Hammock

Learning New Tricks

I love the week that comes after sending the magazine to print! It is a week that I first rehash all the niggles that have come up in the printing process. I also know that I have a few days’ reprieve. I don’t worry about articles, spellchecking or deadlines.

This past week was a particularly good week.  I gifted myself a swing hammock for my garden. Now if you know me, you will understand that having a hammock would pose a few problems. But I was determined to lay on a hammock in my garden swinging with the gentle English breeze. The problem came after the first time using it. I lay for two hours, even had a little snooze, and all was well in my world.  That is until it was time to get off the hammock. Easy? Who told me it would be easy? Suffice to say, there is a little video that will be used to blackmail me in the future. I haven’t laughed so much in a very, very long time. I ended by crawling on the stones in my garden—painful, and it really took the enjoyment of the rest away.

You would think that after the first disaster I wouldn’t repeat the same mistake again, yet the lure of the swinging back and forth brought me back for more of the same. The getting-off part has steadily improved, and I now have a technique that works.

I share this with you, for the lesson that can be learned. We often find ourselves experiencing moments where we feel we won’t be able to enjoy ourselves, but as we get used to the circumstances, we learn how to navigate the ups and downs of different scenarios, and because we enjoy most of it, we navigate the not-so-nice parts.

We have gotten used to not mixing in groups and have become more insular; on the whole, this isn’t so bad.  Yet some of us had have been left with issues that have developed, where meeting in groups is actually scaring us. How do we negotiate this fear? Perhaps it’s a bit like the hammock. We know we will enjoy being together with family and friends, and we understand that mentally we will gain from the experience, yet we can’t face the feelings we now associate with mixing. Just just like I needed to teach myself new skills for getting out of my new hammock, so, too, we need to put new skills in place so that we can mix with others in a reassuring and enjoyable way.

A few ideas that may help us re-enter the social scene:

  • Have a plan.
  • Make sure that you feel safe in the environment you will be entering (mask).
  • Only spend a little time in the group the first time, you can increase the timing as you feel more relaxed.
  • Explain to the person who invites you how you are feeling, so that if you want to leave, you don’t feel uncomfortable.
  • Go with someone you feel safe with.
  • Whatever you do, don’t feel forced. You know your own limitations.

Let’s all enjoy the summer months and may Hashem keep you and your loved ones safe from any harm.

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