Why Did I Publish That?

When I published my last post, “The Soft Spot Between A Rock and A Hard Place,” I felt good. Relieved even. Instead of faking it and pretending ‘I’m fine,’ I shared how hard things have been lately. I was proud of myself for being that open, that vulnerable, that raw. It wasn’t easy to admit those things, but I thought they needed to be said.

And then it happened. I didn’t get any feedback. No comments, or thoughts, or ‘I can’t believe you just said that’. A few ‘Likes’, but other than that, no feedback at all, really. (For the purpose of clarity, the comment on my previous post came after I’d already written, but not published, the post you’re reading now.)

Suddenly the voices in my head were on a mission and self-doubt was their goal. “You shouldn’t have admitted those things. You should be more positive. No one cares about your problems. Quit whining. You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.” And on and on…until I wondered why I started this blog in the first place.

Here’s how it normally goes down. I think, I write, I pour my heart out on the page, I post…and then that thought creeps in. “What will people think of me?” I want to be honest and open. That is the purpose of this blog, after all. But there’s honest…and then there’s ‘haven’t showered in three days honest.’ And I’m guessing that second one is a little too messy for some people. Who admits that sort of thing, anyway?

I do.

Because sometimes life is hard. I’m not going to deny that. And sometimes I cry and fall apart and feel sorry for myself. And then I pick myself up and keep going. Because giving up is not an option. But pretending I’m fine when I’m not is not okay either. It’s a balance. There are highs and there are lows. You can’t have one without the other. That’s just the natural rhythm of things.

Here’s what I believe. Life is not meant to be happy, up, positive all the time. Especially if those feelings aren’t real. Life is meant to be peaceful. And that peace comes in accepting that sometimes things are hard and they suck and we struggle. Because that’s what helps us grow. And learning to be with the difficult times is what makes those joy-filled moments oh so much sweeter!

As Elizabeth Lesser wrote in her book, Broken Open, “How odd that if we reject what is painful, we find only more pain, but if we embrace what is within us–if we peer fearlessly into the shadows–we stumble upon the light.”

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

The Soft Spot Between A Rock and A Hard Place

Lately I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread. I’m tired. So tired. My house is a mess, we’re running out of clean dishes and counter space to stack the dirty ones, and I haven’t had a shower since Thursday. Thursday!

Often it feels like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I’m single so I have to work to support my son and myself. That’s a given. I left my last job after 11 years because it was so stressful. I didn’t enjoy working there. When I got my current job almost two years ago, I thought I’d found the answer. Something I would enjoy doing while I figured out my passion. Three months in I was so exhausted by the end of each day, all I could do was crash on my couch. I hoped it would get better. It didn’t.

The intensity, the pressure, and the long hours finally got the better of me. As many of you know, in May I was diagnosed was diagnosed with Adrenal Exhaustion. The only way to heal myself is to eat better, get more sleep, and lower my stress level. I was on board. Good health is important. And I was so tired of feely lousy.

So in June I announced I’d be leaving my soul-sucking job by the end of the summer. I felt optimistic, as always, that I’d find something better. But it’s October. And I’m still here. I applied for jobs and got no interviews. I put together a website as an online resume and beefed up my LinkedIn profile. I reached out to people I’d like to work with. While I’ve gotten some response and met some really great people, no opportunities have materialized.

So I decided to shift gears. In September I finished the life coach training course I’d been taking since January. I was ready to take on the world! I started put myself out there as a coach. But I have to be honest. Building a business seems daunting on those days when I don’t even have the energy to make my personal hygiene a priority.

This has been vaguely reminiscent of a time in my life when depression was my constant companion. When just getting through the day was the best I could do. And I feel guilty because I’m so exhausted I sometimes take it out on my 15 year old son, Kyle. When I’m feeling really frustrated with my situation, I’m not as patient as I’d like to be. There’s only so much of me to go around and he sometimes gets the short end of the stick. In those moments I feel scared and weak and small.

But the one difference I can see between those early days in the dark cloud of depression and now, is hope. The most devastating part of depression for me was the utter hopelessness that I would never be happy again. And even though I have no idea how this is all going to turn out, I know it my heart something good is on its way.

The soft spot is hope. And that hopefulness keeps me moving forward. As long as I keep moving toward my goals, I have succeeded. I only fail if I give up.

Some days I just fall apart out of sheer frustration. And some days I recognize the smallest thing that holds it all together. The nights I actually do cook dinner instead of getting take out. The days I take a shower and get dressed. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but some days you have to take the small wins. Some days, the small wins are all you’ve got.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

Leaning Into Pain | Take 2

This is one of the first things I wrote and posted publicly on Facebook in January 2011. I’ve been thinking alot about the lengths we’ll go to in order to avoid anything we perceive as negative. But pain is really not a negative. It’s just the other side of joy. And you can’t have one without the other. So I’m reposting this because I think it’s worth saying again. The pain will not kill you, even though it might seem that way at the time. If you let yourself feel it, really feel it, one day you will discover you had the capacity for it all along.

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I have been experiencing a fair amount of pain these days. Not that occasional out of sorts, down in the dumps kind of feeling. But a gut wrenching, tear your heart out and stomp on it kind of thing. I won’t pretend it’s been easy…it hasn’t. And there are days I don’t know how I’m going to keep moving forward. But I do; and this experience has helped me look at pain in a whole new way.

Up until now, I have had two ways of dealing with the inevitable pain that life throws at us from time to time. One way was to hurtle myself into a deep, dark depression. A place of hopelessness and despair where I feared I would never feel happy again. The other was trying to get rid of the pain by pushing it away, stuffing it down, numbing it, fighting it or running from it. I’ll be honest…neither of these were great options. Because I never allowed myself to feel the pain in a way that could ultimately heal my heart.

This time around I’ve discovered a whole new way of being with pain. Whenever those moments of overwhelming sadness start to wash over me like the waves of the ocean, I simply lean into it. That’s all…just lean in. I don’t try to figure out what its here to teach me; or what I’m supposed to be learning from all this. I don’t try to talk myself out of my pain. I simply move toward it. I lean in and rest my head on its shoulder like a long lost friend. I cry until the tears are gone and the wave moves through me.

This isn’t to say, it doesn’t hurt or it’s not difficult. It’s just a different way of relating to pain. I’m accepting these feelings as a natural part of grieving any kind of loss. And I’m allowing myself to feel what I feel and trying not to judge myself for it. As with everything, it’s a work in progress and is often two steps forward, one step back. As Stephanie St Claire so beautifully put it, ‎”Sometimes you have to take it on blind faith that your heart is healing. It may not feel like the pain is going away. You might still cry just as hard as ever. But strength, confidence, and wisdom grow invisibly and you must trust that it is there. Rock the world Steel Magnolias!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.