When all else fails... breathe, and write a blog.
I had 2 hours between appointments. I had a laptop with me and you’re hard-pressed these days to find a coffee shop that does NOT offer free wifi. “Perfect,” I thought, “I can sit down, have a snack and get a bunch of work done online while I utilize this downtime. It will be so nice to get caught up on some things!” I'd just received a bit of stressful news and needed to tackle it head-on using a website and emails. This was URGENT. It demanded my attention NOW.
And so I sat. And fired up the laptop. And fired up the cell phone.
And- let me know if anything about the following scenario sounds familiar….
-turned on laptop.
-searched for wifi at coffee establishment.
-found it does not have wifi.
-no problem – audibled to cell phone hotspot.
-turned on hotspot, and located hotspot wifi on laptop.
(*Feels smug and satisfied at being self-sufficient- take THAT, fancy Boulder coffee shop).
-hotspot does not work. Wheel spins and spins on laptop.
-bluetooth sync of phone and laptop next (confidant this will work).
-email on laptop loads, but no luck from there.
-email does not load on phone
-instagram does not load on phone
-even FB does not load on phone
-nothing loads. on either device.
Conclusion: I find myself in a connectivity vortex preventing any online activity.
-having just paid for parking to be in this place and enjoying very much this outdoor patio ambiance, I resolve to settle for opening up a word document and… here it is.
So much to be done.
So behind on things I am solely responsible for. No one else is doing them. They will just be later and later. They will wake me up at night until they are done.
Rarely in a place to have 2 hours of “free” time which could be used to catch up.
Instead- the universe forces me offline and into a position where sitting and being and thinking are my only options (or- relocating).
Anyone else? Anyone have those frantic days when you desperately try to check emails, to-do lists, pay bills online, return phone calls, manically get texts answered, and perhaps update your socials…. Except- you lack connectivity…so you can’t?
Connectivity. Isn’t that ironic. My desperation to “Get online” to be productive is the opposite of connected. As I sat and resolved that writing an unintentional blog post would have to suffice as my productivity for this free time, I realized my heart was racing.
My. Heart. Was. Racing.
Because I couldn’t get online and I couldn’t get my stuff done. How pathetic.
I sat for a few minutes with my fingers on my neck vein, feeling the pulse throbbing at a high pace. My Garmin watch informs me that my “resting” HR sitting here is 99.
99! Resting! Sitting. Stressed. Ugh.
Those are heart beats I’ll never get back. Those are heart palpitations that will probably cost me a few days later on. And for what?
I am disgusted. With myself. With technology. With the slip-up into old ways, despite my efforts to be better.
Airplane mode – engaged. If I can’t access the internet then – fine – it can’t access me either.
And so it came to be that this word document bloomed into this unintentional blog post. What do I want to say?
What does your heart rate tell you? What does the tension in your belly tell you? What does the frantic-almost-nauseous – feeling in your stomach, tell you? Is your jaw clenched – do your teeth hurt? Is your brow furrowed? Are you picking at things- like a scar, scab, hangnail, fingernail?
Has it been a long time since you’ve truly felt at peace? At rest?
Has it been a long time since you just sat down and took a good nap -since you slept really hard, and really well?
Allow me to pivot here. On my drive to the place where I’m currently sitting, a friend called me to share some news. Having addressed an addiction in his life head-on, and having publicly shared his recovery and work in the area, he found himself in a position where someone close to him needed his help. On the same addictive issue. He wasn’t looking for it, and he didn’t seek it out – but the universe put him in a position to impact someone else struggling with the things he himself used to struggle with. And while his recovery is one day at a time, and it will be something he will always work on... he offered help to his friend- guiding his friend and holding his friend accountable to recovery.
In other words- instead of running away, he rushed in. Like a firefighter. Like a police officer. While most of us avoid things that scare us, he leaned in to the prospect of saving someone else.
Friends… That is called courage.
He could have said, “I’m busy. I’m fighting my own battles. I can’t help you with yours.”
He could have ignored it. Looked the other way. We usually avoid things that make us uncomfortable, don’t we – it’s too messy, too close.
Instead he tackled it head-on. Because he cares. Because his friend needed help.
… Talk about connectivity. Forget the internet … this kind of human connection is where it’s at.
In this context, I picture the “airplane mode” button on our phones, not as an “off switch,” but rather, an “on switch” – to being fully present.
Airplane mode: On (aka phone off) = Megan fully present & connected mode: On.
As I sat up from frantically trying to get my laptop or phone online, (resolving that it was not going to happen here), I looked up. I watched people around me. I watched a man greet a woman for lunch – they exchanged a kiss and long hug, clearly happy to see one another. It was lovely. It was awesome. I listened to friends chat with one another. I watched a woman pick up a piece of trash blowing down the sidewalk. It wasn’t hers, but she did it anyway. I saw a woman driving a car wave at a man in the street in a way that made me think they knew one another. A few leaves fell on my laptop from the tree above me and I pondered the upcoming, inevitable fall approaching.
Ahhhhh dysfunctional internet…. I see what you did there.
Heart rate: 78. (Glances at “breathe” tattooed on my wrist- intended for moments just like this one).
Super deep inhale through the nose. Pause. Long exhale. Long long long. Eyes close.
Heart rate: 70.
Funny how frenzy and frantic minds convince us that minutia matters.
Funny how constant motion spins us up even more –we become used to the pace.
We are all too damn busy. And it is entirely up to us to make it stop.