During my career I was fortunate to work in the same building as IT support. When my system refused to function as I wanted, all I had to do was make one phone call, and a technician would appear in my office in a few minutes. His first question was always, “Have you tried rebooting?” More times that I like to admit, my response was, “No. I didn’t think of that.” So, before he did anything else, he shut everything down, waited a few minutes, started it up again, and more often than not, the problem was fixed.
Eventually — eventually — I remembered to reboot my system before I called tech support, which saved them unnecessary trips to my office and got me back to work much faster.
Annie Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
The trouble is, unplugging is not our initial response when things go off track. We fret and stew and carry on about our troubles. We scurry around searching for solutions. We throw blame indiscriminately at individuals and circumstances and institutions. We burden our friends and acquaintances with our misfortune and inconvenience. Before long our entire world spins out of control — at least is feels that way.
When we unplug first, several things happen:
- We detach. We step away. We remove ourselves from the momentary chaos.
- We get a grip. We can assess what happened. We can check the facts before the chaos consumes and overwhelms us. We realize it could be better but it could also be a whole lot worse.
- We can check our attitude. What are we so afraid of? Why are we so frustrated? Why are we so angry?
- We can determine what, in this situation, is beyond our control.
- We can begin a plan of action for what to do next.
Unplugging first is a learned behavior. We don’t often get it right until we’ve practiced a few times. Even a delayed unplug is better than no unplug at all. When and where and how you unplug are a matter of personal choice. Some listen to music, some head for the nearest restroom stall, some lean against a favorite tree, some take a walk, some go for a drive. The when, where, and how are irrelevant. That you take time to unplug is critical.
Your perspective and your health depend on your practice of unplugging.
Until next Tuesday . . .