Fran Braga Meininger
The Age of Accepting and Adapting
Things are in flux. Not just in my life and my world, but on the grander scale beyond. With each new development it feels like a series of shockwaves roll along over and around us, followed by a period of numbness and disbelieve as we reconcile a new reality and how we, as individuals, relate to it. How we fit into the broader shift of human development, with all our follies and failures, as well as our potential for growth.
More than once over the past year, I’ve stood in reaction to some disturbing news or recent pronouncement, confused and unsure, as my fight defenses rose up to do battle with the enemy.
But with no identifiable foe, I needed another solution. My old ways aren’t as effective these days. Partly because the adversaries of this stage in life are less external and more an inside job. And certainly, I am facing more formidable challengers than when I was younger and struggling to find my place as a maturing woman. I’m not dueling with others for position and promotion, nor fighting social issues on behalf of others, although, of late, that has become necessary once again. Mostly now, it’s a battle of understanding and internalizing situation beyond my control.
The Covid 19 outbreak and recent wildfires are prime examples. A global pandemic and a destructive natural disaster are not adversaries best faced head on or alone. For it’s not just the logistics of the virus itself, or the need to evacuate and find secure shelter; but the fallout around the fear, loneliness and insecurity that followed along behind the threat of seriously illness, death and losing my home. I had to educate myself, assimilate the information, sorting out what was true for me, and manage the risk. I had to acquiesce to those with experience and wise advice, follow the laws and recommendations, trusting they would be successful. I looked to others and in them found comfort. But not before I was forced to accept surrender. A very new reality for me. I had no choice, my role was to surrender to the situation and wait it out. I had to accept.
As time passed, I realized the pandemic, like many other things that were shifting and causing upheaval in my life, was not a short term situation. Several injuries, forced me to see that my body was vulnerable to its own slow but constant decline. And I had to admit to myself that powering through and pushing harder would only serve to sideline me and keep me from the activities I enjoy most. I had to plan differently for my health, fitness and freedom of movement and learn new ways of being in my own body. I had to adapt.
As a new year opens to an unsettled start, I recognize that it will carry with it many of the troubles I thought would pass by now, along with a few new challenges. I have to, once again, look the situation squarely in the eye and determine what kind of response is appropriate to see myself through.
Subsequently, I’ve come to a new approach, one that has adopted me more than the other way around. I find myself holding my ground, pausing, waiting for the smoke to clear so I can rationally assess what’s happening and how credible the threat. I feel more of an observer than a participant. Instead of jumping into the fight, I’m now watching from a vantage point where I can see, hear, feel and experience the goings on, but sense I am safe, at least for the moment.
I internalize, rather than react. I observe, analyze, reflect and settle. Adopting a calmer position where I can decide what is best for me and how to achieve it. I have finally gained a perspective that allows me to accept and the ability to adapt to an uncertain future and a shifting personal reality, so I can go on as the best version of who I am now, rather than struggling to remain who I was.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say this newly assumed posture is comfortable, but it is less uncomfortable, and for now, that will do.