“Mom, I need to interview you,” said my youngest. Little did I know how much my answers would reveal. “What has been your biggest challenge? I know what you are going to say.” I told him, “Hmmm, I think it was trying to figure out how to ride out a hurricane as an adult with children for the first time.” He was not expecting that answer. “Really? Let me check my assignment. Oh, the question is actually, ‘What is an event that changed your life.’” I guess we are dealing with it; curse you school assignment. It was a balance of answering his questions and leaving out the parts that would traumatize him; he did not need to know about the damage for example. I was going to write this blog on intentions, but I think today we are going to use intuitive tools to get insight into self care. I’ll be using a self care spread from Tina Gong.
Many people this week have asked me how I am. I really did not know and told them I felt neutral. Looking at what came up, I am actually in quite a bit of psychic pain. I am certain I am not the only person suffering especially during these times. My friends have shared some of their pain with me as well. Our thoughts about our pain shape how we deal with it. My art pieces were telling me the same thing. They explored the underbelly of our feelings; the ones we don not want to post on social media. I decided to embrace them and celebrate them as messengers. When you give something a name, you have more power over it. Are you courageous enough to admit what is happening to you?
How can I deal with those feelings? I use art and journaling. My kid’s homework assignment forced me to talk about some of the feelings during the event. The sense of shock and disbelief and the sudden quiet came back but it struck me how much I already did not remember about that day. Who did I tell first? I do not know. I know that who needed to hear it got told it and celebrate that I am very calm in a crisis and practical. I find it helpful to remind myself both that I am strong and also that I do not have to be strong. Sometimes acknowledging the events is the first step. We have to deal with our past to be able to go forward. What are you doing to take care of yourself?
I hate crying. I was raised to think that “crying doesn’t solve anything and only gives you a headache.” It is part of the process and so I allowed my eyes to leak and it was not the end of the world. When I stop spending time fighting reality, I have more energy and strength to deal with my present. I hate admitting that I need help, but it is necessary. Perhaps not being so strong would help me to deal with my feelings, because accepting help is not a sign of weakness. My youngest is trying very hard to be strong and I told him he doesn’t have to be. Children never do what you say, they pay attention to what you do. I have let down my guard and accepted the space that people have held for me to share. Thank you. You know who you are. What hard truth must you accept?
Acceptance is the final stage of grief. The cycle is not a closed loop and works in a very nonlinear fashion. I jumped straight to acceptance and only recently as a result of this school assignment did I vocalize a little bit of the anger. The anger was not necessarily about what happened, but more about the frustration about people giving platitudes. I finished a book where one of the characters tried to put a positive spin on a situation and the other character asked them for the space to discuss their fears. As a recovering Pollyanna, I am learning that everything does not need a silver lining. Everything has a place and a purpose and I need to honor the things we do not perceive as positive. Trying to not miss a beat is not working and in the long run puts me further behind. What is not working? What will you do differently?
I find that I have been becoming more of a hermit this past week. I am a very social person, but sometimes I need to withdraw and recharge. Normally, I beat myself up and tell myself I am a bad friend. That is not productive because it is not true. I respect when other people need time, so why can’t I give myself the same grace? Relationships are important, but I think I need to work harder on the relationship I have with myself and with my feelings. Where do you need to retreat and recharge in your life?
In one of the first art pieces I did this week, I explored embracing the unlovable feelings. Pain, or anger, or fear, or sadness have messages for us. We need the rain as well as the sunshine. For a seed to grow, it needs sunlight, but it also needs the rain, and the relief of the night. Sleep helps to clean our brain and heal our cells. It generally happens in the dark, but darkness is not a bad thing. Our more positive feelings have a better public relations department. Embracing our full selves helps us to integrate and is key for getting to the next level. What must you embrace in order to heal?
I do not want to be thankful for what has happened to me. I have to acknowledge that the events of this year have accelerated my journey of personal growth. I have questioned everything I thought I knew. Perhaps I should become a philosophy major in college. I have strived to find meaning in what I do and chafe at the thought of using my precious energy for busy work. We value arbitrary things like money, or gold, or oil. They will not keep us alive. Air, water and food are the things necessary for life and our relationships are the currency that keeps everything going. We take those things for granted. I am grateful for the person I am becoming as a result of what has happened. I suppose some silver linings managed to creep in. Namaste
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