Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition." ~Carl Sagan

If the tone of my posts seems wildly incongruous this month, it is because my pendulum is swinging wildly. I have felt incredibly out of sorts for the past two weeks, unable to sleep well, concentrate, get things done, and so on. My skin is a mess, my appetite sporadic, and I feel a level of exhaustion that seems inexcusable, given how little I've actually done. The problem is, I can't figure out why.

It appears to me that everything I can control is in order: my house, my work schedule, and so on. But the universe seems to be attacking things I cannot control. I've had three specific items go missing during the past few weeks, and these are items that I have not only had for quite some time, but also ones that I am always particularly careful with: my travel coffee mug (hello, this is my lifeline in the morning!), my flash drive with all of my lecture notes and teaching materials from the last three years, and my iPod. These might seem insignificant, but losing these items definitely disrupts the flow of my personal and professional energies. Yes, it is easy to replace a coffee mug. And I did today. But the years' and years' worth of teaching materials is a significant pain in the rear (though I did give the universe the finger today and managed to recover some of these documents in old email attachments). But my iPod was only a year old. And expensive. And I am not currently in a position to replace it.

I am also plagued by an inexplicable feeling that everything is just... off. It's not something I can articulate well, but the best I can do is that it has to do with energy or vibe. My world just doesn't feel right. I guess when people say they feel "off" this is what they could mean. But it's not the same "off" as when you think there's a cold coming on, or you're hung over. This isn't a physical "off." It's beyond that.

There may be various explanations both logical and other-worldly for these and other disruptions, but the bottom line is this: I feel so disrupted, so out of sorts, and can come up with no logical or workable explanation for these feelings, that it is perpetuating a cycle of anxiety, frustration, and hostility. Now "every little thing" is needling my nerves. Because I don't know what the cause is, I can't fix it. And when I can't fix it, I get anxious. And when I get anxious, the skin, sleep, and all other systems crash.

I'm supposed to find peace or the answer in: sometimes there is no answer. But this is not a skill I readily possess. I am a fixer, a do-er. I like congruity, lines, structure... when the lines get blurred, the congruity disrupted, and the structure collapses, especially beyond my own doing, I (clearly) have difficulty.

So, what's a girl to do? Let it ride? Fake it till I make it? Hold my breath and hope for the best? How does one allow the discord of the universe to work itself out without sacrificing ambition--or a healthy amount of sleep?


  1. It strikes me that you are the type of person who will try to determine the "cause" or "source" of the imbalance/"disturbance in the Force" (plus you say as much), so I wouldn't fight that impulse, as it may actually help give you at least a sense of control: you're trying to "figure it out". Even if you cannot determine "THE" answer, you might discover other things that are upsetting the balance.

    Now, this isn't addressing the missing items. Perhaps they might still show up.

    Now, you can always take the approach of the Stoics and try to not worry about those things out of your control.

  2. It's weird, Nicole... Your posts always resonate with me because they touch on things that I am also currently struggling with. So if that's not some weird cosmic interference, then I don't know what is!

    Anyhoo, I have been feeling heightened levels of anxiety myself lately. And I learned something today: we are entirely too hard on ourselves. And sometimes we just have to sit back and say, I don't have control over this, but I'm not dying and this isn't the end of the world and eventually things will get better. And then we ride it out. We can control certain pieces, and those are the ones we should focus on. Deep breathing is a good start, then we can evaluate the thoughts themselves and why we're thinking them.

    I don't know if that helps you, and it's funny how such simple concepts can sometimes evade us, but maybe it'll help in some way.


  3. Bad things really do happen in threes! But really, how is not having an answer peaceful? I've never understood that concept!

    I've been feeling off for awhile myself, like a funk I can't figure out how to get rid of because it wasn't brought on by a specific incident, and I'm still enjoying life, but it's not quite right. So I've decided to take 2 days for just me and my friends and socializing. No work, no drama, no stress. Just me the lake and maybe some alcohol!

  4. Thanks, guys! All of you have valid insight, and if nothing else, simply "getting it" makes dealing with it much easier. Knowing you're not the only one whose brows are furrowed and arms are crossed in childish defiance is definitely a comfort.