Helplessness, Frustration, Fear

  1. What was happening? I found out that our 19 year old granddaughter moved out of the safety of a maternity home with her baby into the home of a much older male “friend” just 10 days short of moving into independent housing arranged through the home.
  2. How did it/does it feel in my body (then and/or now.) I felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness especially since she lives 300 miles away and there was nothing I could do at that point to stop her. I felt frustration because she didn’t listen to any of my “words of wisdom” or take/appreciate all the help those who love her offered. I also felt fear for what the final outcome will be since her mom, our daughter, made similar choices years before and the outcome wasn’t good. I feel a knot in the core of my being and I want to literally scream to release that tension.
  3. What meaning did I/do I give to it? I know my feelings and reactions all go back to our daughter mentioned above. Watching the entire situation unfold is reliving what we went through years ago with our now deceased daughter. The similarities are uncanny. Déjà vu.
  4. What did I choose to do with the energy?…and what happened? I tried to center myself with deep breathing and prayer. I reminded myself that I am not in control of the situation (so hard for me) and that I can’t force her to accept the help she needs. I remind myself that she is not my daughter and the outcome may be different.
  5. Gathering wisdom: I am learning (slowly!) that I am not in control of everything around me. I cannot fix everything bad that happens to those I love. I do not need to feel guilty because I can’t fix these things. That part is a relief! I am reminded that when I fall back into this habit of thinking I can control all things, I am playing God and that is something I don’t want to do! This is an ongoing learning process for me but I am pleased that when I step back and look at a situation such as this at least I am aware and can identify what’s going on.
  6. What do I choose to do now in response to my learning? I can still offer her advice but I need to accept that she may chose not to take it. I also need to accept that she will make mistakes and that she needs my unconditional love and support in order to keep the lines of communication open.


1.  What was happening? Describe the circumstances.

I’m in my car, parking near home, end of the evening commute, tired, not feeling well (stomach flu), and reverse gear does not function. I can’t back up to parallel park.

2.  How did it / does it feel in my body (then, and/or now). Describe specifically or poetically. Include impulse (what I felt like doing). Name the feeling.

I am aware of a heavy, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, heaviness in my eyes and jaw, and the impulse to curl into a ball. I want to hide myself away. Not deal with this. I am so afraid.

3.  What meaning did I / do I give to it? Includes how it fits in a current relationship, as well as recurring past patterns.

I’m afraid of a huge expense, unexpected, slamming into us as we’re aging, approaching retirement, as my dreams for passive income in retirement are in slow motion. Is it safe to drive the car? Can I find a place to park? Will I make it to the dealership tomorrow? How bad is this going to get? What else is about to go wrong?

4.  What did I choose to do with the energy?       … and what happened… Consequences can include how I felt as a result of my choice, as well as implications for others.I chose to problem solve.

I found a parking spot I could just drive into. I sat and breathed deeply, reassuring myself that all would be well. Later, I talked with my wife about what the options may be tomorrow, and how to make the decision. Once we had settled what we could I felt a low energy combination of sadness and humility, acceptance of my limits. Somewhere inside that was a quiet confidence that we would handle whatever came to be. We always have.

5.  Gathering Wisdom: What do I learn about myself? How does the learning fit within major themes in my history? How does it relate to my life purpose? What does it tell me about a specific present relationship? What is unfinished?

Fear is always such a challenge. And I have learned to stay in the present, not to feed thoughts about the future and all that could go wrong, to problem solve and make plans. And then to surrender, to just let go of any pretense of or need for control of outcomes, to trust and be ready and hopeful for whatever comes.

6.  What do I choose to do now in response to my learning?

I’ve taken myself back to the mantra that came to me many months ago: Let it come. Let it all come to you. Let it be given. The more I settle into that, the more welcoming the future seems.