Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Between The Devil & The Dow Jones Industrial Average

I guess when I really tuned into this process, I started seeing how I'd let everything control me. And I do mean everything. In my professional life, I am a stock and bond broker. As you might imagine the past 16 months have been a little rocky. I never thought of my profession as one that had care taking attributes, but a year and a half of clients sick with what has happened in the market has taught me better.

When the market decline started, I would wake at the crack of dawn to find out what the market futures were indicating. Then I would hold my breath until the market opened to see what was going to happen. All day long I was a prisoner to some mysterious number over which I had no control. The stress and anxiety were so heavy, I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to eat. And Sunday felt like a portal to hell...what kind of mass craziness was Monday going to bring?

My training and education taught me that my job was to be the calm in the storm. Put on a brave face as you face the day and distraught clients.

Mercifully, somewhere in the middle of all of this craziness I came to begin to know Al-Anon. The practice of identifying what I can control and what I can't, was easier to identify when I used the market as my "qualifier" as opposed to identifying my habits with family and most specifically with my husband. It's fairly obvious to the rest of the world, I'm sure, that I personally hold a miniscule amount of influence over the market. But in my darkest days of despair over Wall Street, I must have thought that if I worried enough about what was happening that it might be pennence enough for either the market to change, or for my clients to feel better about their losses. Because really, knowing that I fretted over their personal situation can really make up for their losses, right?

By really embracing the fact that I had no control over those external forces, I slowly began to thaw out from my place of sheer terror, to a place where I could begin to use logic and reason to start making some necessary moves. I am so grateful to have been able to step outside of my personal life to learn a tough lesson. Hopefully now I will be better positioned to apply this understanding to my family.


  1. I'm amazed, I'm not sure if I could handle that kind of high stress job and a life at the same time ! I've only been in al-anon for a month or so, and I am still listening and observing how badly I've managed to do everything wrong in dealing with my drug addicted,alcoholic husband and son over the past 20 years. It's seems so overwhelming, that I just don't know where to start in actually APPLYING these concepts. (There MUST be some kind of plan, or detailed instructions! I have a hard time functioning without things like that) I'm just thinking, it would be nice if I had some area of my life where I could "practice" surrendering control. Unfortunately, as a stay at home mom, I feel completely surrounded by . . . my mistakes?

  2. Read some of your stuff--what a great new--for me--perspective on lots of things. thank you.

    Cat sent me--we're friends...heck, EVERYONE is friends with Cat! I'm just proud and honored to be one of them -grin!

    Steve E.

  3. It is in what we learn and the application of it.
    Maybe we don't get it right, but we do get to teach our children different ways of coping that me help them when we are not there for them.

  4. you will be better positioned, just give it time...

  5. That knowing that I cannot control it is what hooked me into the Al Anon program - because the only thing I can control or change is myself... usually.

  6. we may be short on control over all, but we do have understanding -- you're on your way!

    great post

  7. My gosh! I love how you consider your job as a qualifier!! It just makes so much sense! I don't envy you your position in this economy or situation at home. Wishing you and yours better times! Blessings, Lisa