Yesterday was the Fourth of July.
It just occurred to me that it had been three years since I last spent this holiday with my family. In 2015 & 2014, the 4th fell on a weekend so I was left out of all holiday festivities. As a weekend night shift worker, my participation has been limited to the pictures my husband texts to me. I try not to gripe about this schedule but the aggravation has increased exponentially over the years. Its now been over 5 years since I’ve had a full weekend off to spend with the family. When I’m off, everybody is gone (work/school). I see them rushing off in the morning or coming home tired at the end of a long day.
For this reason, yesterday was quite special. The kids had no school. My husband wasn’t working. My internship site canceled the supervisory mtgs. We had an entire day to relax.
*You know what I did for most of it? I NAPPED.
*At least until about 2:00 p.m. (((Yeah I know: truly pathetic.)))
In some respects, this means it really isn’t a day off. However it was still blissful. After sustaining a month-long 70+ hour schedule, it was nice to sleep. The feeling of rejuvenation was wonderous. I had no need for caffeine . I wasn’t multitasking, just me present in the moment, enjoying time with family. I’ve since concluded that I can no longer maintain this schedule. Knowing that I can’t quit my job limits my options. Knowing that this internship site can’t reduce my work load, allows me to accept the solution available. I’m in a position of having to find new placement. The key will be not losing my sanity before this quarter comes to an end.
…The burgeoning well of anxiety & depression have since subsided. I’ve relaxed into the experience and accepted that this is the reality of my life for the next month. The pissing and moaning have sinced been replaced with actions aimed at resolving the matter. I see light at the end of the tunnel and am so excited for it “TO BE OVER”
Examining Personal Motives
I have to be honest, as I reflect upon these six weeks of unadulterated HELL, I’m finding difficulty understanding how fellow interns at this site manage to keep up the pace without losing what’s left of their sanity.
Is it that they have a “STRONGER CONSTITUTION”? Or am I just a pathetic “PANSY ASS??”
The idea of maintaining such a crazy schedule, with minimal supervision and constant stress, is INSANE. What are their motives???? I found the answers recently, when I sat down and talked to them about my concerns. The insights they provided, have caused me to reflect a bit. As I move forward and consider my next course of action, I feel its important to examine my personal motives. Defined as your reason or purpose for doing something, motives provide fuel for your mental engine. So what sort of fuel sits in the belly of my being? In order to answer this question, I’d like to stop a bit first and share some personal thoughts on the concept of motivation.
Newtons Laws & The Nature of Motivation….
There’s this movie that sticks in my brain as I write this post. Its titled “Bodies Rest & Motion”. Eric Stoltz, Pheobe Cates & Bridget Fonda are in it. Honestly, I haven’t seen this movie in ages, and wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a favorite of mine. However, it provides an excellent cinematic illustration on the nature of motivation as described in Newton’s Laws of Physics Here’s IMDB’s brief description of the movie:
In his sleepy Arizona town, Nick (Tim Roth) ekes out a living selling television sets. He decides, suddenly, that life has more to offer — and that he might find it by moving to Montana with his reticent girlfriend, Beth (Bridget Fonda). But the day before their departure, Nick takes off without Beth, and she’s crushed. Spurred on by her best friend and Nick’s ex, Carol (Phoebe Cates), Beth takes up with a shiftless, pot-smoking housepainter (Eric Stoltz).
Physics is the mother of science. As such, I believe that psychology should anchor itself in physics. After all, psychology was directly born out of physics. One of the most fundamental laws in the realm of Newtonian physics is the law of momentum. Essentially, this states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion (in a given velocity and vector) unless a force of equal or greater intensity is applied.” (Duvinsky, 2013)
Newton describes laws of motion which allow us to predict how objects respond to the application of externalized pressure. As I’ve observed in my conversation with these fellow interns, we all move forward in our goals based on qualitatively different internal forces.
*I’m in STASIS MODE, after a long journey on the HAMSTER WHEEL, I’ve finally found peace and serenity.
*I recognize that SOLUTIONS can’t be found with the same mindset that I had as I entered into the PROBLEM.
My education is simply a path of personal development. I hope to expand upon my current abilities and interests. I like my job, I’m financially stable, have two amazing kids and a loving husband. I hope to maintain these positive aspects in life through a work / life balance. In contrast, the interns I’ve met are under huge pressures from externalized forces (i.e. financial instability, relationship issues, an unpleasing boss, long work hours, or single parenting). Against the motivative push of these externalized pressures, they are “BODIES IN MOTION”.
*As a BODY IN MOTION, an internal resistance provides a motivate push.
*They are RUNNING AWAY from unpleasurable experiences, they refuse to accept.
*They are RUNNING TOWARDS their preconceived ideas of a BETTER LIFE.
Newton’s First Law.
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. – The Physics Classroom (n.d.)”
I’m certainly not a physicist, so my understanding of this concept is only rudimentary. However, it is worth noting that this law pertains to the concept of inertia. In physics, inertia pertains to the tendency of an object to resist forward motion. In the field of psychology, inertia refers to any internal resistance to change. As my husband noted jokingly, we’ve become very “inert” lately. He’s in a hot warehouse all day, enduring 110+ heat indexes for a full 8+hours. I’m working crazy hours to the point of physical & mental exhaustion. When we get home, we’re completly exhausted,”lazy-ass-itis” sets in & the urge to nap becomes insurmountable….
….However, being inert isn’t always a negative thing, as this example might lead you to believe.
Inertia is defined as the “tendency of an object to resist changes in its velocity” (The Physics Classroom, n.d.)“. This resistance to external forces can be a positive thing if it leads you to a state of equilibrium. In physics, equilibrium is the result of balanced oppositional forces. For example, the textbook sitting on the table next to me will remain there unless I push it off. Unless I do so, the influence of equally balanced opposing forces cause the book to remain on the table. The table pushes it up, while gravity pushes it down. In much the same manner, my body requires a certain amount of rest each day. If the activities in my week require an excess expulsion of mental and physical activity, exhaustion is a result. Stasis sets in as I find myself rushing home to bed at the end of a long day.
I attribute my own STASIS MODE, to a state of equilibrium & DBT-Based Insight….
Much of my early-adulthood was spent “RUNNING AWAY” from some undesired experiencse. I had lots of unresolved regret and trauma that I wanted to avoid. With a head full of skewed thinking, my mind produced bassackwards ideas that only magnified my problems. The motivational pull, as a “BODY IN MOTION”, were those things I dreaded about my life. I sought a cure for those things about my life & myself I which I hated. This was my motivation. However, since these internal forces were based on bullshit ideas the solutions weren’t as effective as I had hoped. Instead, I would end up with the same or worse. There’s definitely truth in that saying: “what you resist persist”…
After many years running on the hamster wheel that was my life, I decided to stop and re-examine why I felt perpetually stuck in the same place despite all my best efforts. What I discovered is that the problem wasn’t so much about what I was looking at but instead how I choose to “look at it.” An underlying pattern existed in all aspects of my life that I needed to wrestle with. A pervasive sense of inadequacy left me seeking validation outside myself. The idea of self-acceptance didn’t occur to me.
*I did this in my first serious relationship, only to magnify my old wounds ten-fold through manipulation and emotional abuse.
*I did this in the aftermath of our financial troubles following my son’s surgeries.
*I did this in when I tried to lose weight or start that “get which quick” business scheme.
Here are a few notable characteristics of STASIS MODE…
*RESISTANCE TO EXTERNAL PRESSURE. Good if it leads you to taking proactive solutions based on self-responsibility. Bad if its a byproduct of rebellion or unresolved trauma.
*EQUILIBRIUM – The object is at rest and not changing its rate of acceleration towards a goal. It is a byproduct of a balanced combination of forces. Internally, I am mindful and self-aware. Externally, I find myself in a good place right now. I’m happy where I’m at.
*CHANGE REQUIRES AN IMBALANCE OF OPPOSING FORCES: Externally, this internship places great demands on me physically and mentally. Internally, I’m becoming increasingly dissatisfied, unhappy & exhausted.
Newton’s Second Law.
Newton’s second law says that acceleration is dependent on the forces acting upon an object and the mass of the object
Force is a push or pull upon an objects causing a change in direction or velocity of movement (Physics classroom, n.d). When the balance of influential forces upon an object change, then objects are no longer in equilibrium. Acceleration of an object’s momentum is produced as a result of an imbalance of forces. In physics, this means the book on the table remains there in a state of equilibrium. Two opposing forces act upon it (the table and gravity). If I push it with my hand, the velocity and movement of the book changes.
As it pertains to my own personal motives, the “how come” underlying my actions is often more important than the actions themselves. This also implies it is important to examine the motives underlying past mistakes.
All mistakes in my life come down to one simple Motivational Error: A refusal to accept myself as I am.
Here are a few notable characteristics of OBJECTS IN MOTION…
*MOVEMENT & ACCELERATION – Internally, your emotional discomfort level rises to a level you can’t stand. Your life is undergoing a state of change in order to remedy a rising discomfort. Forward motion in this sense is somewhat Pavlovian. We move away from what displeases us. We head towards what appears desirable.
*COGNITIVE DISEQUILIBRIUM – A state of mental instability and sense of uncertainty. Developmental Psychologist Jean Piaget describes this as a response to situations that don’t define our pre-existing psychological schema. We find our current tool box of coping skills are ineffective in the given situation. Something needs to change.
*REACTIONARY MOTIVATION – Goals push us forward in an often reactionary manner based on heightened emotions of something highly displeasing. If motives remain unexamined, schemas act as self-fulfilling prophecies, recreating a similar situation down the road. The key is thinking through motives first, in order to attain some clarity.
Newton’s Third Law.
Every Action has an equal but opposite reaction. In every interaction, there is a set of opposing forces acting on objects
What I love about Newton’s final law is it requires so little explanation. This final law of motion essentially asks us to understand the consequences of our actions. The nice thing about being north of 40, is the clarity which comes from life experiences. You begin noticing patterns in your life and see how things are starting to “add up”. From this insight comes an ability to predict the consequences of actions, without having to learn things the hard way….
My mother is a walking fortune cookie….
She has a tendency to sprinkle her parental lectures with idyllic platitudes. One of her favorites comes from the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
While digging through my old blog file ideas recently! I found an old letter by my mother in which she wrote the following diagram. Naturally, it included another quotable platitude: perfect for a refigerator magnet. This letter is dated 1990, around the time I first started dating “IT”. It provides an excellent example of how to discern between positive and negative motivations…
“Loving what is right is different from hating what is wrong and feeling write about it.”
Apparently, when she was traveling for an annual cytogenetics meeting, she saw the quote above on a bathroom stall and decided to write it down. This bathroom wall quote comments on the nature of our internal motivations while also providing discerning guidance. Actions motivated by resistance and self-righteousness are often doomed to fail. On the other hand, embracing the reality of our lives while being grateful for the glass-half full component yields greater chances of success. From this perspective you’re living in reality of what is, rather than the unreality of what is being wished for…..
Hating what is wrong….
“If you hate what is wrong, you just break your heart in the process and end up with a heartache.”
This insight is reminiscent of Linehan’s concept of Radical Acceptance which I discuss in another post. Essentially according to Linehan, suffering is the result of nonacceptance. If you continue choosing nonacceptance, you’re opting for misery over healing. Pain becomes unsufferable as you continually narrate about how it isn’t supposed to be like this. You start ruminating over how you wish things could be. The unreal ideal becomes more acceptal than the imperfect reality of your life. This leads to overwhelming negative emotions in response to what you are wishing wasn’t. You can’t see beyond this to the reality of what’s in front of you. Those things you have to be grateful form are overlooked. The solutions lying within the reality of what is are ignored, you don’t want to go there.
*I used to wish I was prettier, thinner, and more stylish.
*I used to wish for a career & educational background that could garner respect.
*I used to wish for the conventional materialistic trappings of success.
Loving what is right….
“If you love what is right, you avoid, recognize, or accept what is wrong, and remain whole in the process”…..
I’m in STASIS NOW, no longer running on that hamster wheel. The tenants of the serenity prayer guide my life. I accept what is unchangeble, and focused on actionable solutions. This dialectical balance has provided a clarity that helps me go with the flow of my life….