So, I kicked in my first door today.
Not something I'm proud of, let me say.
It happened something like this.
It was a cold (I mean really cold for Chico) morning where ice frosted all over the windshield of my car. Since I needed to warm up my vehicle before even being able to think about driving to work, I decided to use those few minutes to switch jackets for the day.
I've got a great down jacket that would be much better suited for my walk from the parking lot to the office.
Since I live in a small, 1920's cottage, Steve and I use extra space in our office building (around the corner) to hold additional, and large, items that are not used on a daily basis. My long, knee length down jacket is just one of those items.
The quick walk seemed routine.
Once inside the office, I remembered that one of the pass-through doors to our storage area had been accidentally locked.
And, since we recently rented out a significant portion of the remaining office space, I now had to venture through an art studio to reach our back door. Seriously, from a bird's eye view, this place looks like a maze.
With two full sets of keys in hand, I walked back outside, around another corner, entered the art studio, through their storage space, and finally into our back area.
Only, as I entered this space, the door through which I had entered closed and locked behind me.
No worries, I thought. I had all the keys I would ever need.
Only, out of the 20 keys in my hand, none of them worked.... for any door!
I was now trapped in a 10 foot by 10 foot space with no way out.
There were four doors out of this room, but no keys by which to exit.
Might I also add that this area doesn't connect to the central heat and it was FREEZING!!
I searched for our hide-a-key.
Couldn't find it.
Went to reach for my cell phone.... but realized it was in my purse, in the car that was running in the parking lot just two blocks away.
I was going to be lake for work, and I was panicked that I couldn't get out.
My solution: kick the door in.
At least I knew with my tough boots I could break through the door, reach to unlock it from the other side, get my coat, and exit the building safely.
Just when I thought freedom would feel so good, I broke down in tears.
I was so upset that I had damaged the door, that I didn't have the right keys, that we weren't organized in this aspect of our business, and that I let the whole thing get to me.
These weren't the singular, our-of-the-corner-of-your-eye tears, they were the unstoppable waterfall kind.
Once they started, I couldn't get them to stop!
At least I had the brain power to first walk over to my car and turn it off. Clearly, I was now not in a place to (1) go to work, and (2) even drive safely to get there (the windshield was now clear, but I couldn't very well see through the waterworks of my eyes.
So, I went back to my office where it was warm, and put myself in a brain-integrated posture.
This posture, also known as cook's hook up, has been used for years as a way for the body to reduce internal stress.
Soon my breathing and heart rate started to normalize again.
Surprisingly, Steve came over to check out the damage I had done (since I had also called him from the car to forewarn him about the gaping hole in the door). From my composed space, we talked about solutions, and I even learned how to change locking knobs to passage knobs.
I felt good about our steps to prevent this from happening again, and I was now in a better-feeling space to go to work. We even had a good laugh about the incident before I left the building.
The reason I tell this story is because there really are times where you lose it! You might not kick in a door, but you definitely loose your internal equilibrium.
I think that many times we grade ourselves on our emotional health by how infrequently we get disturbed by the unwanted things around us.
While that can be one measure of our progress, I think there is a more important way.... and it's similar to how we respond to vigorous exercise.
In kinesiology, the subject in which I have my master's degree, you learn that the body is meant to be challenged. In fact, getting the heart rate to rise is an essential part of building endurance. I am reminded of this daily as I hike up numerous flights of stairs in order to arrive on the top floor of the downtown IPM office. I'm out of breath and my heart rate has skyrocketed.
However, the real indicator of cardiovascular health is how quickly your heart rate normalizes after the stress -- after the increase. Because I am in good physical health, I only huff and puff for a few moments.. and then my breathing does return to a slow pace without much effort.
To me, it's the same with the emotional wellness.
How fast can you return back to a neutral place after an upset? And, how quickly can you then tap back into your authentically joyful self?
I'd like to think that I'm perfect, and that the world is all sunshine and rainbows, and I'm unaffected by negatively around me. Or, that I can logically see numerous solutions regardless of perceived stress.
In truth, I'm human.
Stress limits the perspective for all of us to find tangible solutions in the moment.
But, I'm a work in progress.
I'm slowly getting better at finding my center space, and being able to stay there regardless of the chaos outside.
But, I am comforted by the fact that I have some great tools to come back to neutral... and I've gotten much better at returning to that neutral space after a blow up.
The end result?
I'm laughing at the situation... and so are the guys at Sam's Door shop after hearing my story. I'm taking time to relax, and reflect, find something fun and new to focus on.
And, in the big picture, I'm using this as just another way to appreciate the process of evolution that is present within myself -- and all of us -- as I continue to become a better version of myself day by day.
For, in fact, it really is a journey full of plenty of surprises!
Here are some great tools I use to build endurance in my emotional health:
- Healthy Breathing Meditation
- Sacred Space Meditation
- Walks outside in nature daily
- Taking a nap
- Scheduling time each week to do nothing
- Focus on things that feel good each day... and relish them as they happen throughout the day
- Listen to some uplifting audio, such as the AH one on momentum