I have been moving through my days carefully this week. I am moving with my grief and the awakening that is happening around it. I’m moving gently. Gently rowing my boat forward, but giving myself plenty of self care and love.
I’m eating consciously, resting extra, choosing carefully whom I surround myself with, and I’m unplugging more. This is how I manage the upset I feel and still manage to function in the world.
I still see my clients, and I incorporate all of what’s happening into our conversations. This seems whole and healthy to me, and I know it’s helpful for them as well.
One of my favorite lines in Mary Oliver’s Poem, “Wild Geese” is this: Meanwhile the world goes on.
Yes, life goes on. It can be challenging to find the balance between going on and grieving, balance between honoring what is and honoring what still needs to be done.
I have been thinking a lot about the way we seem to take pride in being strong.
Each of us must find the kind of balance that works for us, one that’s taking into account the fact that we are moving with a wound that is healing.
I don’t mean this in a judgy way: I am still astounded that there are people who don’t know that you can’t just force and shove your way through an upset and make it out the other side unscathed.
Like it’s most important to show no emotion, and “get back to work” quickly. Act tough, never let them see you sweat.
But being kind and gentle with yourself is part of the process to becoming human.
Being kind and gentle with yourself when you’ve had a difficult experience or suffered a setback or have experienced the death of a loved one IS the medicine. Yes kindness and gentleness IS the medicine. NOT shoving and pushing and pretending. That is not and never will be medicine. It only serves to contort you further.
This journey to becoming whole means you make time for what comes.
And if you don’t make time, life will have a way of giving you what you need so that you can heal.
Nobody gets to decide what upsets you. Nobody should have permission to decide how long it takes you to heal either. The opinion of other people matters not a wink in terms of how you feel and how you are doing. You call those shots…but in order to do that, you need to be present and accounted for inside yourself – you have to be comfortable with the unpleasant sensations vs dancing as fast as you can to avoid feeling things.
I meet people in my healing room who think they should be over IT by now. Each of us has those life events when many of our feathers have been plucked…and while part of us is still trying to figure out what the heck happened, the other parts are there trying to keep carrying on, keep moving forward.
We don’t readily know how to stop for a while and allow ourselves to become present with what is happening.
I remember after my mother died, I had a boss in Germany who told me that three days was enough already, it was time to get back to work. And so, I soldiered on. I lost a lot of feathers during that time. I knew I was suffering…I didn’t quite feel myself. Still, when the authority says – get back to work, it’s enough already, sometimes that’s what we do.
And then I remember when my heart was breaking and I realized I had nowhere safe to empty its contents nor could I even understand HOW I was going to go about emptying the contents, I spoke to my mother-in-law thinking she would help me. Her response was: It’s enough grieving already, there is a set time to deal with something and then, chop chop, it’s time to get back to work. (she really did say chop chop to me, I can’t make this stuff up! by the way, this is NOT #1 husband’s MIL).
Pushing harder gets you nowhere.
The truth is, you cannot deny what is happening. You might think you are avoiding it because you aren’t thinking of it consciously, but there is a ton of evidence to the contrary. Your nervous system is taking a beating. It needs gentleness right now, kindness. It needs healthy food and fresh water and plenty of sunshine. Yes, it definitely needs to be aired out! And, it cannot be around toxic people who shout their bad advice and say kooky things to you like chop chop.
Sometimes I really wonder about the greater unconscious energy we all share around not allowing what IS to be present in the moment.
There’s this fake pride in seeming strong which masks the fear of being vulnerable. It makes more stress and anxiety in the body at the level of the nervous system, this is completely the opposite feeling you want to be having when you are going through something.
When you bulldoze your way through, when you push, think of it like this: you are in the process of plucking out your own feathers. And doing that takes a lot of effort. It’s waaaay more energy to resist what is happening than to just go with it. You have to do things like clench your jaw, and squeeze your butt cheeks and make that frowny eyebrow.
Yes, you’re that bird plucking all of its feathers and insisting you’re fine, while we all can tell that you’re not. You have behaviors surfacing that are more about numbing and quieting down the upset.
The strange thing is that we wouldn’t do this to someone we loved who was going through this, but we do it to ourselves time and time again.
Some of the most challenging events in my life taught me how to open my heart, grieve and how to move forward with kindness.
I learned how to take good care of myself. I learned to be kind and gentle, and to take my needs into account.
When an upset in my life happens, it’s second nature for me to make space for what’s happening. I know I need time to process it and time to heal. I’ll ask myself what it is that I need from moment to moment, and I pay attention to the answers that come. If I decide it’s best for me to change my plans, I do that. My friends and family will understand. People who truly have our backs do that.
We are not here to perfect the art of spinning plates while jumping on one foot while singing the star spangled banner.
I don’t believe it serves me or anyone I’m connected to when I pretend that nothing is going on while my heart is breaking. When I act like everything is fine, while silently collapsing inside, it hardens the very pattern I am working to break.
Being kind and gentle with yourself is part of the process to becoming whole.
Wholeness has everything to do with making space for what comes up in your life.