September is here. School is back on. Autumn is 3 weeks away. This has always been a time of change for me.
I’ve found myself so dysregulated lately, the last week particularly, and I have seen it as another opportunity to explore.
Why am I so stressed out? My daughter is going back to school. My dog is at the very end of his life and is resting a lot. My husband is working from home. But, if anything, my stress should be diminishing immensely.
I know that my daughter has been plagued by unknowns. Which teacher, which class room, which friends, which outfit, which shoes… This is the anticipation of change. What is everything going to look like? This feels along the same line as my unknowns. When will it be my dog’s time? What will the days look like with my husband? What will my routine look like with a more independent child who is at school most of the day? As with my daughter and her questions, I know there are several answers to each of my questions as well.
Change is dysregulating for me and of all times of the year, September is the most drastic. The new school year is another opportunity for ‘new year, new me’ and it is exhausting for someone like me who felt they could not show up and sit with confusion. Change is confusing for me. I don’t know where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to be doing and this is a perfect opportunity for me to fall into old routines… the familiar things that I’ve left behind all come up again because of their predictability.
My first thoughts in the quiet moments this morning were- “I could run a marathon again,” “I could have another baby,” “I could get another dog.” These are all old and familiar ways of being. There was a comfort in knowing what I could expect in these three paths, but I also know that the days for all of them seem to be fading fast… and I’m not sure I want to repeat them again right now or ever. It feels like the easy way out and doesn’t seem satisfying. I’ve done that stuff before… I want something new.
So what to do now. I know that there are new opportunities for me to grow, but I have to become comfortable with the idea of becoming uncomfortable. That confusion and all of the fear it brings up means that I’m somewhere new and that’s not a bad thing. It’s an invitation to stand where I am and look around as calmly as possible. I know that I’m safe. When I am regulated I can find a calm, peaceful, joyful, confident, curious, creative, and delightful way forward. I know that I don’t want the old path, but the new one will bring some discomfort I’ll have to acknowledge and nurture my body through.
I call this regulated new path the Third Path. It’s not what is best for my survival- which tends to be stagnant, but it’s not unsupported and dysregulating change. It feels like this perfect third way that satisfies both my spirit (Awareness) and my body (Survival Ego). It’s better than a compromise because I feel like a compromise seems to mean that both parties are unhappy. I can do better than survive, but I need to remember that to thrive I also need to take my body into account- I can’t ignore my basic needs and survival outright.
This has been a good exploration because it has reiterated that back to school was a bit of a chaotic time for me in the past. It’s allowed me to sit with myself and remind myself that those days are gone, and while my situation is changing, I can guide the ship. I can ask questions and follow my intuition to places full of wonder and delight. I don’t have to sit here and be safe by going back to what was familiar in the past, but I also don’t have to go out and trigger myself with too much change. I’m grateful. This gives me some good perspective to help my daughter out with her changing situation. I know that there is more to her experience than what I hear about, and I can be empathetic without taking the emotions of confusion and stress on myself. This has been perfect for me, even though it has been a bit uncomfortable.
I wish everybody a happy September, and I hope that you’ll be gentle with yourself and explore what it means to you. Is the change that the month brings welcome? Or is it something that leaves you feeling anxious and confused? Maybe if it does you’ll consider that it might be some past experiences coming up for a bit of unconditional love and acknowledgement.