>I haven’t written a blog entry since June 17. It feels like forever and just yesterday. At first, it seemed about “circumstances beyond my control.” My computer went belly up two weeks in a row. My workplace became crazy-busy preparing for a possible state government shutdown (we are partially funded by the state). I was invited to preach and was writing a new sermon (A Message from the Earlobe [PDF])…intentions were good, but follow through was poor.

As the pressure receded, however, I found myself unsure of what to write about. I surfed the web for ideas, but everything seemed slightly wrong. I realized that I was Not Writing. For me, that’s a symptom of declining mental health.

On Wednesday, I wrote a journal entry listing everything that has been acting as a stressor in my life. It was very cathartic. I immediately felt my energy begin moving. It is as if, over the last two weeks, my soul has been caught in a stagnant pool created by the broken branches of each hardship.

Still, I am not quite ready to move on. I have a sense of possibilities… Things unfolding… Things about to change… But they are in the unformed  mist of becoming.

Minnesota’s governor and legislature cannot agree on a budget with which to move forward. Lacking a budget, non-essential state services have been suspended. My internal and external environments are mirroring each other. Waiting for a shift…Waiting to move forward.

I am not known for my patience. This is a hard place for me to be. But, as the saying goes, “you can’t push the river.” I created some guidelines to help me through this:

  1. Keep (privately) venting.
    Part of the reason for the stuckness is that I let the stress buildup occur. It’s an easy thing to do when busy-ness is one of the stressors. I need regular recovery practices and – though I have them – I often don’t do them. This would be a good time to recommit to healthy living.
  2. Connect with others.
    I went into the office yesterday and realized that one of our jobs during the partial shutdown is to sustain each other. I have a supportive workplace so it’s happening naturally. Share the latest shutdown news; describe what non-essential tasks we have found to do; discuss our hopes/plans for After. I need to do this with the more personal issues included in my stress hairball. (Note: If I haven’t done #1, #2 may degenerate into a whining fest that does more harm than good.)
  3. Find humor.
    My family has recently taken to recording and watching “Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza.” It’s creative and funny. Silliness is a good activity during times of waiting. It helps put things in perspective.
  4. Keep picking at it… But don’t only pick at it.
    My mother always told me not to pick at my scabs, but this is different. If I avoid the situations that are tangling me up, they will remain tangled. On the other hand, if I think obsessively about them, I will remain in the tangle. Instead, I have to tease the mess apart strand by strand, taking breaks when I feel myself getting lost or frustrated.
  5. Have faith; spring will come.
    There is something on the other side of this. Something is being born. As a Minnesotan, you would think I would be better at waiting through the winter for the new birth of spring. Nope. I have to coddle myself through it. I have to be reminded:

    “When spring comes the grass grows by itself.” (Tao Te Ching)