No one likes a ball hog. No one likes a showboat. No one wants to be on the same backyard co-Ed volleyball team with that guy. You know the guy. The one who prevents you from ever touching the ball because he’s just so important and the (backyard-family-reunion) game is of the absolute essence to win, to score, to DOMINATE. Yeah, go team.
Currently, it’s March Madness and what a season of life it’s been. We are all sidelined by life; a rare crisis in history: an outbreak of Novel COVID-19. It’s not a game, it’s serious, but the analogy still stands—you gotta run the play. There is just no time and no space for the ball hog; the maverick; the one looking for all the attention and not following the Coach’s plays. Just run the play. Stay home. Flatten the curve. Give our healthcare workers a fighting chance.
Truth be told, I had planned this title and this subject long ago. Before the virus, I had set my titles much like setting a pick because healing from abuse, managing mental health and upending trauma consequences comes with a play book, too. I find when I run the play, it’s always a better choice. It’s a better choice than taking the long 3-point shot defended by a double team on a full court one-on-one press. Instead, make the cut and low-post pass for the bunny shot from the tallest player on the team. I don’t have to go it alone.
By nature, I’m a rule follower and every Coach I ever had drilled into us the importance of ‘the play’. Point guard brings the ball up the court, gives the hand signal and you run THE play. There are few exceptions. Your forward has an open lay-up? Pass it inside. But certainly, don’t ball hog it and turn the ball over— all of that is preventable with a handful of plays you’ve memorized at practice, run a thousand times and know by heart. Coaches nearly plead. They’ve seen what, when, how and where the plays work best. They’ve watched the tapes. They are doing their job - they just want you to please: run the play.
You get the idea. Maybe basketball prepared me more for life than I realized!
In my healing, there’s been a clear playbook and I wanted to share it with you. It works nearly every time. Sometimes, the other team is scoring crazy points around us or great defense (unforeseen circumstances) frustrate our best efforts. But if Coach said it, then it’s tried and true. Go back to the basics. Run the play.
None of these plays are necessarily easy. All of these plays are necessary.
Playbook for Healing
1. Guard your mind. ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’
2. Know your triggers.
3. Take your medicine: exercise, sunshine, medication; healthy eating.
1. Pray, Meditate & Read Christian Scriptures - Put your mind on right, good & positive things
2. Enjoy Music & Create Art
4. Seek counsel
5. Stay connected to family, friends and a small group of caregivers
6. Serve others
7. Practice gratefulness
9. Get outside in the sun & nature
It seems that I don’t have the current emotional bandwidth to give anecdotes and examples of these. Healing is not a neat systematic machine or a list to check off. It is dynamic and ever-changing much like the rhythm and fervor of a basketball game.
These ideas are the bones. Some I follow more regularly than others. They are the places I return to in stress, crisis, grief, ptsd, hardship and when I am not feeling well. May these plays give you a place to start and get you off the bench.
May they remind you there’s a team of people wanting your healing— cheering you on to wellness; helping you find your voice after abuse.
Don’t go it alone. Don’t ball hog all your abusive, difficult history.
Run the play!