Saturday, March 14, 2009

Expansion and Over-Extension:not the same

Insomnia, like jetlag, is a state I enjoy -- I work a lot of shit out in the middle of the night, when I can't sleep. It might be that I can't sleep because I have a lot of shit to work out. Either way, it tends to work out for me to have those long stretches alone in my head while Joe and Jasper dream on. As a Type-A personality, I have to admit that I basically need sleeplessness as a way to stay on top of things. [The only thing better was the brief period when I was hyperthyroid and only slept 4 hours a night, the other 20 being filled with almost-manic productivity and genius ideas, a month-long multitasking non-stop orgasm of accomplishment. But I digress...]

So at 3am this morning I began to realize that it's pretty easy to confuse expansion and over-extension. I've been focused on expansion for some time, really trying to bring this quality from yoga to the rest of my life. Expansion happens from the core, is connected to a solid center, unlike over-extension, which is more of a damn-the-torpedoes, let's-just-go-for-it-and-worry-about-it-later approach. Which is what our economy and news are all about right now, as we experience the sorry outcome of an over-reliance on credit and magical thinking about money.

And I am no exception! I did a lot of over-extending last year and have been continuing it recently, most especially as I was trying to figure out what to do, what my role was supposed to be, vis a vis Carla's cancer. This past week I was in such a funk, just freaked out about money and family issues. Really sucked to feel so low for a whole week. Fortunately, I pretty much hit bottom yesterday and then got mad. Which helped me realize what was happening. A few handstands later, and I had it worked out of my system, but it took me until 4:30am today to really GET it.

Re the money: yes, there's no way we could have anticipated the extent to which the economy was going to pull the rug out from under Joe's business, but did we really need to over-compensate for no vacation in 2007 with TWO vacations in 2008 (Oaxaca; France, Italy)? That was ridiculous. And I will admit that I didn't hesitate to buy myself pretty much whatever I wanted in 2007 and 2008, when I should have been more thoughtful about squirreling money away for the rainy day that inevitably comes. I am trying to get comfortable with how over-extended we are financially right now, and sticking to my plan of how to get us back to some state of comfort at some point in the near future. But for right now, I am sitting with my own responsibility for what's going on. Not blaming, just sitting.

Re my sister: I remembered something that a wise person once said to me when I was complaining about how I wanted to prove to someone who didn't like me that I really wasn't all that bad. This wise woman (by the name of Phyllis, by the way) said, "You know, you really just need to stay on your own side of the street." In other words, don't make it your business that this person doesn't like you. Just keep walking and let them do their own thing on their side of the street. Clear. In trying to figure out how to act toward Carla in the cancer diagnosis, how to have a relationship when we haven't had one for years, I was definitely not sticking to my piece of sidewalk and that's what has been making me so miserable. I'm not going to extend myself where I don't belong. I'll just stay here where I am and wait. It might come and it might not. I'm OK with that, on my sunny piece of street.

Expansion happens when there is simultaneously a sense of boundedness, of a container. This crazy over-extension is another matter altogether, a reckless thoughtless flying-outward in which it is so easy to get hurt. It's a losing of self and sense that might be satisfying momentarily but comes back to bite. What a great reminder - thanks, insomnia!

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