Connect First, Fix Later - How Connection Can Fix the Worst Day
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali Dec 6, 2015
No matter how I try to shift my thinking, sometimes my mind gets locked on the cranky-track and stress takes over the day. In the past, on a day like this, a unicorn could stop beside me and offer me a bag of gold with her horn and I would be irritated by the interruption, unable to see or receive the magic.
Yesterday started out as one of those days for both of us, the day before long travel and twelve days away from home. A bunch of last-minute work tasks got dropped in my boyfriend’s lap and I was scheduled to the hilt while experiencing burning in my cheeks and body from a strange reaction to who-knows-what. We had the perfect ingredients in hand for a blow-up.
We started the day with a community morning OM practice. I dropped into each OM and felt electricity and heat move in my body. I had a productive session of writing Fear Inventory and a somewhat focused sitting meditation. I find doing practices essential to alchemize the high energy that comes with a stressful day, energy that would otherwise turn into bodily tension and racing, combative thoughts. My practices got me present for long enough to enjoy breakfast together and go on my way.
In the middle of the day I swung by the house and suggested we go get food. Both of us tend to skip lunch to keep being productive and then wonder why we bite people’s heads off who cross our path and have wreckage to clean up by the end of the day. As cranky and busy as he was, he agreed to food and off we went.
At the market, I ran into an old acquaintance I’d wanted to connect with since moving to Los Angeles seven months ago but hadn’t yet found. The encounter felt like it was meant to happen and we had a great conversation. My boyfriend was too irritable to enjoy my magical story on the ride home, but it didn’t matter. I felt connected for a moment and partially came out of my funk. The food helped, too.
As we worked in separate rooms, he texted about an hour later, “Would you like to have sex?” “Yes!,” I replied. Did I have a ton of things to do? Yes. Was I stressed about time? Yes. I chose to have sex anyway because I’ve learned that when I’m stressed, my to-do list gets unmanageable and I get paralyzed by overwhelm. In contrast, when I’m connected, I’m more resourceful and less likely to pick a fight or take another’s mood personally. I also get more done in less time.
After a hot sex break, we laughed about how unreceptive he’d been in the car when I told my happy story. We separated with more energy to tackle our next tasks. When I hit overwhelm again a couple of hours later, he saw me frozen in the kitchen and proposed we set a timer and pack together for 20 minutes, which got me moving again. He finished his packing in that time and I still had hours to go, but it didn’t matter. It all got done without us taking our stress out on each other.
I learned that when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, and irritable, I need connection, which is usually the last thing I seek out if left to my own devices. Once I’m connected, what before seemed insurmountable no longer feels like a big deal. My vision clears and I see how to fix what had me stumped, or see that what seemed broken doesn’t need fixing. Yesterday we got through a high-stress day day better than usual by tag-teaming on offers of connection at critical moments when one of us had more space to do so. We even got to have great sex.
(Photo Credit: TheChocolateBrigade.tumblr.com)