Monday, August 5, 2013

Stay Calm and Carry On

This morning when the alarm went off my mind was already racing before my feet ever hit the floor.  I go back to work in a week.  I am taking a three day mini vacation to St Louis this weekend.  Summer for me is basically over.  Projects need to be finished and preparations need to be done.  There's housework and yard work and laundry and car maintenance and packing and lesson plans and......and the list goes on forever!  I was in a panic.  Why wasn't everything already done?  As I dragged the poor dog out to the kennel and Sky out of bed,  I was berating myself for procrastination and imperfection.  I was telling myself over and over again how I was a failure at life and I should have known better and get busy--maybe there was still hope.  I was almost out of control  when a gentle voice inside my heart said, "Shush."  I froze unable to move until the gears in my head stopped turning.

I put everything on hold.  I sat down.  I started to breathe deeply and slowly.  I derailed my panic attack.  It was time to think and not react.  But when I stopped reacting, it seemed my brain had put on the brakes too.  I sat.  Unable to move, unable to think, my world suddenly stopped.   I was back in the quiet.

I have worked very hard in meditation to get to the place where I can simply spend time and just be with God.  At first the only place I could do this was at church when I was alone but gradually, I learned I could stop and do this whenever I wanted to.  I always initiated the experience.  Today the experience "initiated" me--if that makes any sense--and it caught me off guard.  Shocked at the sequence of events but grateful that I was in the quiet, I made the decision to stay and just be with God for a time.

I emptied my mind.  I allowed the silence in.  I let go.  I slowed down.  And then this thought came into my head.  "Stay calm and carry on."   "Paulletta, just stay calm and carry on."  "Stay calm."
I inhaled the word calm.  I exhaled carry on.  My world that I had turned upside down was back in balance and the panic was gone and my mind began to think clearly.

All my life,  I was one of those people who always believed everything should have been done yesterday.  As a result, I was always "behind" and never did things "well."  I thought myself into failure.  More recently, I worked on this old habit and gradually it had less and less of an influence in my life.   But, as became obvious this morning, old habits die hard and this one raised it's ugly head and tried to create havoc.

I have learned the best way to get rid of bad habits is to create good ones that take their place.  I never imagined that meditation was the answer for panic but now that I write this, it is obvious.  What a precious gift that I have been given.  Thank you God.

And now back to my life....I am going to be calm and carry on.  Everything will be right, done the way it should be done, with no panic.   I look forward to the rest of the day and the experiences to come.
Thank you God.

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