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How to deal with growing restlessness…


How to deal with growing restlessness…


While FaceTiming with a dear friend yesterday, she seemed twitchy, restless. When I asked her how she felt, she threw her hands up in near apocalyptic fury and shoved, “I’m a little STIR-CRAZY” passed her tightly clenched teeth. She began to rail upon the ever-growing length of time that she had been “sheltered-in-place” and that with each new mandate from her state officials, she had felt increasingly more stifled, imprisoned, even suffocated. She went on to express her phone-fatigue, Zoom-rage and how she has dubbed her apartment, “Casa Claustrophobia.” Her frustration was palpable, her tantrum understandable, and one in a litany of those I have witnessed erupt from dear friends during this unusual time. 

It immediately sent my mind, my heart back to a road trip that I had taken with my parents as a young child. I was five years old, and after what had felt like an eternity of being on the road, I began physically fidgeting, emotionally convulsing—rather dramatically—in the backseat. When my mother turned around in her shotgun bucket seat to ask what was wrong, the words, “I’m BOOORED!” leaked out of me in a broken-pitched whine, like a frayed violin bow scraping the strings of its untuned instrument. It was the first time that I had ever said those words out loud, and to this day, I have never forgotten the look that they provoked from my mother’s face. Through simultaneous expressions of mild amusement and fierce certainty, my mother informed me—calmly, but powerfully—that, “boredom did not exist in this household” and, essentially, that if I was feeling bored, it was my responsibility to fix it. 

I may have felt the profundity of her insinuation at the age of five, but it took me much longer to be able to articulate it, then learn how to matriculate it into my cells for subsequent situations. I looked back at my friend, still flustered, on my phone, and could almost see her metaphorical seatbelt tightening as the minivan walls of her own version of a seemingly endless family road trip squeezed like a straight jacket around her. In that moment, the true meaning of my mom’s words offered itself like a sweet, secret stash of red licorice and ice cold Mountain Dew hidden under the backseat.

Boredom, like stir-craziness, is a state of mind. 

And each of us have the ultimate power to change our state of mind. 

It made me think of Nelson Mandela doing his most profound inner spiritual, emotional, and mental work while he was physically imprisoned in a tiny jail cell for twenty-six years. We all have the power to not only embrace our circumstance, but to transcend it in order to flourish independently of any external force, mandate or decree. 

No one else has the ability to shackle our minds, incarcerate our hearts, or tether our spirits. NO ONE. 

It is so important to acknowledge our restlessness—to let our feelings speak, beat their chest—and then take that vital information for what it truly offers:  the opportunity to feel better. When we finally become aware, then acknowledge how we truly feel in the present moment, we automatically sync that vital information with our point of power. And it is only then that we are able to do something about it; it is only then that we are able to take steps to change it for the better. 

Right now, in this unique timeout from our usual daily routines, we have the beautiful gift of time. We have the unfettered opportunity to breathe, quiet our usual chattering minds, and GET PRESENT. We have the brilliant opportunity to focus internally, get in touch with what we are feeling, what we are thinking, and what we most desire. We have the invaluable opportunity to raise our own personal awareness...and from that mindset, heartset, soulset, we can begin to feel better and better and better. No matter where we are in the world.