Obsession 2: The Guardian

“It’s an obsession, it’s my obsession…”
So I’m thinking through obsession – allowing myself (or yourself… or other personselves…) to go “all in” for certain activities, pursuits or tasks.

Or are those three things all the same, and I’m once again obsessively redundant?

Giving everything to something we love, something that’s worthwhile, or something worthy of our whole being is totally fine… as long as balance is maintained.

And there’s the rub, so to speak.

For the other side of the issue, in my case, is the dangerous side of obsession – when you can’t dial it back and walk away from immersion in whatever it is that you’ve plunged into. 

(And if your plunge involved obsession with a plunger, I don’t want to know about it, ‘k? Unless there’s video with a potential of going viral. Then I’ll be happy to help you ride the wave of infamy. I’ve always wanted to write a soundtrack for the story of plumbing gone wild, because inside every grown male is a junior high boy who still laughs at potty humor.)

(I’m sensing a whole lot of eye-rolling from any number of females reading this. Sorry, gentlepersons, but it’s true. Show most any guy the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles, and you’ll have them laughing. Those that don’t laugh need to loosen up and get in touch with their inner immature kiddo, commune with not-so-elusive barking spiders, or at least get back in the habit of blaming the dog. Perhaps watching a Three Stooges or Looney Tunes marathon will help. Then go watch Down Periscope – especially the “We are now going silent!” scene. If none of that works, you must turn in your male card immediately. Amen and amen.)

Having danced down that obsessive bunny trail, I return to our regularly scheduled programming…

I am capable of obsession – of throwing everything over for one thing, be that focusing on writing something because, as I write, it’s making me laugh; being engrossed in a book, a video, or listening to something; or getting lost online, in essence trying to read the whole internet in one day.

(And yes, I’m serious about that last. More than one time, I’ve lost a  whole afternoon because I felt the need to read someone’s blog. The whole thing. Every post. In one sitting.)

In the world of bipolar, obsession is a part of the extreme called mania. When the blinders go up, the world steps back, and one thing fills my whole world. Everything else fades away, except a little tiny voice telling me that this really is wrong, that getting lost like this is dangerous, and that I need to step away, move on, and let it go. But if I’ve plunged deep enough, the undertow takes hold and I’m lost. It can be hours before I surface again.

In my world, obsession has a dark side, a dangerous side, and can lead to loss and regret.

So, since I spent time in a previous post, Obsession 1: For Those About To Obsess, We Salute You, discussing where obsession is good, is allowed, and can produce deep joy, why am I now pontificating on the dangers therein?

Dunno.

Actually, I do. I was just messin’ with you. ‘Cause saying things like “just messin’ with you” makes me feel cool, hip, and totally down with my bad self.

Word to yo’ iguana.

The balance for obsession is a schedule, a routine – something that helps overlay a structure of reality onto the bottomless pit (or soaring height – because it doesn’t always lead to darkness) of obsession.

I need a guardian. Somebody who’s got my back.

Being definitely right-brained, things like lists, structure, deadlines or requirements are a little like math to me… utter lack of comprehension.

Ok – not quite as bad as math. After all, I have the ability to be places on time, to follow through with things that must be done, and to finish things. Usually. Sometimes. 

But, as all the world knows, I don’t speak math. Or numbers, for that matter.

Often, when I try to put structure and organization into my life, I get all excited with a new program, planner, list, or device, work it hard for two or three days, then get bored and throw it under the bus to languish with all my other bright shiny toys that were the perfect thing to bring order to my chaotic world.

If you were to see the rotting cesspool that is my house, you would have a new understanding of “chaotic.” 

Aye, right-brained are I. Driven by perfectionistic tendencies, but lacking the horsepower to actually make them real.

Thus, the guardian.

Now, the guardian is not some new whiz-bang cool tool. It’s not a program, a planner, or a doodad. Rather, it’s a shift in my attitude.

It’s a realization that if my fragile mental balance is to be maintained, I need help. I can’t do it alone, and nobody can do it for me. Without a shift in my thinking and a true desire for change in my heart, nothing will make a difference. Systems become boring, so I drop them. Accountability partners become task masters or slave drivers, so I turn into a spoiled brat and dig in my heels, screaming, “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!”

Nobody who is trying to help me deserves that kind of grief. Especially my beloved.

What I’m saying is that nobody can steer this ship but me. 

** Yes, you’ll notice that I’m leaving the most important factor out at this point, best summarized in these words: “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” Don’t worry, saddlepals – I haven’t forgotten. I’ve just got to lay some foundation stones, then I’ll go to the only One who can help me make REAL change – the TRUE Guardian. **

So getting my noodle around this is essential – I think in pictures and see in stories, so seeing a routine and schedule as a friend, as a guardian to help me stay sane and live without loss and regret is a huge step.

I don’t think the system or method matters – I have any number of things around that could do the job, or a combination of them. But the schedule, the routine – that’s the key. That’s the guardian, to watch my back and keep a leash on obsession.

I know that whatever I use to help me “see” the schedule has to be simple, has to be flexible, and most of all has to be bright, shiny, and fun.

I are right-brained, after all.

But the shift in my attitude – welcoming the structure as a lifeline in a deep ocean – there’s the key.

How do I know that will work? Because I did it once before. On March 30, 2010 – the day my old life dropped away and I was ReBorn.

If I hadn’t shifted my perception, worked my attitude, and seen the surgery as a gift and a blessing, I never would have been able to comply completely with all that’s required for my second life. (Not that I haven’t had some stumbles and misses, for the record…) But that powerful picture – this gift, this blessing – is what allows me to accept the requirements and restrictions, knowing that by doing these things to keep it, this gift sets me free.

And so, in a flash of Divine insight, I see another one of those gifts on the horizon – the guardian.

It’s going to take some preparation and effort, a lot of discipline and sacrifice, and many, many reminders along the way that the guardian is for my protection, to set me free. The structure and routine will form a protective wall around my mind, so I can concentrate on being fully present in those things I love and want to give my attention to, without getting lost in the stuff that only leaves me with loss and regret.

Now, here’s where the true Guardian of my soul comes in… only He can help me do this – to do something so contrary to my nature that it seems impossible. Only He can give me the determination to work through this and find the path He’s already laid out, seeing the steps at the exact moment I’m ready to take the next one. Not a second before, not a moment late – exactly when I’m ready to move.

Shifting my perception and thinking – step one.

Finding the tools that help me bring the thoughts into the tangible – step two.

Staying on the path, seeing it not as bondage, a hassle, or boring, but as a precious friend that guards my mind – step three.

Rejoicing in Him, relying on Him, walking with Him… every step of the way.

Obsession before me, the guardian behind me, my Father beside me holding my hand.

I think this is gonna be a fun ride…

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