Moving The Sludge

Man. The last couple of days have been kind of tough.

I have been waiting for test results for COVID as I have been sick. And they came back negative. I should be relieved but there is a part of me that isn’t. A part of me that wishes I had it so that I could know I had a mild case and I survived and had some immunity and could potentially help others through donating plasma.

I am trying not to let the fear get me. But going back out into the world with a compromised immune system, likely bronchitis, in the wake of a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system… to care for horses….seems fucking pointless and a little stupid to me right now.

I have had a grip on my fear, but as this touches closer and closer to me it is hard to move away from it all. People are really scared. A buddy of mine text me tonight with updates from his friend in NYC where things are really bad. I feel his fear in my heart, his hopelessness at not being able to do more for his friend. It cuts deeply into my humanity.

And I remind myself that this is also nature balancing itself out. That we will survive this. Not all of us will make it, but we will, as a whole, survive.

This has got me thinking a lot about my own mortality and whether or not I would be happy with the life I have lived here. And I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Sometimes I think yes, I am done here. Sometimes the answer is no.

I got into a bit of a sludge today. Part sprang from the above questions, part from this sickness that’s descended on my body. There were tears, lots of them. Loneliness. Stagnation. There was also confusion about what to do, what to think, how to feel.

So I did the only thing that I knew would shift some of this. I moved my body.

Sometimes when we can do nothing else we have to remember we can always take a step. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect or “right,” it just has to be motion.

Ten minutes of weights, some ab exercises and head stands and I was feeling better. Then I made some fresh juice and a nice meal and I didn’t feel so stuck anymore.

I don’t have the answers to the above questions. I still don’t know what is right or wrong and I am a hot mess in my life most of the time. But I do know that moving helps. So when I need to break the cycle of torturous thoughts, I move.

We are in a time of survival. Something that many of us have never had to face, not in this way. When we are in survival mode we go back to base instincts. To break this we have to breathe. We have to move, we have do something creative or constructive. Some of us have to prepare to feel safe, some of us have to create art or music. Some of us just need to move. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s perfect.

As I look around, in this moment, I know I am safe. I can relax and breath and enjoy my dogs and the flowers that are starting to peak through the dirt. I can feel the Earth under my feet and marvel at the beauty of nature.

I am safe. I am strong. I am choosing something other than fear. ❤ ❤

Day 81: Letting Go… Again

Letting go.

I would like to think it will get easier the more it is practiced. Right now I am not so sure.

We let go of things, jobs, people, places we lived, lovers, friends.

Letting go means taking your hands off the steering wheel, taking a deep breath and just accepting what is. Without fear, without judgement. It means to stop grasping for control.

I talked about this a while back within the context of a relationship and me letting go of Mr. X (still a work in progress). And now I had the same conversation with myself today about this virus situation.

I woke up this morning feeling like utter shit. Not physically, but emotionally spent. It is really taxing sometimes to have to go out in the world, put your feelings and safety aside, council clients and tend to patients all the while having an air of authority and decorum. Sometimes I want a day where there isn’t life and death and where responsibility is nil. I don’t have that luxury in my job and now people are acting even crazier than before. I get it. I hold space for them. I listen to their fears, their stories of people they know who are susceptible, people they know who have died, I hear stories about their animals, their grandchildren, all of the happenings in their life… all within a 3-4 foot radius, and under five minutes? No… that’s not a thing. I have had to consciously put my own safety aside to allow these conversations to happen. Maybe that isn’t right. Maybe I should be looking out for myself more.

It is an interesting phenomenon being a vet. People tell you EVERYTHING about their life. Way more than what we need to know. We act as therapist, social worker, confidante, priest and anything else a client needs. We are in the unique position of not just caring for family members but actively participating in life and death scenarios. We have authority. And as such, clients assume we also have some sort of concrete evidence on the virus.

It is exhausting. Sometimes after work I come home and I just cry because it I have to release all that I heard and witnessed from the day. I have to let go of all of my walls and protections so I can find some calm and peace within me.

In this time of need in our society, letting go is critically important. As I sit here thinking about what tomorrow will bring and already feeling the pull of tired on my mind and heart I realize that I am resisting all of it. I am resisting talking with clients, seeing patients, putting my own safety needs first, the anxiety that I feel about the unknown, the fact that we are experiencing a pandemic.

It is the resistance that creates suffering and panic and hysteria.

The more I am focused on how much I don’t want to deal with any of this, the bigger it all seems.

Here’s the part about letting go. Have you ever been told that if you are in a car crash in those moments before it happens, that flash of time when everything slows down, if you can relax yourself the impact and bodily damage will be much less? Same principle applies.

Every moment of today was about letting go. It was about accepting there is a new normal. It was knowing that there is a virus and it is here and if I am going to get sick I am going to get sick. It was letting go of the resistance to the fact that I may not have a job in a few months, that people I know, or myself, may not be alive.

I took a few minutes today and sat with a friend of mine. He is a really powerful intuitive. We took a moment and he helped me connect back to myself. Not the self that feels overwhelmed and scared and tired but the essence of who I am. The part of me that is love and tenderness and kindness and compassion. He helped me breathe it back into my awareness and when we were done I found that I was able to relax into this new normal a little bit more. I was able to come out of my own flavor of haze and look around and see what was really happening for me in that moment.

I saw sunshine and mountains and flowers and people smiling and laughing, and as my heart filled more I realized I would be okay. We will all be okay.

As we battle the river that rages in each of us, grasping for rocks and trees to cling to we become battered, bruised, exhausted in our effort. It is only with the letting go, the becoming one with the river that we are able to flow with the water, and in that moment find the space to breathe. ❤ ❤

Day 78: Cultivating Hope

It would be really easy to get carried away right now with the fear mongering surrounding the Coronavirus, especially where I am at which is the epicenter of the virus in the USA. People here are generally keeping their heads with the exception of sold out grocery stores.

I am usually oblivious to things like this. I am aware it’s a thing, but I don’t watch the news in any capacity. I chose, many years ago, to cut those things out of my life as I think they are hugely biased and based in fear. Fear is an amazing driver. If you get enough people confused and scared, they stop thinking rationally and start acting from instinct. Breakdown in communication and humanity start to happen. This is when powerful people and entities can come in and shift things to their agenda. Do I think that is what is happening with the Coronavirus? I have no idea.

I know there is a flu going around. I know it is most heavily effecting the older populations. I know that people are scared and going into survival mode. I know that now is the time that we need to keep our heads and cultivate hope.

This can seem an overwhelming task when the daily anxiety of the safety of friends and family is at stake, but it is crucial to getting through situations like this gracefully.

How does one cultivate hope??

It starts with a decision. Fear is a choice. As I always say, choose different. Once you shift from fear to findings all of the wonderful things about this life you will be amazed, but suddenly the news coming in won’t be so scary anymore. Your awareness will begin to shine on positives and I guarantee your mood will be elevated.

Start by looking at the evidence. Whether we are talking about a pandemic or an issue closer to home it’s crucial to remember that everything runs its course. We have seen this time and again through history. Humans are resilient as hell and will rise up above this.

When we are talking about things like hope within one’s life it’s the same concept. I know depression and apathy and fear can all seem like they will never end. Realizing that you’ve been through worse or a similar hardship and come out on the other side is sometimes all the evidence needed to derive comfort and tenacity needed to continue forward motion.

Another good way to cultivate hope is to keep an eye on the positives. Find all the shit you appreciate in your life and really FEEL the appreciation. It warms the heart and brings healing. Look to the future and picture all of the really cool stuff you are going to do and find the excitement in those things.

One of the hardest parts about a situation like coronavirus is to not let fear take hold. It’s so difficult to know where to turn for accuracy in reporting and the news and it’s super easy to let fear in. When I am feeling like that I like to take a minute and do a body scan and go through each system feeling how good or off it feels and then asking what can I do to make that system stronger. When there is a feeling of proactivity people can remain in themselves and it makes decreasing stress levels a little easier.

I come back to the teachings of my buddy Mike Kemski. Highest Energy Wins. If we choose to let fear be the highest energy pretty soon panic will ensue, but if we can shift that to something more useful… it’s a whole new world.

Keep your heads, people. We truly are all in this one together and losing touch with humanity will only breed chaos. Focus on the fact you get some time off of work, you get to spend some time with family and children. For me, it’s proving to be a mental reset.

Much love to you all, stay safe out there and wash your damn hands. ❤ ❤