“The tragedy dress rehearsal”

It seems that after the sunshine, there are the raindrops and after the raindrops, there is the storm.


I have been in a beautiful flow for a beautifully long sustained period, possibly the longest one so far.  So why today, did my day, my mind and my heart darken with shadows?


Why was there the overwhelming feeling of self destruction and sabotage?


Why did I turn back to review the past and all its murky problems, rather than continue living in the light and bright solution?




On driving back from the hospital after being given the either good or bad news that my ankle wasn’t broken, but that all the tendons and ligaments were badly torn, I decided it was time to stop listening to the diabolical political election debate on the radio and listen to one of my favourite thought leaders.


And once again, Brene Brown answered my question.    A random, pot luck choice found her talking to a room of teachers about how to teach daringly.  Within the first 10 minutes, she had answered my question.


As always, her topic is based on vulnerability, talking through the many components that make up the Big V, the first one of which was joy.  And she actually stated that joy is one of the hardest emotions for people to feel.


Crazy!  When joy is the most uplifting, happy, life giving experiences to feel!


And yet, the moment we feel it, the majority of us find it so overwhelming we “dress rehearse tragedy”.


The moment we look at our sleeping babies or children, the love, pride and joy at admiring them overwhelms us, makes us feel so uncomfortable, we immediately turn to worry about what might happen if something bad happened – like stopping breathing, or running in to the road and we could never look on them again…  As a parent, I am no stranger to this feeling.  This holiday, my tragedy dress rehearsal as I watched them leap and dive in to the sea or pool, was what I would do if I could see them stuck in the bottom of the pool with a hand stuck in a grate …  What would I do?  Dive in? yank their arm off?  Saving them without an arm was better than no child at all?  And in those moments of pride and joy watching their lean strong bodies and blond hair and happy smiles, I turned to panic.


I squandered the joyful moment.  For what?  No amount of planning or worrying would help me if and when the moment of tragedy arose.


I wonder and now realise, that by applying this logic to the joy I have felt with the Big Man and as a family, content and comfortable in the moment and with the future ahead of us, experiencing this joy, like the joy of watching the boys, has also incited vulnerability and threat of loss.


The way I turned the joyful moments turned to tragedy poolside, back to joy again was by being thankful.  Thankful we were here, together; thankful we had a beautiful pool, the sea, the sun; thankful for my strong, able bodied, adventurous boys; thankful.


And Brene reminded me that is exactly the way you can deal with the ‘tragedy dress rehearsal’.   That the moment you feel the chill of the bad thoughts overturn the feeling of joy, you turn it around by seeing the chill as the reminder to be grateful.


So I rang the Big Man and asked if he was free for lunch and felt grateful.  Grateful he was free, grateful I wanted to be with him, grateful he wanted to be with me.


And so I passed through the storm and I am back to raindrops and the sun will be out tomorrow.










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