I can actually “feel” the tension in the tone of her request. “Annamarie, I need your help.” Instantly I’m put on edge and I respond with a willingness to do whatever I can to assist her. Her request was easy from my perspective. All I needed to do was drive to a garden that is close to my home and "hopefully" find something she has lost. She had been working in this garden to get it ready for an up-coming wedding and was already back in her own home that is quite far away. It was here in her home that she developed that sick feeling that comes along with PANIC! She lost her credit card.
You know the feeling: your heart sinks, your stomach tightens, and fear fills your entire body leaving little room for your breath. The next thing that typically happens is a feeling that your mind is clogged like the 405 freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour where nothing can move. You put your life in reverse, backing up through your actions and replaying your conversations, activities, and movements. Forward and back, forward and back. While reviewing the steps of your day you second-guess your memory. Wait, wait, wait- first I did this, then that, no this, then that. Logic gets blocked by panicked thoughts and negativity makes it impossible for productive ideas to pass.
Like an ambulance with red lights flashing, logic attempts to push through the traffic jam to say, “Relax!” If commonsense could scream it would shout to these useless thoughts and say, "Look in the rear view mirror and pull over, I'm here to repair this panic situation." But without commonsense and logic, your mind stops and comes to a complete standstill. Thoughts about the worst-case scenario push to the front like rubberneckers at the scene of a crash. Suddenly your mind is racing forward to conversations with the credit card company. You hear yourself requesting to place a hold on your card and apologizing for losing it in the first place. You rush through the list of people, businesses and accounts you'll have to call to cancel the card. Frustration and self-deprecating thoughts push ahead and arrive before the logic can get to the scene. Instantly, you're impacted by the negativity and you severely damage the positive and confident parts of your being. "How could I have been so stupid? Why do I do such irresponsible things?" Stop! Pull over and let the logic through.
When logic arrives, it also brings an ample supply of oxygen. Commonsense and reason will restore your resourcefulness and repair your physical and emotional clarity. Suddenly, levelheadedness and prudence pull up alongside and align your practical insights. Rolled up in a receipt, slipped into the wrong pocket, or stuck in the cushion of your car seat is where you find the card you assumed was lost. You're flooded with a sense of peace as the wreckage of negativity is pulled to the shoulder. Words like "Phew, Hooray, Thank Goodness and Wow" pass your lips and your shoulders lower to relax.
Panic.... It has no benefit in any of our situations. It will only cause us to crash and burn. No matter if it’s a lost credit card or an emergency of any proportion, Stop! Pull over and let the logic through. Wait until your emotional distress subsides before you let panic take over.
I look forward to your posts and suggestions for future topics (and Monica, I'm glad we found your credit card ;-)