A few weeks ago, I received a subpoena to be a witness in a lawsuit against my employer. I thought this chapter was over after I gave my deposition and had no interesting information to add to the case. The minute the piece of paper was delivered to me, I got anxious. I got panicky. I could feel tears fighting there way to the surface. I took a moment to gather myself. I knew the only way I was going to gracefully make it through this scenario was to have someone be “my person”. I reached out for help.
After a long talk with a boss, I felt more confident. Knowing that someone understood why this was such an emotional journey for me gave me confidence. I talked with the City attorney so they would know if I had an emotional reaction on the witness stand that it had nothing to do with the case. I plowed ahead.
Every day brings a choice: a choice to practice stress or to practice peace. ~ Joan Borysenko
Court was set for Wednesday of this week. On Tuesday morning, I was hit in the face with emotion. I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t move. My husband found me in a puddle of tears. When he asked what was wrong, I didn’t even know how to respond.
First response – I miss Cole (he is visiting with his dad for 3 weeks, and I miss him tremendously)
Second response – I’m not ready for Chet to go to daycare (he will start daycare two days a week in the Fall, and I meet with a provider on Monday night)
Final response – I just don’t want to sit in a courtroom tomorrow.
After a long sympathetic hug and the reassurance that all would be fine, I plowed ahead.
By the end of Tuesday night, I was emotionally unravelled. My husband insisted that I go to a yoga class. I think he pushed me out the door. During that class, a yin class, I sat deeply in pigeon pose (sleeping swan in yin yoga). Find your edge and explore there. Where do you hold tension? What is your response? I had found my edge this week. In the yoga class, I have discovered that I hold my tension in my shoulders. I become tense in my jaw. In real life, I do the same. I find my edge, and I hold on to the tension. I forget to soften these places and these feelings as I plow ahead.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
The court date arrived. I learned early in the day that I wouldn’t be testifying until Thursday. The relief I felt for avoiding the courtroom for the day was quickly replaced with anticipation. I wanted it to all be behind me. I was ready to plow through the whole experience and to be done. I had another day to wait. That night the emotions I was holding on to unravelled some more. My husband once again pushed me out the door to go run. My running coach was waiting for me.
Two and half miles into my six mile run (that was hot, humid and on a trail that didn’t breathe), I found my edge. There was no softening of the tension I felt if I choose to plow ahead. I once again felt paralyzed. A pace that felt easy a week before felt hard during this run. My brain could not let go. I took a break in my run, expressed my emotional exhaustion to my coach and a weight was lifted off of me. I found the softness I need by acknowledging the feelings I was carrying with me. The run back to the car was a much more gentle run.
When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl
This morning I was finally called to the witness stand. As I waited to be called, I reminded myself that I had a choice today. I can’t control the past. I can’t control being involved in a court case. I can control my response to the situation. I am in charge of that. My job in court was to tell the truth and to choose my emotional response. Today I chose to be brave. I chose to be confident. I chose to not be bullied my the suing attorney.
Twenty minutes later I walked out of the court room with a smile on my face. I found my edge this week. I took the time to explore this space before I plowed ahead. I found a way to soften the tension (with a little help from my husband, my boss, a yoga class, and my running coach). I chose to be brave, to be confident, and to let it all go. This chapter is official over.