Stuck in Quicksand

Stuck in quicksand. That is how my life feels right now.  If I struggle to try and change things it seems that I just sink deeper. Deeper into despair, deeper into a quagmire. They say when sinking in the quicksand the only thing to do is lay back and don’t fight it. I literally googled what to do if you are stuck in quicksand.

The steps to survive are: 1. Make yourself as light as possible – toss you bag, jacket, and shoes – whatever is weighing you down.  Well we have done that. A friend of mine, just the other night  laughed and said if we have a party it will need to be a BYOC instead of a BYOB – why? C is for Chair. We have tossed the extra furniture, sifted through our belongings from artwork to clothing to nick knacks. We have downsized, de-personalized and staged our house and lightened our load for a quick escape.

Step 2: Try and take a few steps backwards. Easier said than done, but OK, I think we have done that too. Sometimes that step back allows us more objectivity, a little distance, a new perspective and a change in momentum. Step back – reassess is always solid advice.  Done!

Step 3: Keep your arms up and out of the quicksand. Arms up – praise God, wave for help, and try not to touch the things you don’t have any business meddling in. Let go, let God. Trust in the professionals. Not the easiest of steps but it is checked off to the best of my ability.

Step 4: Try and reach for a branch or person’s hand to pull yourself out. Oooh, you mean rely on others, take hold of a helpful hand, ask for help and take it? Definitely not the easiest step for a couple of doers and fixers.  Not a comfortable position to be in but, trust me, we have graciously accepted and appreciate the help of those around us.  Those who, during this hard time, have been there to ease our anxiety, keep us company and raised a toast or two while wishing us a speedy farewell, even when they don’t want us to go. 

Step 5: Take deep breaths! Solid advice. Maybe it should be the first step in all this because it truly is the most important. Deep cleansing breaths. And, while breathing, take in the beauty around us, the smells we take for granted that are native to our current home. Ginger lilies near our deck, fresh cut grass, the salt air. And, as we exhale, take in all that is alive and special of this place. I think I have spent more time this summer breathing and watching the birds and squirrels than I ever have in the 18 years I have been here. Staying grounded is a very hard part of this transition and breathing is key.

Final Step: Move slowly and deliberately. Those who know me well, know I have suffered ADHD my entire life. There is nothing slow and deliberate about me. By its very definition “slowly/unhurriedly” is not my style.  I’m a planner, but mostly I do that because I like to research and it is a way to keep myself busy while waiting on the next adventure. When the time comes to act the first thing I do is throw the plan away and jump in full force. That is how I travel, it is how I teach, it is how I live. For the first time in my life everything I naturally do to survive is simply not working.

I am sure, without doubt, that something will click at any moment. My faith tells me it is all going to be for the best. I believe that with all my heart. So maybe, just maybe, that is why, of all the crazy things God created, he created quicksand as a way to realize we don’t have all the answers. We cannot fix or control everything. Metaphorically speaking there is probably no other way he could get two headstrong, fighters and fixers to let go, other than to put them both in quicksand. Stay tuned to see how we get out of this, shake it off and move forward.

Lydia Pontius