Monday, September 27, 2010

The Fix


Rain, at last!

On NPR's Morning Edition this morning, former Congressman Lee Hamilton told the story of a fellow congressman who said: "When I first came to Congress, I wanted to save the world. After a few years I decided to save the U.S. Later on, I just wanted to save Indiana." Finally, at the end of his career, the Congressman settled on the idea of saving the Indiana Dunes. It's a great interview btw, well worth a listen.

I used to want to fix things. Not just some things, I mean I wanted to fix everything. I wanted to heal everyone. I used to think I knew what was needed, what to do next, in any number of situations. I was absolutely certain I knew what was right. If only I were Queen of the World, I used to say.

As the years passed, my conviction in my infallibility softened, then melted, and has at last totally evaporated. Thank God. Letting go of the majority of my tendency towards being controlling has opened my mind and heart, made me a lot more humble than I once was. What a relief! Living in a mysterious world that unfolds according to rules I am not capable of understanding is a much more interesting experience than the world in which I knew what to do next, what everyone else needed to do or say. Oh yeah!

Sometimes I lapse into a controlling mindset, though not as often as in the past. Just recently I've begun to understand that the sturm und drang of it all - the struggling that people do in their marriages, raising kids, in work and retirement, even with their health - is all grist for the mill. Life has stuff, it always has and it always will.

Of course we try to avoid the stuff, try to resolve stuff - because encountering the marvels and perils of human experience is often very uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful. When trouble crops up, I don't know anyone who doesn't ask him/herself, "Why did this happen? Where did I go wrong? What was my mistake?"

I'm not saying it's a bad idea to try to figure out what leads us into uncomfortable situations, should say.

Wisdom is hard-won, hard-earned. Wisdom is available to every one of us, through the experience of divorce, loss, illness, injury, dangerous situations. Is it possible that things don't need fixing? I heard some sad stories at work yesterday, big changes in the lives of clients I've known for a long time. I don't know how to fix what's troubling them, but my heart is with them as they move through these defining moments. May they be well guided, may each of them discover how powerful, strong and loving they can be. And all of you, too! Shalom.

13 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

Also wondering: where's the line between controlling behavior/mindset and problem solving?

California Girl said...

I was all about control when I was younger. Everything had to be orderly and I worked long hours to cover all my accounts and be a top salesperson and I travelled and I worked out and I ran most nights after work and so on and so on. Having kids slowed me waaay down altho' I had to continue to work. That was stressful in and of itself.

I have had a lot of physical issues over the years, most of which I attribute to stress overload, including adult onset epilepsy. Doctors pooh poohed stress as a possible culprit back then but no longeer.

Now, in my fifties, I have finally learned to accept my fatigue, to take time off and do nothing. I am almost at the point of not feeling guilty.

Reya Mellicker said...

I hope you achieve a state of complete OK-ness with the idea of rest. I do!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Wisdom is indeed hard won! What a lovely reflective post,Reya, and I adore that photograph of the dew drenched flower- Is it a morning glory? Who's that handsome guy up there on your sideboard? Could it be your date?? Maybe I will see you at willow's ball.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cynthia let's definitely meet at the Ball, sip champagne and exchange news, yes? I say yes. See you there!

ellen abbott said...

My sister is a fixer and I am too. Where does that come from? We both have tried to let go of it. I think I've succeeded fairly well. Now I just try to focus on my own problems and let everyone else's slide. My husband gets so frustrated when things don't go smoothly, when 'life' happens. To me, it's just life. I don't take it personally. It may not be fun or happy, it's just stuff that you have to get through.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's not a morning glory - the blooms are 5 or 6 inches across.

Elizabeth said...

Wisdom indeed.
Now, if you and I ruled the world it would be a much better place.
Yes, one has to let go of grand messianic ambitions and just do one's very small bit towards making things a little better.
If ONE of the two thousand children I taught lives a happier life......
or enjoys writing or something.....
oxoxo

Jane said...

It's datura and it's so beautiful!

Reya, your thoughts about controlling life, the Universe, etc. are like mine, but so much better said.

XOXO

ZenMouser said...

Reya, well-said as usual. Ever the wise in perspective and humility.

Generally, life is que sera & live simply so that others may simply live. Yet there's still at lot at stake in the world and moments when groups look at the silence of its members as indicating assent. As I learned in Yoga, "and now forming the intent," I ask myself whether or not it's worth it or called for, then speak up.

O the mystical lives of artisans and poets ;)

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks! And indeed.

Gary said...

It is exhausting to try to fix everything anyway. And who is to say what needs to be fixed. That said I am still on that kick with many of my students. I want to fix the things I can but sometimes try to fix the things I have no control over. I can only offer support which I suppose is a fix in a way.

C.M. Jackson said...

your new found or perhaps, realized (eg it was always there)insight and wisdom helps heal your clients in ways you'll never know--the good energy feeds the possibilities and opens the mind to new roads---keep on doing what you do! mazel tov!