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 83: The Cold Grip of Fear

I almost titled this “CHILL THE FUCK OUT!”

But I held back.

We are living in troubled times. People do not feel like they have any control, and we don’t. This is a breathtaking, intense reminder that Mother Nature is in control and we aren’t immune because, guess what… we are nature. We are animals, we are biologic organisms.

Someone told me yesterday that the Corona virus was really deadly because it wasn’t MEANT for humans… who the fuck is anyone of us to say it wasn’t meant for us. We are … animals. A virus that lives in animals doesn’t mean we are immune because we don’t see ourselves as such. We have elevated ourselves to a status that is shockingly egoic about our place in the world. Yes, ego has its place. It allows us to step beyond fear and accomplish great things, but we have become so disconnected from the natural world that we forget we are a part of it and that means we are subject to her will.

This is an awesome, raw display of sheer power.

And it is making people very afraid. Rightfully so. But what isn’t right is to not realize our place in this world. It isn’t to keep fighting for us being more than nature. Biology cannot be outrun. It will shift and mutate and spread and do whatever the fuck it needs to to create harmony or homeostasis. We are so keen to think we know what that looks like.

Why is this coming up? Because I am getting tired. I empathize and sympathize with the fear. I have it too. I am in no way immune to what everyone else is feeling. In some ways I feel it more intimately as I have to keep working and exposing myself and potentially others (who’s to say I am not a carrier) to this thing. I get it. But when I was asked today by two separate clients to euthanize their completely healthy animals for no reason other than they are scared about the future, that was the end of my rope.

When people are scared they will do a lot of crazy things. We are seeing the best and the worst come out in people. The best is pretty great, there is so much coming together and community and people reaching out and people being creative and loving and it warms my heart.

And then there is the worst. There is the fear mongering, the people preying on that fear for their own benefit, people stabbing other people over food, hate speech, panic and thievery.

I refuse to let my own experience be one that is focused on the bad. But today was hard. I had to get real with some people and choose my moral high ground. The thing is, when you stand clear in your purpose and firm in your heart and mind people settle into that. Both clients that I talked to I gave feedback lovingly but firmly. Both of them woke up a little bit and came around to what they were asking, and then we came up with a plan and guidelines for when that time comes of what to look for and what the process would be. Then I made myself available to them at any time they might need me so they had that peace of mind. And I will be available to them. This is not a role I love to play, to be on call 24/7 but at the end of the day I have a purpose to advocate for my patients and today this meant showing up in this way.

These are interesting times. Things are changing rapidly and our normal is shifting in massive ways. It requires us to be flexible, strong in our ethics and to have courage of conviction. It is too easy to get swept up in fear and start to break down and walk away from our moral compass.

Please stand strong. Remember the image of yourself that you have been working so hard to bring to fruition and stay the course. Care for yourself, tend to your needs but do not lose the core of what makes up your values. This is the time to bring them forth, put them in your heart and project them to the world. We need strength and kindness and love more than ever right now. ❤ ❤

Image by ambermb from Pixabay

Day 82: Community

I decided to take a break from social media today to get a little reset and to connect with me a bit and really dig deep into what I was feeling without all the noise from the outside world.

I can see really clearly the capacity that this situation has for good. No, I am not discounting the devastation and the loss of life. Not in any way. But…. I am choosing to focus on the positives.

When I went back online and my awareness was focused on the good that was all I could find.

People are coming together in a huge way. Communities are popping up to bring things to people in need, neighbors are reaching out to neighbors to lend a hand, we are supporting our elderly and immunocompromised communities with special store hours just for them. This. This is what life is supposed to be.

Community. People coming together in love and support.

It sucks that it has taken a global event to make this happen, but it is mother nature moving back in balance.

We are supposed to thrive, together. We are supposed to feel safe with one another and be collaborative and cooperative. We are supposed to love and be loved.

Spread joy. Be a light in the world. ❤ ❤

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 80: Self Love in Times of Unrest

In the last week or so… man, I can’t believe it’s only been a week… so much has happened. People are literally getting swept up in fear and panic. And I get it, I truly do. Fear has a place here.

When we go into survival mode we resort back to base instinct. Food. Shelter. Water. Toilet Paper (goodness, we will never live that one down). We end up in fight or flight mode against an enemy we cannot see. People aren’t meant to live in fight or flight. We are meant to react to an event and then for our body to go back to a homeostatic state. When we live in crisis mode we change our biology and these changes set up shop in our nervous system, adrenals etc.

The real enemy here is panic and fear. Yes, the virus is real and fucking scary, but the panic and mass hysteria is even worse. People who are feeding into the fear… that is all they see. There is no other perspective.

Self love in this moment looks like grounding yourself, bringing yourself back to reality of the present moment so you are not caught up in negativity and what ifs. Self love is choosing to focus on happiness and joy and all of the things we have to be thankful for. Self love is reaching out to your friends and neighbors and extending a touch of humanity to elevate the collective.

Right now self love is not fluffy, feel good, sunshine and roses. It can be… but for the vast majority it isn’t. For me right now self love includes focusing on my business future and finding ways to be creative as creativity and fear cannot exist in the same space. It is about slowing down my breathing, feeling into my heart, recognizing where the panic lives, acknowledging it and setting it free.

I have no idea where this pandemic is taking us. I don’t know what is real information vs fake. I don’t know if quarantine is justified or not. What I do know though is how my body is feeling and that me panicking and causing fear to breed in the hearts of others is not helping anyone and only adds to the problem. Each one of us has the capacity and ability to reach so many others, to touch so many lives. If there are enough of us spreading messages of hope and love and care we will shift the tide of panic that is occurring and we will come through this stronger than before.

Be a light in the world. It’s okay to feel scared and unsure, but feeding and fueling those feelings creates mental and emotional chaos that spills out and effects even the steadiest of souls. We have a responsibility to our fellow men to rise up and share love just as much as we do to wash our hands and keep our distance. ❤ ❤

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. ❤ ❤

Day 77: Accepting Feedback

I had an experience today with an instructor for my coaching program. It wasn’t a pleasant interaction but because she was of a “higher” status with respect to the situation that we were in, I let her feedback overwhelm me a little bit.

I recognize that I am in a stage of my own growth where I need some cheer leading from people. I need encouragement and I need to listen to those that I know truly have my back, and no one else. I am like a fledgling bird trying to figure out how to fly.

The situation this morning raised the volume on my inner critic. The one I have just recently begun to quiet. The dialogue was not pretty. It came in hard and fast and brutal. You aren’t meant to be a coach, you have nothing to offer.

All because she had given me some constructive criticism that was not delivered in a manner that was useful to what I needed at the time.

The really cool thing though is that I am able to recognize it isn’t what I needed.

I was also able to recognize where I needed to work on some boundaries and be firm in who I am. I took a look at that, who I am, and how I want to show up and sat with that for a bit.

I don’t even remember what she said that set me off. The words don’t even really matter.

I decided that her feedback wasn’t that useful to me because I do not want to show up for my clients like she shows up for hers. There is no anger in it, it is from a place of love and curiosity for who she is and the people that she treats.

It was a good reminder that people will give feedback and criticism based on their own experience. One piece of criticism can outweigh a hundred pieces of praise. Words from a complete stranger can cause internal questioning so deep it can ruin the day. But. We decide how much power we place on those words. We can decide if that feedback is from someone that we trust and admire who show up in a way that we want to emulate. If the answer is no then let the words go. Look for the other things that came from the interaction, the insights and strengths and focus on those.

What I did get from the experience was a lot of growth on my end. I was able to identify an area in my personality where if I do not figure out how to manage and shift it a little better it will end up being an energy drain for me and could negatively effect my clients. I was also able to sit in my own truth and decide what was useful for me and what wasn’t, something that I would not have been able to do a year ago. I was able to accept her world view and more importantly, mine, and make it okay to have had that experience. I was also able to quiet the inner critic and lovingly disagree and come up with all of the reasons that I do belong in the coaching industry.

These shifts are not small. They may seen common sense to some, but for me it is huge. I came from a place, just a year or so ago, where I was so confused about what was me, what was the outside world, where my voice was and if it was even okay to listen to it. This is still something that I sometimes need to decipher.

It is a reminder that transformation is possible. That once steps are taken there is no going back and that one only has to be brave enough to keep moving forward.

I am scared as hell to keep going. I have no idea what happiness or joy or living in those emotions feels like, but I am getting more glimpses every day. Sometimes I want to stop. To stay where I am at and accept that the changes I have made, which have improved my life a little bit, are enough because I have pulled myself out of the deepest depths of pain. I am still in the cave though, it’s still dark here and I am still walking blindly, but for the first time in my life there is a small circle of light starting to appear, a beacon that I can finally see as a guidepost.

If I can share nothing else of my journey it is this, to keep going. I say it as much for myself as anyone else reading it. Change is small at first, but mountains are built on grains of sand and right now I have gathered enough to see the foundation and there is nothing more motivating than that.

Keep going. You are more than enough and more than worthy to have everything you want in this life. And so am I. ❤ ❤

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay