Digging a Hole

Today was a great day for me (and I think for us), though it didn’t start out that way. I really dug myself into a nice hole!

Bradley started whining around 2am because he needed to go outside. This isn’t atypical, but he wanted to go out again at 5am which meant that Scotty’s sleep was interrupted. When I finally returned to the camper, angry because he did not poop on either walk, I had some trouble falling back asleep. It also didn’t help that it was close to 40 degrees and I was c-c-c-old!

This is my third night in a row waking up in the middle of the night to deal with Sir Brad, so I was tired and irritable in the morning. Still, I went through the motions of making Beth’s coffee, taking Brad for another walk, showering and fixing his breakfast of ground turkey, kibble and pumpkin (he eats well) and then some eggs and toast for the humans. Part of me thought, “If I can do things right, I’ll feel better.” Nah. Trying to be perfect is akin to more hole digging.

When it was time for Beth’s 12pm chair yoga class, there was a new problem – the wireless microphones were not working properly. We tried two different sets of mics, but neither one worked. Grrr. After the class, we figured out that a wire needed to be replaced, so we’re s.o.l. for tomorrow’s Saturday morning class, generally her largest of the week. Damn! This hole is getting deeper.

While moving through the morning, I realized that I was angry at Beth, too, for no good reason. I just needed to be mad at something or someone! That made me realize that I needed to have a good conversation with my beloved. It was time to stop digging!

So I said, “I’d like to do some gratitude work with you, today.” Beth agreed and we sat down to talk after a brief biz meeting, deciding what other things we needed to accomplish today. Those included making some new camping reservations and a bit of tax prep.

Our gratitude work has always been one of my favorite things to do together. (I also like bringing it to other groups.) Our structure is to name something we’re grateful for and take turns back and forth, usually for about 15 minutes but sometimes for a longer time if we’re feeling down or we get really into it!

Today, Beth asked to start with a gripe session because she had some stuff she was angry about. I was afraid of her Hungarian-Irish energy, but I agreed to give it a go.

So, we both took 10 minutes to unload some things we were pissed about (not each other, luckily). And there were a number of them to unpack. Note: this really is a good idea to do prior to a gratitude session with our loved one or group. Processing anger is a prerequisite to coming to a place of love!

My gripes started with our constant attention to planning. We’ve been making a lot of progress, getting inspired about the future and working out logistics non-stop for the last few days. We’ve even made some good progress on a new business idea with my sister-in-law, Linda.

Progress is good and I am grateful that we’re inspired, BUT I missed the softer side of Scott – being in nature, finding tranquility and peace and enjoying a good night’s sleep.

I also was anxious about my potential to make money. This trip, Beth & Scott’s Adventure, is a search for “what’s next” in terms of my career,  but today I was feeling some worry and shame about not having the answers to all my questions. The shame came from me thinking, “Beth must be disappointed in me ’cause I’m still undecided.” Not true. Stop digging, again!

That’s when it came to me – I’ve felt this way three times, lately: 1) moving out of our home in Yorktown Heights, NY and arriving in Savannah, GA: 2) readjusting to staying in a home (instead of the camper) in Weaverville for three weeks; and  3) transitioning back to being back in the camper this week. Transitions! Yuck!

This is old, semi-traumatic stuff for me. My family of origin wasn’t very adept at transitions. So, changes bring up GRIEF, a sadness that things are changing and a fear that they won’t go well. Heck, I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago and we’re living in a trailer. That’s a lot of changes and a lot to grieve and fear.

So, here’s the great part: as soon as I had the above epiphany, the black cloud above my head lifted. Given that we’re in the Smokey Mountains, I give some credit to the environment we’re in!

Gratitude session complete, we drove into town, hiked a trail for a while, and got some homemade fudge in three delicious flavors.

Then we came home and did a truncated version of our original plan. We ordered the new cords for the microphones, booked three campsites and now I’m making some time to write. What a day – and it all started with some sour thoughts about Bradley, a broken microphone and a general feeling of despair.

I’m very grateful in this moment that I have the tools to dig myself out of a hole and not feel ashamed that I got there in the first place!

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