Turn a "setback" into a growth spurt!


17 Nov
17Nov

It was 2 a.m. and I was wide awake. The uncertainty of the future was revving thru my brain, with the past weaving in and out of it as proof that bad things do and will happen. Doom kept ringing the doorbell, over and over and over, just waiting for someone to answer.

It is at this point that one should never engage in a disagreement with another human, but when said human sees you are up and you are "in a mood," well, mistakes were made. When you get stuck in your junk; when you step out of your window of tolerance; when the past scars get torn open, we revert very easily back to our old conditioning. Mine is blame.  Certainly someone is to blame for all of these problems I am facing, or certainly I am to blame and I have messed up everyone's life in the process as the world caves in on me. Hello distress, my old friend. Apparently you missed me. Oh, hello ego, you are here as well. Fabulous. This is going to be a very interesting gathering.

So, there I am, having a get together with my ego and distress and in walks my 18-year-old son. At this point, since he was a piece of the series of triggers that threw me into this state, he was good prey. Now mind you, we didn't fight, we didn't scream, harsh words weren't spoken, but when you are in distress, your mind is cloudy, resulting in a different construction of words. In other words, it didn't go great, which only served to throw me further into the pits of despair.

Now, I had moved from a 5 to a 9, with my big toe on the 10. I was going back and forth between shut down and panic attack. In other words, I totally lost my crap, and I apparently I wasn't about to regain it for a little while either. All my adaptive measures, all the self-care in the world, all the things I teach my clients, yep, they weren't working. The cool, calm and collected Angela Miller had checked out and was replaced by a weepy, neurotic, slightly passive-aggressive, extremely dramatic, we are all going to die human that I recognized, but thought was gone.

"Oh Hello. I guess you are back. I guess we haven't settled our differences yet, eh? I guess you would like to come back and create a little drama for me and disrupt my peace and throw me into one big and huge pity party, eh?!" 

"Why yes, that is why I am here," my ego monster replied. "Fabulous, have a seat," I replied. "I don't like you. I don't like you at all, but I'm going to sit here and join you anyways and see what you have to say."

It was all very ugly in my head. Many, many tears were shed. Lots of ugly crying. Lots of blame.  Lots of shame. Lots of doom predictions. Absolutely no clear thinking. My amygdala was in full takeover and my ability to reason or even think a somewhat reasonable thought was kaput. My emotions/feelings were having a party in my brain and they all decided to show up. They weren't respecting covid social distancing at all either. I mean, it was a fiesta in there.

About twelve hours later, I started to clear away the party I had joined. Sleep didn't reset it. Meditation couldn't stop it. The patience and reasoning of my sweet husband wasn't budging it. So what did work? Love. Love worked. I wish it was love for me, but it wasn't. It was love for my son. You see, I had gone back in to clear up our unfinished business. I wanted him to understand, but I was still outside my window of tolerance, lacking clarity, so here we go again. When will I learn?

This time, the tears weren't mine. This time I saw his pain and knew I was causing it. I've seen myself do this several times now when I get lost in a trigger or put outside my window of tolerance. I can't seem to connect to the pain I'm causing myself, but if someone I love shows me that a punch I just threw caused them pain and tears fall, it's over. My mom instincts immediately return. I wasn't sent here to hurt my babies. I was sent here to love and protect them. In an instant, all the fear, all the pain I was drowning in was irrelevant. Love just threw down a life preserver.

We both cried. We both got to a good place of understanding and compassion for the other's perspective. We both regained our balance. Now that I could think clearly again, it was time to sort thru it. Where do I still need to grow? What work still needs done? 

At first, all I saw was shame. I noticed my eye contact was minimal and uncomfortable, always an indicator of someone grasping with shame. I noticed how hard I was on myself. I was eager to jump back into the guilt pool and just swim in it. I noticed my words were harsh and condemning. "You lost your crap. You've had a setback. You aren't healed at all. How can you be a life coach after this?"

However, now I could at least reasonably think my way out of it. I forced myself to make eye contact. I gave myself permission to rest. I recognized my improvements and growth, even when sitting in the muck. I began to see the whole ordeal as a big MRI. My body and mind had just been scanned to reveal to me the dark areas that still lie within. The trauma and grief that aren't quite healed. The work that still needs done. The love I still need to find for myself.

I took the time afterwards to look over the results of the scan. Now, I knew where to go next. I discovered the roots that still bind me. I know the surgeries required and I know that during a surgery, it's best to trust the hands of the surgeon. It's best not to fight them or resist them while they have a knife on your internal organs. It's best to put it in their hands and let them do their work, especially when your surgeon is God.

So, what I initially called a setback, is anything but. It's a growth spurt. It's a healing. It's a revelation. It's a root pulling party of epic proportions. It's also just more proof that love, love always wins.

"A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul." - Michael Beckwith

Angela Miller is an an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.



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