Don’t Lose Sight of Your Feet

Tomorrow I find out where I will be, live, and do next year. I, and thousands of other PhD Psychology students will log-in at 10AM to see if we have been chosen for internship-it’s APPIC Match Day. Akin to the ultimate “on-line dating swipe”, only this you commit to for a year, under contract. I may get one of three choices, and I may not get any of my choices. I could, once again, have to apply and wait on an interview then on a match. My fate tossed back into a pool of the unchosen. Even then, nothing is guaranteed, I may not match at all. Then there’s life. It could happen, and who knows what might be the consequence.
I think, in a different time I would have been riding the emotional roller coaster: losing sleep, grinding teeth, and fretting over what could or might be. I may have turned to medication to soothe my nerves and to help me sleep, or spent hours chewing off the ears of friends. I’m surprised, I’ve done none of that. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have an anxious or spiraling moment. The day I made my rankings, I fell apart. It was a week when so many universal life forces merged, making me feel so small and insignificant. I felt as though life continued to move forward all around me, yet I stood there, attempting to wade through the quicksand. It would be easy to drown, if not for the support of friends and my deep sense of knowing, that this feeling is usually temporary. Noticing my distress, a dear friend called upon me to offer a space to process. He said, “You can’t get caught up in all of that, you know where you are. You are right here, now. Don’t lose sight of your feet. If you do that, you’re sure to fall.” This is being present, being mindful. It’s not easy.
Does this mean we can’t plan ahead? Does this mean we shouldn’t look back and learn from our mistakes? It means just this-be here now. Learn from history, but don’t beat yourself up over the stuff you can’t change. Be proactive in the now, put safeguards in place. Plan FOR the future, but don’t plan ON the future. When our focus is too dialed into future, we lose sight of our surroundings, of our feet. We close ourselves off to possibilities all around us. We are reminded time and time again that absolutely NOTHING in life is certain-besides right here and now. Be present, be aware, be open.
*Shout out to friends and family for sticking it through and supporting me on this wild and crazy rollercoaster of a ride to doctor. Especially to my circle, for making togetherness happen, so much love for you all.

Patience Practice.

We live in a world where fast isn’t fast enough. We get annoyed when we choose the “slow lane” at the grocery store, bank, or on the highway. We get impatient when the drive thru takes more than two minutes. We can order our meals, groceries, prescriptions, and therapy all on-line. When we call someone, we expect them to pick up. Social media allows us instant access to other people’s lives and sharing our lives with others.

All this said, it’s no surprise that we expect instant gratification in most everything we do. We’ve been conditioned to expect it easy, and to expect it now. Too many of us give up when the going gets tough instead of plowing through and sitting in the space of struggle. Why?

We have medicine and psychology giving us two vastly different messages. One-take this pill to help you feel better, sleep better, be better, focus better, eat better; and the other go to therapy, meditate, be mindful, try essential oils, be more self-aware, do yoga. The first is the quick fix, the second is the slow and practiced.

I’ll be the first to admit when I try something new, I want it to be easy, and to work right away. When it doesn’t happen, I feel frustrated or embarrassed. I don’t want to spend all of that time immersed in feelings of angst or frustration. I want to take the detour around all of the feelings and be happy with the end product. Like…a magic wand…Taadaaaa! Where’s my fairy godmother?

But, alas, this is not how life works. Sure, some are gifted with extraordinary talent, but most of us (and even those with gifts) must practice in order to facilitate growth. The pacing, roadblocks, struggle, and backwards steps can be torturous to our ego and our sense of control. The most important thing to remember when we find ourselves in those situations is to be mindful of the present. Take note of where you began, and where you are now, the progress might be slow, but there is progress-even if it’s difficult to notice at first. Perhaps you need to reassess or change your approach, but giving up is backwards movement. Failure and struggle lead to learning, and are important for building new connections in your brain that facilitate success.

Want to be better organized? Practice. Want to feel more confident? Practice. Want to be a better public speaker? Practice. Want to be a better listener? Practice. Want to ace that interview? Practice. Want to be a better reader? Practice. I think you get the point.

Eliminate these words from your vocabulary, “but I’m no good at…”, “I’ve never been…”, and “I can’t…”, or “It’s too hard..” Truth is, if you really want it, you’ll find a way. You’ll figure it out, and if you can’t, seek someone who can. Here’s the bottom line, when in pursuit of passion, goals, dreams…you’re bound to encounter challenge, struggle, or failure. You have two choices, you can avoid the challenge, back down, claim defeat, wave the white flag! OR, you can look challenge in the eye and embrace the strugs, show gratitude, acceptance, and see it for what it is… learning, growth, and process.

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