I've been in a crazy place, lately.
Crazy good. I've been having breakthrough after breakthrough and while it's dizzying, it's perfect. I wouldn't change it. I've been climbing out of an old skin for two years now and it definitely hasn't been easy. And there were days, there still are, when I lose my cool and want to retreat back into who I was. Throw my hands up. That inner-voice turns judgmental and makes me want to just give in, stop this whole "self-improvement nonsense."
It's tempting. But the problem is, once I began to see my world differently, again, it became impossible to go back. And this work has many names, many labels. Don't let that derail you, either, you can call it whatever you want: spiritual growth, psychoanalysis, self-actualization. Attach religion, attach science. It's really all the same, we just sub in different cues and guideposts and ideas to help us along.
But the work...is ours alone. And that's the biggest realization, and sometimes the hardest.
We go on thanking people, swooning, being inspired, and all the rest, which is nice, but here's the thing: I am...the only one who sees what's in my mind. I have a singular worldview, my own interpretations of stimuli that cross my mind's eye and experience, based on who I am, what I've seen and done, in my Life. It's my choice in how to interpret every event in my Life, from minutiae to the mountains I climb, both literal and figurative. This is mind-blowing. it's me. It's always been me. Wow... all of it. This idea scares people, but it can be crazy-freeing. Being responsible.
That said, I did this work, and I continue to do it. I had friends and well-wishers and so on, when I asked for help, who have been incredible. I had people who I thought meant well, and really didn't. So, I learned to be more discerning and less trusting. And then there were the "intrusive helpers." We all know this type: they mean well, and play devil's advocate, and make your Life and experiences about them. Some people call them haters. And I've been there, not wanting to address my own stuff, so I tried to help others. I get it now, from both angles. I don't judge, because I've been in that mindset, too. So, if it comes from an honest place, I let it be. It's never a mistake to offer kindness, Love, and support.
But here's something valuable that I've learned:
How to Help Someone
1. Ask if they want your help.
2. Ask how best to help them.
3. Give more or pull back, based on their direct feedback.
Anything that's NOT this, isn't help. It's manipulation.
A hard truth, but a necessary one. And the freedom, in letting all of that go, in designing our own lives, our own experiences, our own directions and goals and dreams...is an amazing feeling. It can be scary to rely on our own steam; our own choices. But I'd have it no other way, at this point.
This awakening process, for me, is more about stripping things away and letting go of things, than about accumulating the new. It's maddening, it's liberating, it's life changing. it's feeling as though you're getting closer to something on the "path," only to find you've been hiding up a tree for a month. And getting back out there. In there. Because this is all inner work, really.
Chasing horses. Exhausting, yet thrilling. Will I catch one? I don't know. But to run: free, inspired, wild, unleashed. This is why I do it. "The journey is the gift."
Co-parenting. Even for the most well-adjusted, cooperating people... some nights are hard when you're away. Missing my little boy SO much tonight. It's a hard thing to explain to people. So I don't. But everyone knows what missing something feels like, even if it's a dog or a favorite gadget.
It's the stark and obvious absence of something that takes up so much room in your heart and mind. It's a real thing. It's a valid thing. We're supposed to feel their absence, it's part of what makes us human. Yet, we don't like to complain, right? Good vibes only, and all that. So, we smush it down, inside, and then start bawling like a psycho when Can't Stop the Feeling or Dance With Me Tonight comes on, because you do your morning dance parties to those songs. There's a fully loaded arsenal of emotions that can rush over like a wave... because it's just hard to be away from your kids. It just is, of course it is.
How often I put that away and distract myself, to "stay up." Positive. Well, friends, I am positive and grateful for all that's good, but I still have these waves sometimes. But I'm choosing to write this post, do some late-night meditating, and go to sleep. Instead of Drs Ben and Jerry, because I've made promises to myself about that. And that's hard too, giving comfort foods up. Giving smoking up was hard. A lot of it is hard. Anxiety is hard. Starting over is hard. Empty rooms at night are hard. That pit inside that aches for distraction and shimmers and entertainment and denial, is hard to ignore.
It's so easy, isn't it? Avoidance. Never works, it just doesn't. I know from experience. Pain is real and needs to be acknowledged, understood, brought to Light...and healed.
How do I deal with that? I get girly and submit: I cry, good and hard, with a runny nose and tears and all of it. I breathe, deep, over and over. I read snippets of good, heart-reaching books. I listen to empowering women who walk their talk. I listen to myself. I breathe some more. And I remember how much I've fought through, already. And those were big, scary, life-threatening things that demanded sacrifice, time, deep prayer, and a will to survive. So feelings? Yeah. I got this.
"Oh honey. It's just a wave." 🌊🌊🌊 And did you forget? You know "the heart of Life is good." Music, healing, quiet.
Sometimes, just giving attention, to those "monsters," that big bad scary feeling...can vanquish it. But wow, when I'm in, I don't know that. I only know the anxiety, the creeping feeling that something isn't right, that I feel unsteady, and that I should keep moving. But not always. Not always. Sometimes, stillness is what's called for. Allowing the mysterious emotions to surface, naming them, and letting them float back into the ether.
Emotions... are teachers. And on the other side of them, is wisdom and perseverance. Grateful for friends with flashlights, because we can't always see. xo