Day 63: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In every journey there are course corrections. A step to the left, two to the right… and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Sometimes when you’re falling, you are still making progress. Sometimes it is the fall that inspires action, boundaries, the forcing of self love because the alternative is to completely stop.

I had a panic attack this morning. There was no reason for it that I can immediately identify. Usually there is. It caught me off guard, the racing heart, the pressure in the chest, the fragility of needing to fall apart for a second. The feeling lasted about 30 minutes. Really fucking long…. and all day I have felt off and on guard.

While not a pleasant experience, it tells me a few things.

  1. I have nothing to give to anyone but myself right now.
  2. I am about at the end of my rope and cannot tolerate anything in my life that will distract me from getting back to myself.

It also enabled me to say no. To set some boundaries.

I have no words of advice. Those situations really fucking suck, but they do provide a perspective that cannot be ignored and in many ways forces a change in path.

So I leave you with this quote by Ruby Dhal:

“Be brave enough to be alone.

By alone, I mean only depending on yourself for your happiness and your comfort. I mean dreaming of a future where your goals rely on you, and only you, to achieve them.

By alone, I mean strolling down a beach with the sand between your feet and hugging yourself as the wind brushes your bare arms. I mean taking yourself on a date to your favorite cafe with a book, a coffee, and yourself for company and watching the sun rise and fall back down again, feeling nothing but comfort in that moment.

By alone, I mean listening to your own thoughts, being your best friend, and cherishing the solitude that you find yourself in. I mean being okay with not having a partner and still feeling loved. I mean being comfortable in the presence of those that do. I mean being happy when those you grew up with fold themselves in the arms of relationships, jobs, children, and new countries while you are on a journey to find whom you truly are.

Be brave enough to love yourself.

By love, I mean wrapping strength around your wrists as you bunch your hands into tight fists for anyone who dares to treat you badly and letting your heart rest inside your chest rather than carrying it on your sleeve for people who will never see it for what it is worth.

I mean loving yourself enough to walk away, enough to say when you have endured too much, enough to smile at your reflection in the mirror when life feels grim, enough to put yourself first and not let anyone take you for granted.

By love, I mean hugging yourself when you feel empty, pouring all the tenderness that you give to others inside yourself, where it belongs. I mean given and giving to your heart until you fill your empty bucket with enough love to last you a lifetime. I mean cherishing your soul, comforting yourself, and never letting yourself go astray again.

Be brave enough to become the right person for yourself.

Because if you are brave enough to do what is right for your heart, then promising you, you will never feel lonely when you are alone.” ❤ ❤

Image by kordula vahle from Pixabay

Day 59: A Prelude to Happiness

I think there is something that happens when you grow up in an environment where you are not loved in a way that you need to be loved. I think you don’t learn what love is supposed to be and when the only thing you know is fear and insecurity you adapt and figure out how to live there quite successfully. When you have adapted to any situation it starts to feel normal. Then, at some point in your 30s you realize you want to know what happiness feels like.

It seems like it should be an easy thing to do, find things that make you happy and then embrace it.

For me, that is not my experience. I could find things that made me happy for a split second, but it was as if there was something preventing that feeling from traveling to my heart. I knew I was happy in those moments but I didn’t FEEL happy.

Then I learned about love. I learned that love can be the most overwhelmingly beautiful experience and also one of the darkest parts of living. Love can heal and destroy. I thought true love would be this nirvana, and I still think it can be, but I think that real love comes in layers. Once there are enough layers of experience and disagreements and sticking around love settles in for the long haul. This to me is true love. Love that stays.

My love experience has been a rocky one the last few months. I have no clue where my future will end up, what man I will end up with, if I will even find a partner. But I do know that I am loved, very very deeply. When that love isn’t around I feel really sad.

I used to think that the depth of anguish I felt was in direct proportion to how much I loved someone. It turns out that depth of pain is really a reflection of how strong I am and how much I can handle. In an effort to feel something, sometimes I will amplify that pain to the point of near breaking. It expands that boundary of what I am capable of feeling. I am really well versed in expanding the pain and it is and has been, where I have lived for many many years.

This morning for a second I felt a glimmer of happiness in my heart and I immediately squashed it. Didn’t I remember I was supposed to be mourning the loss of Mr. X in my life (in the capacity I wanted him anyways)? The feeling came again for a second and again I thought, aren’t I supposed to be sad?

What is the prelude to happiness? For me, it was giving myself permission to feel happy.

I was driving down the road repeating to myself, “It’s okay to be happy. ” It is okay to be happy in the middle of sadness. That pain isn’t gone, it just released and moved around a little. It is okay to experience happiness even though your heart is breaking. It is okay to feel happiness during mourning.

After repeating these things a few times, the guilt started to dissipate. I remembered that another thing love is to me is wanting the person you love to be happy, whatever that looks like. In that moment I knew that Mr. X would be happy that I was happy. Happy that I was smiling in spite of the pain, happy that I was moving forward without him.

So I chose to smile, to sing a little in my car, to embrace the feeling and let it plant a seed in my heart. The next time it comes to bloom I will welcome it with arms open a little wider. ❤ ❤

Day 51: The Solitary Traveler

Isolation. It’s a word that strikes fear in many. So many people that I talk to cannot stand the thought of being alone. They bounce from one relationship to another, one event to another, one text to another…

The irony of this life is that while we need each other to have fulfillment, we all travel our paths alone. Our journey to transformation is a solitary one. There is no right or wrong way to go, as long as there is motion. Stagnation is the enemy of growth.

My journey has been exceptionally lonely the last few days. My team of supportive friends has all been occupied with other endeavors, and I am happy for them. It kind of amplifies the silence though, and I realize that for once in my life, there is silence. Usually I have voices going round and round in my head tangling things up and mucking about. In an interview with Russell Brand, Ed Stafford (an English explorer and survivalist) told this story about Australian aboriginals and their belief that we have three brains. The first is instinct and lives in the gut and is the largest brain. The second is the heart which houses emotions, and the third… the smallest…. the logical brain. They call it…. something like “nondopido”. I am sure I am butchering the spelling. The word that they use is the same as a fishing net that is tangled beyond repair. According to Stafford, they believe that we, in the Western world, live in the logical brain and this is the reason for all of our strife and discontent. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly. The uncomfortable part for me right now is that the voices are much quieter than they were, so that familiarity is gone. The logical brain is quieting and I keep waiting for my heart turn over, to pick up the slack and it has its moments but sometimes there is just… nothing. We aren’t even going to talk about my gut… that needs some more sorting out before it’s working optimally.

As children we are taught very early on that education and book learning is superior. Success means going to college and getting a degree. I subscribed to that thinking my entire life, and now I find myself, on the verge of 36, in a profession that took me forever to get through all of the academic hurdles, only to realize that I feel mostly dead inside. I feel like all of my creativity has been extinguished. Finding things that make me heart light up are few and far between and when it does happen it is this small cracking that is almost incomprehensible. It’s hard to identify. The only time it hasn’t been, in as long as I can remember, was with Mr. X. Meeting him was this massive flood of love, my heart opened without question and dared to show itself in public with him at my side. Right now, I am without Mr. X, I am taking a much needed break because the confusion of our situation has caused me to reach a threshold. If I listen to my heart it wants to jump in with both feet. If I listen to my head it tells me to walk away. My guts… well they are in their own stratosphere. It is as if my systems aren’t talking to each other and there are these little short circuits that keep happening. I know that what I really need to do right now is focus on me. And stepping away for a while is allowing me to do that. It isn’t by choice, and I haven’t gone easily. I know it is the right thing to do, and a huge part of me has known this was coming for a while (maybe that’s my gut talking) but I really didn’t want to listen. It hurt my heart too much. When I look at it that way maybe my systems are talking louder than I thought, I am just ignoring them.

Back to the silence.

I had a moment today where I was able to drop pretty easily into a meditation. Thoughts came and went, but none stuck and for a second I felt connected. This is always a wonderful feeling. Then there was a flash of light and a warming over me that I know is love. Then nothing. No light, no darkness really, no thought, no spark of the heart, just this endless abyss. It wasn’t really scary, it was just… lonely. It felt like an in between place. I feel like I have been here for a really long time. Maybe the slowing of the voices is paving way for clarity. Maybe it is space to be able to take the next steps. I really don’t know at this point.

What I do know is that if my story can help anyone then I want to facilitate it. I know that I start a coaching program this week. I know that in order to help people my heart has to be open and I know that my heart opens very little around other people. Quite frankly I am scared that I won’t be able to access that level of love and caring that I need to be useful to humanity. It happens with animals because, well, they are animals. There is no fear, no insecurity, no judgement… just love. To do the same with people… I’m honestly not sure that I am capable of that. For as long as I can remember I have been looking for a place to dock my heart, a place where it can safely open and I have always felt that was with another person. I wasn’t wrong. But I also know that if I cannot be the safety that my heart needs that my gifts will never be fully available to the world. They will always be behind a veil. Can I be successful that way as a coach? Probably. I think there are a lot of people hiding behind curtains, but for me to consider myself a success I have to be able to show up completely authentically.

My only focus on this program right now is completing each step and each exercise to the best of my ability. I have no idea what the future looks like, and having another career in place allows me to be comfortable with that unknown. It also allows to me to just… focus on me. Use the tools on myself, see what works and what doesn’t and I know by doing that I will grow in the process.

The internal journey may be solitary, but in writing this I am reminded I am not alone. None of us are. If the internal pain and loneliness can be harnessed and used as motivation to push through to the other side, I know I will find whatever it is my heart is looking for. ❤ ❤