Stop

East Tennessee has had serious weather last week. Ice, snow, rain and fog, we have experience it all. The town has been brought to its knees and my world has come to a screeching halt. Strange things happen when the course of your routine changes or in my case slows way down. I became disoriented and maybe a little crazy. In the beginning it was great. Since I can work from home, I got caught up on a few things. Then I dove into learning something new, which is something I love to do. It is not necessarily a bad thing when you are learning a new skill, but there is a fine line that I crossed and it became an obsession.

I was happy to sit all day at a computer, learning what I could about this project. The weather outside was dangerous and all my family was home safe. I settled in and allowed the time to flow right on by. Pretty soon one day turned into two and then three. I was making progress but I was nowhere were I wanted to be. Our break from the world could end anytime and I wanted to master this before we had to get back into that rat race of life. It is hard to re-invent yourself while in the midst of your normal routine. There is little room or time for it, so the urgency became stronger with each passing day.

I feel like I am running out of time and I am getting extremely frustrated with myself for not picking this new thing up more quickly and being perfect at it from the beginning. I think back over the past week and all those glorious days of nowhere to be and I have nothing to show for it. I know it is part of the process of learning, but I want something concrete to show someone. Something that I can say “look at what I did” and receive my pat on my head. I do it for acceptance. If the world approves of what I doing then I am on the right path.

Life is easier when I know where I am going. I get into this rhythm until I am forced to stop at a crossroad. I take a step in the direction I think I should be going and the I doubt myself. Fear takes a hold of me and spins me around and around with taunts of not being good enough. I lose all sense of direction and feel like I am wandering lost in the wilderness. I become obsessed with finding my niche and frantically search for it until I am on stable ground again. That is what this obsession was this last week. I was searching for stable ground, a way to get back into a comfort zone, back into a sure thing.

I was so busy that I forgot about the very thing that grounds me, my quiet time. It was only when my attention was distracted by a break in the weather that I regained my senses. I forced myself to go outside. After the ice storm my world had become frozen. The grounds were treacherous to walk upon. The grass was like shard glass under my feet. I had my camera in hand and I was waiting for the sun to appear from behind the clouds. As I waited in that hush of a hibernating world, it seemed like time stood still and I allowed myself to stop with it. I could hear my breath, the birds and the clinking of the ice incased trees that swayed in the wind. It was in that moment I could see that I was doing it again, I allowed fear to  tell me I wasn’t good enough and I had to prove that I was.

The sun came out and the world sparkled with brilliant light. It caught my breath as my garden came to life with a million sparkles, just a beautiful as when it is in full bloom. I focus on the beauty and the obsession lost its hold on me.

I am doing what I always do. It doesn’t matter if it is a new job or a community service project; I completely immerse myself until I am perfect at it. That is my comfort zone, the one who does not make mistakes. I take the mystery right out of the assignment. I conquer it, I possess it and I control it. It’s like a fighting match with my ego, who needs to be the best at everything. I thought I was over that.

That is the beauty of stopping and spending time in quiet time. It gives me that time I need to reflect on what is important and what is not. It is my compass, but it does no good unless I stop to look at it. I am looking now and I can already feel the anxiety melt away. I am going to enjoy the journey and see where it takes me. If I follow my compass I should be okay.

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