The Swiss Cheese Remedy

Well, I AM feeling better today, thankfully.  And yesterday was better than the weekend’s funky days, too.  If you read to the bottom, you’ll see why…or at least, what helped.

I’m one of those people who has a bit of trouble trying to just let things be; I usually have an urge to fix things.  If that doesn’t work, I avoid it completely, usually with some kind of distraction like retail therapy or running away.  Running away doesn’t usually help, because you can’t run away from yourself; wherever you go, you’re still there!

That’s why Kevin was such a great partner; he helped me keep it between the ditches of the crooked roads. When I was tempted to wallow, he wouldn’t let me get away with that. When I wanted to try a zillion things to find a cure, he pulled me back and encouraged me to focus on a reasonable one or two.  So in this recent funk, I again turned to him for advice.

What came to me while I was making myself a cheese sandwich for lunch (yes, true story) was that I needed to break this down .. this feeling of being overwhelmed and down and out.  I wanted to figure out if there was a trigger that I could disable for the future.  I didn’t come up with anything specific, but I did have some productive outcomes from my efforts.

First, I made a breakfast date with my friend Diane.  A chocolate chip pancake is always a good idea!  Having someone to bounce ideas off of is also a good idea.  She was telling me about her recent trip to see her mother, who was evaluating options for moving into senior living center.  Ultimately, they mind-mapped what it would take for Mom to feel joyful if she stayed in her own home.  (Key words: feel, joyful.) They then added dates for certain things to be done, and voila! they are already making progress.

That gave me an idea, which became my second step.  I have used mind-mapping and vision board techniques in the past, so I came up with a hybrid plan, sort of.  On March 15 of 2015, almost a year ago, as I was fighting to see a solo future for myself, I had written in my journal what my dream life might be like, what a great day would be like.  I described my bedroom when I woke up, the weather outside, how I would begin my day, who my friends were and what I did for family time, the kind of meals I ate, the activities of the day, my work, etc.  Yesterday I got out a different colored pen from what I had written in, and I checked off those things that I have in place already: getting up between 7 and 8 am, in a spacious, comfortable, calm, restful bedroom that is one of 4 bedrooms in a spacious, comfortable, calm, restful house; walking for an hour with the dogs, not in a hurry to get home to get ready for work; meditating or reading for a while; no commute except to walk down the hall to my home office for work that didn’t feel like work.  You get the idea.  By and large, I could check off nearly all of the things on that list.  Among what is still waiting for fulfillment is the engaged, positive, productive clientele I have in my coaching business, or the financial serenity of a reliable income stream and nice cushion in my bank account.

I decided for now to first focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have.  I headed to the tubs I keep my vision board supplies in.  While I listened to Simon & Garfunkel sing Bridge Over Troubled Water, I cut out pictures of houses with pools and green yards; a healthy looking, active woman; a few whimsical things to enhance my yard appeal.  I spent some time imagining what it would feel like to be in those pictures. I wanted to imprint those feelings.

Then I moved on to the business I don’t have yet, the future that can and will be mine now that it’s all up to me.  I had actually recently done a vision board for a speaker’s academy that I enrolled in. Here is what that looks board

Because I had the time, I spent a couple of hours skimming through magazines, Facebook and Pinterest. I had another fun idea.  I made myself an affirmation slideshow (using PowerPoint) that I can click on and watch any time I want to.  Click below if you want to see that.  (Once PowerPoint opens, click on “slide show” and then “from the beginning.”  It’s not Academy-Award footage, but it makes me smile.  You can guess what the theme was.

Pat’s affirmation show.

The important thing is that taking action, but not too much at one time, helped me push my way forward.  By poking holes (like Swiss cheese) in my funk, I gained more clarity about what I want.  Sometimes it’s productive to help other people so you don’t dwell on your own problems, but sometimes you have to help yourself. I woke up feeling good today.

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