Coming Out of Survival Mode

On Sunday, P came home from what was supposed to be a month away from us. I must have been out of my mind when I said “Yeah, I can handle a month with the kids. This is a good plan!” In reality, I lasted approximately 8 days before texting him this message: “I don’t know how I’ll last another 3 weeks.” Shortly after that S.O.S. he changed his flights and a month became 2 weeks.

But in those two weeks, and in the stressful, making-huge-life-decisions weeks preceding, I’d all but lost my hard-won new habits. The daily writing practice, the nightly meditation, the reduced social media time, the “I’m gonna learn to run!” resolve (in fairness to myself, I hurt my ankle)…all of that stopped. I was in crisis-survival mode. After we decided we needed to return to Dawson, to pack up and move once again across the country, away from the support system we’d built in the last 18 months, my brain had had enough. Comfort food, comfort interneting, all of the familiar escapes became large again.

And that’s okay. As my dear friend reminded me one day: “It’s not like you’re shooting heroin. Go on Facebook!” Sometimes we just need to get through it, right?

But here I am, my partner downstairs with the kids (minus one who is playing with a basket of rocks on the bed behind me). I’m not working on any poems because that’s a little much, but I’m blogging. And in the hour before dinner prep begins tonight, I’ll go out for a walk, test out my ankle and hopefully get back to my learn to run program. And maybe just before the bedtime rush, I’ll slip away to sit in quiet meditation for 10 minutes.

And I’ll try to check myself each time I feel the urge to pop in to social media. I’ll try to bring myself back into the present moment, the only thing that’s real, the only thing that matters.

Outside my window it’s beautiful: a few clouds high in the sky, the leaves swelling on the maple trees, sunlight and shadow patterning the lawns and spring gardens. This fills me up. It buoys me in the present.

Even though I’ve let the good things slide in the past month, those foundations are still there. The roots are still healthy. I just need to water them and revive the wilting leaves.


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