Adversity creates the new normal

I’m always the kind of person who is up for a challenge.  To be stretched further, to go outside the comfort zone, yet there have been times when that zone has gone beyond any amount of familiarity.  When that happens, the boundaries of my reality have to shift or else I find my situation unbearable.

Such a challenge occurred this past week.   I had the three children of my partner come and stay in my home over their winter break.  This seems straightforward enough, only here are the details which begin to explain my reality distortion.

For one, the children had never stayed in our home before, let alone spend this much time one-on-one with their dad.

The other factors which played into the picture included:  all of them had been living with their mother in another country, familiar with a very different culture and language.  One of the children has special needs and all of them were in a state of disorientation for several days.  I was also suddenly confronted with an abundance of youthful energy bouncing around me continuously.  I am an only child and tend to spend my days in relative solitude.  So the distortion of what was ‘normal’ and what was not suddenly expanded tenfold.

But like I mentioned earlier, I’m not the kind of person to back away from challenge.

So I implemented the techniques which tend to serve me well:

‘Holding space’ is a normalizing action I take when adversity such as this, comes literally trooping through my door.  Holding space involves not having expectations of how each moment should or shouldn’t go.  Letting go of attaching to the outcome of what you think is going to happen.

Holding space involves letting go of the ego, or, not taking things personally.   Over the course of the week there were many ups and downs when it came to the children realizing how much of their dad’s life they didn’t know.  They had a lot of questions about who I was to them and how I decorate my house!

But then there comes a time when one has held space for as long as mentally and emotionally possible and some other intervention is necessary to influence the ‘return to normal’.

Creative play, in this case art, music and puppet shows were one influence that helped to actively reduce tension and allow for individual voices to be heard in a non-threatening way.

Another influence, and in my observation, maybe the greatest one, was the power of mother nature to ground and reorient everyone at a very basic and human level.

In this case, we all went out into the snow in the mountains and played around for hours, getting cold, getting wet, getting hungry, getting tired, with mother nature quietly creating a blanket of white to clear away tensions, relieve stress, and provide a connection to that which is so much greater than our individual selves.

And so, the week of adversity came to a tender end under the watchful eye of the earth mother.  Her gift produced an unexpected gift of peace from the prior week of trials and tribulations.  And as I reflect back I feel each molecule in my body changed by the experience.

This is a very physical change, in that I am aware I have been stretched to the limit of both my sanity and stamina and now any obstacle that lies before me will be that much less daunting.  I liken it to the great mountains we visited and the snow that covers them.  It might seem like frozen ice that will never change and be insurmountable, and some of that is true, yet, when the warmth of the sun and the change of the season happens, that snow is just a brief memory.

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