Disconnected

The other day I was pumped about making a crock pot meal. Have you ever had a sweet potato from a crock pot? Life changing. The temperature had dropped on the first day of fall and I was ready for some warm food and a comfy sweatshirt. It was 69 degrees. That is winter weather here in LA.

Three hours went by and I opened up the crock pot and gave it a little stir. There wasn’t the usual aroma throughout the house and everything in the pot still seemed a little stiff. The knob was turned on low, so maybe it was just taking longer to heat up. I closed the lid and went about my business.

A moment later, as I reached for a paper towel, I noticed that the plug was just chilling on the counter. Well, shit. The power had not been connected this entire time. Which explains a whole hell of a lot. Of course there was no delicious aroma seeping through the kitchen. Of course the sweet potatoes were still stiff as a board. Hard to hit that level of awesome when the darn meal had been disconnected the entire time.

It got me thinking about how disconnected I have felt in my own life lately. I have not felt entirely me. I have not been excited about the things that used to bring me joy. I am not even sure I remember what things brought me joy in the first place. Following negative thoughts like it is my job. Speaking of job… Feeling like an imposter in the workplace and wondering if I am even good at what I do anymore.

I seem to have forgotten the things that I once knew. I have been going through the motions, but have been unable to connect fully to those motions. It has been nearly impossible for me to connect to the present moment for that matter. 

It is like my plug has been pulled out of the wall. And I am just here. Existing. Like a stiff sweet potato, rubbed down in coconut oil,  in an unplugged crock pot. My aroma has become dull and nearly non-existent. And I used to smell goooood.

You know. I thought I would be more excited as things opened back up and people started moving around again. To my surprise, it all felt underwhelming and then it all felt overwhelming. 

I am not even sure what I like anymore. Who the hell am I anyway? Do I enjoy my life? I seriously cannot remember. 

Is it depression? Is it a mid-life crisis? Is it because we are still in an f’ing pandemic? Do I need medication to jumpstart my way out of this heaviness? Maybe it is all of the above.

One person tried to pull the “Everyday is a gift” card on me and I almost threw up. I know they were trying to be helpful. I totally agree that everyday is a gift AND sometimes I want to exchange that gift. Or return it all together. But lately, I cannot seem to find my receipts.

Whatever it is, I know that there haven’t been any wild A-HA moments for me just yet. Which seems a little contradictory to me writing about it.  I guess because when I write,  I like there to be this magical ending. This lesson I have learned through all of the trudging. Some meaning to it all.  Some meaning so that all of the hard stuff feels a little more, well, purposeful. 

Undoubtedly, I can do hard things(we all can) and I also like to know why the hell I am doing them. And it just feels like the last 19 months, whatever meaning is behind all of this, has been doing an excellent job of hiding. 

The one thing that I do know is that I have felt disconnected in my life before. This time does feel a bit more frequent than the old familiar, disconnected feeling. A little more aggressive. But I decided to reflect on the evidence that has helped me to reconnect to myself in the past. And by reflect, I mean, make a list. I love lists. 

Here are some things that have helped me plug back in and get my spark back in the past…This list will be ever evolving as I start to remember and perhaps discover new things that work for me. 🙂

  1. A conscious contact with a higher power. For me it is the Universe/God. Staying in contact somehow. Prayer, meditation, breathing, nature, and writing works for me. (sometimes)
  2. The Present moment. We are given opportunities every day to be pulled from it. Staying present keeps me from future tripping and spiraling down the self sabotage staircase. 
  3. Take the next right action. This helps me stay out of anxiety, procrastination and overwhelm. 
  4. What is meant for me will never pass me by. No sense in forcing anything. Am I right?
  5. What people think of me is none of my business. I cannot please everyone. My best may not be good enough for someone else. And that is OK. Period. The end.
  6. Our purpose doesn’t have to or need to be some big, elaborate thing. Like opening up an orphanage or creating a non-profit. If that is your thing, that is awesome. However, our purpose could be using our gifts in whatever capacity we can in our current situation, at our current job. It could be living on PURPOSE. Living with intention. Each and every day.
  7. Some days just suck. Period. The End. Cue annoying cliché: “This too shall pass.” 
  8. Gratitude freaking works. Not just listing things, but also writing or speaking the “why”. The why allows us to experience and feel the gratitude more deeply. 
  9. Listen to music. There is something to the sounds and the vibrations of a really good song. 
  10. I can feel two things at once. Things aren’t always black and white. I can feel grateful AND I can feel sad. 
  11. Pobody’s Nerfect. That was a bookmark my mom gave me when I was a kid. Perfectionism keeps me stuck.
  12. MOVE MY BODY. Y’all this one is so important for me. It can be so hard, but it moves stuck energy.
  13. Nature and sunshine. When I am out for a walk in nature, I create space in my brain for new ideas and thoughts to come through. I think when we are in the flow with the present moment, that space shows up.
  14. Do something you have never done before. See something you have never seen before. Changing up the scenery from the day to day monotony has been a game changer for me. 
  15. Do things that make you happy. This could be one of the issues. I am not sure what those things are anymore. Perhaps it is time to rediscover or simply discover some things again that make me wanna sing.  Time to try some things out and make another list. 🙂
  16. BE KIND AND GENTLE with myself through the process. Life is hard enough as it is. Self-love and self-compassion are nonnegotiable.
  17. Setting goals has helped me to feel inspired and motivated.

BONUS KNOWLEDGE: I just found out this week, while writing about how I have been feeling, that there is something called “Pandemic Flux Syndrome.” As I was writing about my own feelings, I stumbled upon a Podcast with Brené Brown and Dr. Amy Cuddy. And it pretty much summed up how I have been feeling. It also was validation that we are truly never alone.  Thank goodness others share their stories so we do not have to feel alone in ours!

Read Dr. Amy Cuddy’s article in the Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/08/11/pandemic-anxiety-psychology-delta/

Listen to her podcast with Brene Brown.

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-amy-cuddy-on-pandemic-flux-syndrome/

You know. Maybe the magical ending is that there isn’t one. Maybe I thought the magical ending would come when the world opened back up and we all celebrated together. That never happened. Maybe the magical ending is this idea that we do not have to have it all figured out. Leaning into acceptance and surrender one day at a time. One second at a time really.

Perhaps I am in a state of rediscovery and, yet, another transformation. And those things take time. Like a sweet potato in a crock pot. The thing to remember for me, is to be kind to myself along the way. Now, time to start getting plugged back in…

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