safe haven that is my Denver friend’s home. We’re six months to the day apart in age, and thanks to her persistence in cracking my work veneer with her amazingness, she is one of my best friends. We had a Tuesday night glass of bubbly to celebrate work and the changes that lay ahead, and that left her standing at the edge of the cave in which I’ve been ensconced.

Fortunately, she always brings a light, and leaves part of the candle with me every time (even when, at first, it might look like a stick of dynamite). And the following day, we were graced by Inigo Montoya himself, and he brought a whole new light to the conversation.

On Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to attend an event with her where Mandy Patinkin was the keynote speaker. In his first 60 seconds, he admitted that he didn’t really know what he was going to say to the 900 or so people in the room, but he knew that he was privileged to be there, and so were we.  Not because we all got to see him, or because he got to speak with us, but because we all were privileged to be able to attend a luncheon to benefit the work of a Denver charity. He said something like, “I don’t know why I was born to the life I had, to the parents I had, to the work I’ve been able to do, but I was. And it’s a privilege to be able to be here today to combine all of that to help others.”

I looked at my friend just as she looked at me, and it was one of those synchronistic moments where we knew that there were Bigger Reasons that I was there. I needed to hear what he had to say. I was reminded that messages are delivered by many different messengers.

In no uncertain terms, I’ve been struggling to find joy and have gratitude for what is now in front of me, and it’s manifesting in my being temperamental, forgetful, and empty. While I know it’s because I’ve been treating the Things I Need to Do to Help Me like just One More Thing, not clinging to gratitude has also brought with it a truckload of guilt over not feeling grateful.  Which was summed up best in a statement over champagne Tuesday night: “You know you’re the only one whose not happy for you, right?”

That’s a candle I need to go sit with.