Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 6

Today is Day 7 of this blog, but I didn't get Day 6 up on Day 6, so here it is now.   Check out Day 7 next.  It follows up on the Day 6 story. 

Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 6 

The Posture Police Blotter has been on hiatus for awhile and I'm bringing it back with a daily blog that will run from June 20 through September 22. This daily edition will have a different focus to it and the gem in all of this is that what I'm going to be writing and what I've written about posture and the Alexander Technique are all related. Follow along and learn how!

Day 6 - More Babysitting the Bathroom

In my first "Sleeping on Sandwiches" post, I mentioned "Babysitting the Bathroom" as a possible alternative title for this blog that I considered.  Why?  Well, for the past several months, we've been doing just that.  It started with a small leak when the toilet would flush (of clean water in case you're wondering), which evolved into a bigger leak.  A bucket would do the trick, but from time to time, the toilet would flush and just keep on flushing until someone jiggled the handle.  Solution:  Have it repaired or make sure someone is always home.  Repairing it would be the obvious solution, right?  Who in their right mind would stay home to babysit their toilet?  We would!  Why?  Embarrassment!  Embarrassment of what? Of having two rooms full of unpacked boxes, bags, and stacked up furniture being put away ever so slowly one year after having moved in.  Two rooms of a 4-room apartment.  Some "magic " amount of it just had to be sorted through and put away prior to inviting up our super who could actually probably care less about how our apartment looks.  

Due to all of this fear and anxiety about appearing dysfunctional and disorganized that we managed this "babysitting" thing for a couple of months, during which time the tiny drip coming from the bathtub faucet turned into the water running at full force nonstop.  The sound of running water was driving me batty. I was living with a constant feeling of expectation that I would hear the water turn off and annoyance that all of that clean water was being wasted.  Since my partner and I knew that we were going to wait to get it repaired, I took the opportunity of something really bugging me to see if I could avoid reacting to it and just deal with it.  I would feel the urge to react to the water in a similar way that notice I react to coming home (as I discussed in day 2).  I would stiffen the front of my neck and tongue and hold my belly in.  It's like creating a physical shield, a force field around myself to block out unpleasant things.  I had to decide what was worse, the feeling of the "force field" or the sound of the water and I concluded that the "force field" of tension and compression was actually quite a bit more uncomfortable if I really stayed conscious of it.  The stimulus (the sound of the water) appeared to be the clearest source of discomfort, but my reaction to it actually felt worse.

The tricky thing here is that it's really easy for me to convince myself that that sound of the water is worse and to get myself really tied up in a knot and to not even really feel that I'm tied up in a knot.  Once I started focusing on letting go of the force field of tension and focusing on things other than the water, then the sound of the water started to blend into the background of accepted ambient noise.

Yesterday our super entered our far-from-ideal, but "acceptable" home and had both leaks repaired in under 15 minutes.  I surprised myself though.  I figured that I would breathe a huge sigh of relief at hearing the water turn off.  It was pleasant, but I didn't feel an intense sense of relief because I had so diligently not reacted to it in the first place.

As a family, we're constantly dealing with varying states of disorganization.  I often feel tempted to look the other way in disgust, panic, blame my partner for having OCD, and so on.  Thinking like this can freeze me in my tracks and leave me feeling powerless and hopeless.  It's so much less stressful for me to accept what's going on (maybe even smile) and keep working on making it better.

Click here to read Day 7.

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