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#5 In the eye of the storm

#5 In the eye of the storm

On my mind

Do you know what your stress triggers are? Can you recognize the less-than-ideal ways you cope with stress? And do you know what activities you need double up on to keep yourself from defaulting to those coping mechanisms?

Next week I'm driving across the country in a three-car caravan with my husband, his parents, and our 20-month-old son. To prepare, we sat down yesterday and answered the above questions as a group so we could help each other recognize and reset when needed. For me, I know that lack of sleep or healthy food and others disregarding my boundaries are big stress triggers. When I'm triggered, I can get bossy, sharp, and withdrawn. Solid sleep, Epsom salt baths, dancing, nature, and time alone all help me avoid my defaults.  

Being a leader is often stressful. Answering these questions for myself has been key to making sure I'm not passing on my stress to those I lead (although I'm far from perfect at this). Today I'm thinking about the power of making sure everyone on our team knows the answers to these questions for themselves and their colleagues. That way we can all help each other stay on track.

On my (home) theater screen

Hamilton! I know I am way late to this party, so I won't rehash what a virtuosic piece of writing and performance it is, but I do want to call out two reminders I'm grateful it delivered.

First, the messiness and magic of American democracy. Our history is full of contradictions and flawed characters but also transcendent moments of selflessness and vision. Hamilton's story strikes me as beautiful reminder that, especially in moments of great upheaval, the courageous acts of individuals can truly change the course of history.

Second, more personally to me right now, the power of writing to bring us back to ourselves, to our quiet center in the "eye of the storm." And especially how laying ourselves bare, telling 100% of the truth, even when it's embarrassing and painful, can shift the narrative so completely that it frees us to imagine a new future.

A Tarot card

The Hanged Man suggests an "awakening to repetitive patterns that bind, limit, and restrict our growth and evolution," in Angeles Arrien's words. It reminds us that sometimes we have to put ourselves in an uncommon, uncomfortable position to shift our perspective and take our next step. The Hanged Man asks us for surrender and acceptance of today so we can move beyond any blocks into tomorrow. In this way, we can escape the maze of repetitive thinking (represented by the squares in the background) and shed our old skin so we can keep growing (like the snake at the bottom of the card).

A question

How can you take care of yourself this week to help you avoid your default coping mechanisms under stress?

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