Few things stress me as much as the thought of being late. A lot of factors play into this, and it’s probably something I should break down into its constituent parts and scattered it to the wind, but for now, I simply navigate it. So when the family presented a need that crept over into the work schedule, without what I perceive as reasonable notice, I felt an increase in anxiety. When this anxiety surpassed the level of anxiety of calling my supervisor and requesting permission to be late, I made the call. There’s all kinds of fear in calling supervisor, one of which is the potential of being told ‘no’ because in there lies the conflict of work versus family needs and what do I do if I have to make a choice and I choose wrong? I am grateful that my supervisor warmly granted me permission. I in turn, with gratefulness, returned to my family and basically said, I am happy to meet this need. After Herculean efforts to remain peaceful and not engage drama, I was met with: “Oh, I changed my mind.” Basically, you’re free to resume normally scheduled activities.
There is a comedy in play here. Even in Shakespearian drama’s, the comedic element can creep in. ‘Creepingness’ isn’t a word, apparently, but as we get closer to Halloween and I am thinking about some of the more ‘creepy’ aspects of life, I am struck by the synergistic feel of my new word, which may not even be describing a real thing. We all have boxes. Work is over here. Family is over here. Minecraft is over there. (It comes with its own creepers.) Writing time is over there. Things just tend to creep out of their boxes. Family sometimes strays into work box, which requires a negotiation of how to request and spend PTO. Because writing is a joy for me, a release, in order to engage and not fail to meet family or work obligations, I set my alarm for an hour early, start the coffee, and engage in the activity prior to the day’s commitments. Night time is too random to write; besides the fact I am usually too tired to write after everyone is in bed, and well, even if I ignored exhaustion, once I start writing it’s too difficult to shut my brain down, and so I would likely never sleep. Anyway, it seems since designating my ‘writing’ time, family has gotten up earlier to engage me. “Ahhh! You’re creeping into me time!”
Of course, I have not spoken that. If my son wanders into the study, I meet him with love and good morning and how was your dreams and I am present. The wife may not get that level of enthusiasm, but I greet her, too, with love, and patience. But even as I wonder how I ever had time for TV, or reading books, playing games, learning, or anything else, something else is creeping into my mind. What time is it? My joke that always comes with a time question is never ask someone from Chicago for the time because the answer will be: ‘does anyone really know what time it is, does anyone really care…’ And if you think that’s random, you should wonder if dogs can have ADHD. Squirrel! Lunch! Another squirrel! The number one reason I don’t have a dog is I don’t know where I would schedule it in! Yes, these are the creepers intruding on my life. But peace creeps in, too: "It’s not intrusion, this IS life."
Things creep. Maybe this is just because there are no ‘real’ boxes, no clear division of jurisdictions between activities and people vying for my time. Still, what I hear in that is an echo-quote from Logan’s Run, “There is no Sanctuary!” Family life creeps into work, but work also creeps into family life. If pressed, I would have to admit there is more creeping in general than what I acknowledge. The running dialogue of my stream of consciousness is probably one long creep that reinforces my reality as if I only exist if I buy into the hypnotic stream that is tells me I am me. If I am not my tapes, what am I?
Life is all inclusive, no negotiating, but everything is a negotiation. Maybe that’s why Carl Jung recommended engaging the shadows. That’s paraphrasing, of course. More specifically, Jung said: “There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
Engaging darkness is just creepy, unpalatable, but I have noticed, in the rare instances that I did so, I experienced more growth than when I was comfortable. In childhood I had had a recurring dream of being chased by a monster, and when I finally had had enough, and I deliberately, consciously, and a little angrily, said: “If I have this dream again, I will turn and face it. No more running.” This was verbal commitment. Almost comparable to calling a supervisor and requesting flexibility in scheduled arrival. The very next time I had the dream, I also remembered my resolve. I turned, planted a foot, and was confronted not by a monster, but by a friend I had always had but never realized.
I have noticed, but admit this is subjective speculation as opposed to an academic study, that if I hold frustration or anger, then most of my encounters with others seem to be more disagreeable. When I hold joy or love, things tend to flow better. That doesn’t mean when angry a joyful person didn’t creep into my arena, or when joyful, I didn’t encounter someone challenging. Of course, when I was angry, people seemed more likely to engage me with that energy, whereas when I am joyful, the other softened, or simply left my presence as if they couldn’t acclimate. I have had moments of escalating others, and being escalated. I am so human. I have deliberately turned off talk radio and the news. I no longer want to be escalated.
It does seem like anger creeps in easier than joy. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s a base energy. When you dig into the earth, it kind of sticks to your hands. Water is much harder to hold. Sunlight, well, nearly impossible to hold. Sunlight is just best experienced, cause no matter how good you are at photography, that photo you took will always pale to the actual event; it even pales compared to the remembered event, and that memory, too, creeps, and morphs. Considering this paragraph and its perceived direction, you might be thinking I’m about to espouse a philosophy based on energy versus higher vibrations like light and joy compared to earth energy. I was thinking that, too, cause I can hear Yoda saying, “Fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hatred, and hatred leads to suffering.” But, I can’t quite pin it down so easily. Even the metaphors have a creeping nature. 'Meaning' changes with perspective.
I always wanted a logical, rational way of being, but that’s where I have also encountered most of my frustration. There was an expectation that if I’m logical, everyone would be equally logical. Yes, I am not Spock. I have recently been focusing on heart energy, thanks in part to “the secret formula of joy,” a Ted-talk by Amanda Gore, “the Heart’s Code” by a Dr. Pearsall, and hearth math. I am too early in the experiment to make recommendations, but I am noticing a difference in outcomes and satisfaction levels. Endeavoring to be cerebral is a lofty goal, and well deserved, but it’s really hard to stay balanced when thoughts tend to creep! Imagine if a tree had to hold itself upright by leaves alone. The stars sustain me, but I stand on Earth. Maybe I got it backwards. Less brain and more heart. And if it turns out this is really the answer, I am a little mad that it took me this long to figure it out. I’m late! Then again, Dorothy and friends skipped their way to Oz. I’ve kind of just been creeping along in a meandering way. Squirrel!