Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rising Above Emotional Whiplash

A couple months ago, I upgraded my computers to Windows 7. I was one of those who clung to Windows XP for as along as I possibly could. The time finally came for me to make the upgrade, and I finally took the plunge.

For the most part it went smoothly, although I must say it was far from easy.

I bought a new laptop computer and set it up over the course of a two week period.

I was preparing to head out for a long business trip, and was pleased that I was on track for having the computer all set up and ready to rock-n-roll.

There was a small physical defect (dealing with the ethernet port) that I decided to have looked at. The defect made it almost impossible to plug in ethernet cables and be able to remove them again. I had a 'work around' for the problem, but decided I would rather have a permanent solution.

I undertook this repair right before I was scheduled to take my niece to the beach for a little 'girl time' vacation. I only had a few days after that mini-vacation before I would leave on the 6 week long business trip.

What ensued was a nightmare I could have never predicted.

I met with a 'mobile technician' sent out by the hardware manufacturer. After he 'worked on' my machine for 3 hours in a Starbucks, he not only was unable to 'fix' my problem, he rendered the computer unusable. It wouldn't start up!

I was devastated. Here I had to leave the next day for my vacation, and I didn't have a working computer. They couldn't get replacement parts to me until mid week the following week - only a few days before I was scheduled to leave on my work trip.

This computer was essential to my work. I needed to have a working, fully loaded (with about 30 software applications) computer to take with me.

I struggled with whether or not I should even go on my vacation with my niece. I thought that perhaps I should buy a new computer and work as fast as I could to try to get it set up.

I decided to go on my vacation and be as present as I could. I must admit, however, that there was a nagging worry in the pit of my stomach the entire time I was gone. "What if they can't fix this computer?" If they weren't able to fix it, I would have to buy a new machine, and try to do in 4 days what it had taken me two weeks to accomplish on my now busted laptop.

My niece and I had a great time. I was able to set aside my worries, for the most part, and have a great time with her.

When the next technician worked on my computer, it was a whiplash experience, the likes of which I have rarely experienced.

First, he thought he easily solved the problem caused by the first technician. He did this very quickly.

I was elated.

Then, he encountered another problem and the machine wouldn't boot at all. This could have been caused by a number of issues, the most frightening was a hard disk failure (which would have been the worst possible outcome for me).

I was devastated... again.

After several pendulum swings between elated and devastated, he finally had my machine back in working order. Although the original problem was not resolved, my machine was back in working order, and I was relieved beyond expression!

This experience, however, really reminded me of just how easily I can be affected by outer circumstances. I was swinging wildly between elation and devastation! Because of a computer!!

Now, it was a serious issue that would have had serious ramifications for me if it had turned out badly. I don't want to minimize that fact.

The truth is, however, that I don't want to be that emotionally volatile. I was actually surprised at the internal experience I went through as this situation unfolded. On the outside, I was fine (well, after the initial melt down in Starbucks when the guy busted my computer). This was an improvement for me. In years past I would have most likely cancelled my vacation, or even if I'd gone, I would have let it ruin my time there. I'm pleased that I was able to go on with my life and enjoy it despite the problem.

What troubled me is the vast swings internally that I experienced when it looked 'good' or 'bad' on the outside. This is the next level of 'work' for me at a spiritual level. I want to be more 'even' in my reactions and remain at peace, no matter what is happening.

There are always challenges and storms in life. We will never experience a time when there isn't something to worry about. The key is learning how to weather those storms and ride out the problems, with as little inner turmoil and outer reaction as possible.

Got any emotional whiplash experiences going on in your life? Look for the balance. Find the even keel! Learn to know at a deep level that you will be OK, no matter what unfolds in your life!