The summer of growth

Well I haven’t written very much this summer. I have been tumbling around in the whirlwind that is my new life. Ever since the jump into a new career I have been bouncing through many, many changes. I have been in a constant state of challenge both mentally and emotionally. I can’t even really begin to articulate very much of it as much as I wish I could, to even myself. I am feeling very cloddish, in both tongue and mind. The new challenges in my life are invigorating as well as frustrating and frightening. They are a double-edged sword and learning to master the blade in my mind before it defeats me is the greatest challenge of all.

The main mental challenge has been to simply keep up with the brilliant and more experienced people around me. I am constantly playing catch-up and feel that I drag so slowly that I am always in danger of getting left behind. So many concepts and bits of code flow right around me and while I try to scoop up all I can, my synapses can only fire so quickly and my brain only hold so much before it all runs out and carries on without me.

Emotionally I have been dealing with fear on many, many levels. Fear of losing my job, fear of disappointing my peers and friends, fear of being exposed for the simpleton that I feel I am. My confidence is badly shaken and the more I let that slip the more battered I feel. I am questioning everything about how I define myself and frankly that is a crazy place to stay for very long.

I have not been sitting for a while now. I have always found it difficult maintain sitting and I find that the crazier life gets and I need to sit more, the less I do. But I have managed to bring a bit of calm into the storm by recognizing when the flow of emotions is rolling me and just stopping myself to observe. Just taking the simple step of sitting down (sometimes literally) and asking myself “what am I feeling right now” has helped tremendously. When I stop and observe, I also allow myself to have compassion and understanding for the situation. This does two very important things. Firstly I stop the rolling wave of fear/depression/panic from growing and I allow myself a place to feel compassion for and accept that things are in flux and that it is a very normal human condition. Basically, it calms me down so I don’t freak out. 🙂 I have also taken to reading one of my favorite authors as I have time and/or energy for snatches – Pema Chodron. I have “When Things Fall Apart” and “The Wisdom of No Escape” with me in New York now and find reading even random passages helps me gain some perspective when I am trapped in the world of “me.”

So, this summer has been crazy. This summer has really freaked me out. This summer has been the most amazing growth opportunity for me in a long time. While I definitely have “learned” a lot of information and have been exposed to sooo much cool technical information the emotional and personal growth, or at least the beginnings of, are astounding to a degree I don’t think I have begun to plumb yet. I am so grateful for these painful opportunities, no matter how sappy or weird that sounds.