Tag Archives: dealing with stress

Big Sky = Big Medicine. Really Big Medicine.

The morning passed with fury. Meetings in Oklahoma City were followed by a drive to my campus 65 miles from point A toward…meetings in Stillwater, point B.  Concerns and mid-semester blusters stirred the pot of our academic soup du jour; the odor wafting from this churning fare was neither inviting to the students nor the faculty. “It’s what we’ll eat, because we must,” They collectively agreed through classes commencing and adjourning, research haltingly progressing, activities completed for reasons no one easily articulates.

The day progressed, the halls grew quieter, the chatter in the air sputtered and eventually silenced, punctuated with only an occasional interjection as my building cleared and light switches were pushed into the downward position. The College breathed a sigh of relief as those with beating hearts left their work for another day; its windows watched as the academics filed into the parking lot, engaged their various modes of transportation and headed toward the next segment of Life.

My one-hour drive home was not yet halfway complete when I realized the pain coming from my hands was due to my death grip on the steering wheel.  My white knuckles shined like eight surrender flags to my bloodshot eyes, sending a signal that had taken twenty-four miles to reach my brain.  The channels between my hands and brain were too clogged with traffic jams of Outlook calendars, publications, advisees and search committees to become aware of the beacons being sent over and over: “Stop. Stop. Please. Stop. Stop. Please. I mean it. I said Please.”

My myopic, rigid and focused view of the road ahead of me slowly dilated until it reached the width of my windshield.  Once expanded, my view shifted toward more of what lie ahead of me than simply the speeding asphalt and yellow or white lines.  There was, in front of me, a fragment remaining of the Day.  A remnant of what I almost missed was there for the taking because my subconscious took over my knuckles and screamed, “Hurt her. She’s not hearing my gentle voice.  Shake her. Please. I mean it.”

Beyond the windshield, through the shatterproof glass, past the pale of the Way Home lie a Holy Place.  I pulled my car over, compelled to find it.  The shoulder wasn’t far enough from the Way Home.  I pulled off the road until all four wheels rested on the dead grass and damp earth, pushed the gearshift toward Park, breathed out and turned off the ignition.  I heard…nothing.  I felt…tension. I needed…space.

I exited my car, white knuckles helping the death grip of my keys remain secure.  I headed toward a hill adjacent to a pastureland which was adjacent to my Space.  Black high heeled boots and soft earth wrestled during my ascent but I didn’t know it.  My brain was focused on the need for space.  The need for…this:


Cresting the hill, my body sunk into the ground, my knees taking a crossed position under my rayon plum suit.  The course dead grass stabbed through the rayon and my skin fought back. Continue reading Big Sky = Big Medicine. Really Big Medicine.