Here Comes Goodbye

Image source: music7seven.com

Image source: music7seven.com

I’ve been contemplating what I would write about next. I always have several ideas brewing, just waiting for the time to be right. As I poured over those ideas though, none of them incited that feeling of urgency. When a thought, belief or idea wants to be written about, it just won’t leave me alone. It nags at me, following me around like a toddler tugging at my shirttails. I had several options that were interesting (at least to me); things that have been mulling around in my brain. But none of them were begging for my attention, jumping up and down shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!”

Until now.

The weather has been beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest and I decided to go outside for a walk. Earlier this week I searched for, and finally found, my pink iPod Shuffle. I love how light and easy it is to just clip on and go, but I haven’t used it in quite a while. It was a gift from my previous boyfriend for our first (and only) anniversary on June 9, 2010. I had completely forgotten that date was significant until just this moment. If you’ve been following me at all, you know how devastating that breakup was.

I haven’t been using my iPod for a couple reasons. First, music touches me deeply and I know some of the songs on there are from when we were together. I was afraid to relive those memories and the emotions they might invoke. Second, it’s something tangible that he held in his hands and the music on it is from his collection; music he thought I would enjoy. So in some ways, even though it’s an inanimate object, after all this time it still feels like a link to him.

But I was ready to let go of that fear. After all, I just wanted to use the damn iPod! So I put in my earbuds and turned it on. And the first song that played was “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts.

I don’t think I’d ever heard this song before. I didn’t even know it was on there. But the moment I heard the words, “Here comes goodbye,” I felt that old, familiar sadness well up in my chest as tears filled my eyes.

“Here comes the last time
Here comes the start of every sleepless night
The first of every tear I’m gonna cry
Here comes the pain
Here comes me wishing things had never changed
And s[he] was right here in my arms tonight, but here comes goodbye”

My reaction was completely unexpected and I don’t think I could’ve stopped it if I tried. Before I knew it I was on my knees, my body heaving with sobs of pain I didn’t even know were waiting there. My heart felt heavy, as though it were made of lead, and the feeling of it rose in my chest until it almost choked me.

“Why does it have to go from good to gone?
Before the lights turn on, yeah and you’re left alone
All alone, but here comes goodbye”

I listened to the song twice and just let the pain wash over me. I didn’t resist it or make it wrong. And then, just as quickly as it had appeared, it moved through me and was gone. Surprised, I dried my tears, went for my walk and went about the rest of my day with unexpected relief.

In that moment I realized why most of us resist feeling our pain. We’re afraid if we let it in it will never go away. We believe that if we let it catch us, it will somehow get us in a strangle hold from which we won’t be able to escape. So we run from it, resist it, stuff it down, numb it out. But the truth is pain, like any other emotion, just wants to be felt; to be greeted with open arms so it can move through us. It’s only when we fight it that it gets stuck.

Many people have tried to tell me I just needed to get over it….I needed closure. And even some of those who didn’t say it out loud were thinking it. I could tell. But not wanting me to feel pain was more about them and less about me.

I don’t believe in closure and I wrote about that in a previous post here. Pain and sadness resulting from a devastating loss is not something to be gotten over or moved past. Grief is something to be felt and embraced…to live in harmony with. It will come and it will go…sometimes when you least expect it. But it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Perhaps that moment of pain is your loved one saying, “I’m here and I will always be a part of you.” And next time, instead of resisting it, you’ll pull it in close, wrap your arms around it, and hold it like a child until it’s ready to be on its way.

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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.

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The Winter of My Discontent

I’m sitting in my living room with the sun streaming through the window. It feels warm on my face and I close my eyes in an effort to take it in fully, soak it up, hold onto it. This is a rare moment of peace these days. A moment when it feels like things are going to be okay. There’s room to breath. The sun is shining…all is well in the world.

This has been—and may continue to be—‘the winter of my discontent.’ (I’m sure Shakespeare will be cool with me borrowing that line from “Richard III”.) But for those of us on the positive thinking track, it appears negative, ungrateful, destructive. Many days I have shut myself off from the world believing I should feel better. Other times I’ve written about it and then felt guilty for focusing on it. Truthfully I’m just trying to learn how to navigate—an ultimately accept—this is a part of my life.

As early as middle school I can remember having these feelings—fear, anxiety, depression–and wondering what was wrong with me. In my 20s and 30s I took anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to quell the thoughts and feelings that seemed too dark to face. But taking medication to ‘fix’ the problem left me feeling like there was something wrong with me. So I stopped. It’s been almost 14 years since I used those drugs to get through the difficult times.

But something else has happened; something more insidious than the low moods themselves. Over the years and in the reading of self-help books too numerous to count, I am back to believing there is something wrong with me; that I need to be fixed.

I do believe positive thinking can be vey helpful. I’ve seen it in my own life. But the downside of taking positive thinking too far is that when I’m feeling angry, fearful, frustrated, or sad, I beat myself up. Mentally and emotionally I kick my own ass. And I gotta tell you…it’s exhausting!

What do we say to someone who’s feeling down? “I hope you feel better soon,” right? Because we believe (myself included) that ‘feeling better’ is the goal. But what if ‘better’ is part of the continuum between suffering and joy? Neither one of those states is superior to the other. They are equal participants in the human condition. What if we could say instead, “I love you no matter how you feel and I’m here if you need someone to listen”? What if we (and by we I mean I) could be more accepting? Especially of those feelings that are uncomfortable to us.

Moods are just like the tides…they follow nature’s rhythm. Sometimes they’re high, sometimes they’re low. But you don’t think there’s something wrong with the ocean just because the tide is out. And if it feels like it’s been low tide for far too long, don’t worry. High tide will return when it’s supposed to. In the meantime, think of all the treasures there are to discover when the tide is out—seashells, creatures of all kinds, the occasional message in a bottle.

The treasure I have found is writing.

Writing, for me, has become a way to talk about the things I don’t really know how to deal with. It’s also my way of finding ‘my people.’ Not as a vehicle to commiserate or feel sorry for myself. But just to feel heard and understood. This is how I can do something constructive with what I’ve learned; how I can help those who have similar struggles and feel like no one understands them. I write about my life to say, “I get you…and there’s nothing wrong with you.”

Like me, you may be sensitive and not realize it, feel things more deeply than other people and not know why. That’s okay. Really.

For most of my life I’ve tried to understand what I thought was wrong with me so I could fix it and be like other people I’ve admired. But now I’m taking a different approach. I’m learning to find more acceptance and love for myself. To be honest about what I’m feeling or thinking and not force it to be any different. To realize this is the way I am and I don’t need to apologize for it. It might not always be pretty or seem ‘in control’, and that’s just fine.

The irony is in accepting the parts of myself I’ve worked so diligently to fix, I realize more and more there was nothing wrong with me to begin with. And in the wise words of The Beatles…I’m learning to “Let it be.”

**This post is in memory of Debbie Ford who taught me to accept all of me…the good and the bad, the light and the dark. She believed our gifts are in the shadows. And it is only in accepting the whole of who we are that we will really become all that we are meant to be. I am forever grateful for that lesson and for the many other ways she changed my life. Wherever you are, Debbie, I hope you realize the impact you have made on the world. But most of all I hope you know how much you are loved.**

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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.

Be Where You’re At

okayPerhaps the title of this post should be “Take Your Own Damn Advice!” I’ve actually written about this recently in my post, “Go On…Have a Bad Day.” But as much as I know this and would advise a friend to do it, turns out I’m not very good at doing it myself.

I have several go to phrases I use when someone is having a difficult time:

“Be where you’re at.”

“You’ll be done with it when you’re done with it.”

“The only way out is through.”

These are not platitudes to me. I really believe them and I think they are helpful when one is up to their eyeballs in resistance. They are reminders to stay present; to not judge yourself. To feel your feelings rather than try to numb, stuff, or ignore them. The problem is it’s not always easy to practice what I preach.

I’ve been feeling down. Unmotivated. Kind of a general malaise. Not for any reason in particular; at least not one that comes to mind. But I’ve been judging myself for it.

As a new life coach trying to navigate my way through building a practice and honing my skills, I’ve found coaching myself to be difficult at times. I have a whole new set of judgments. “A ‘good’ life coach would be more positive. How can I coach other people when I can’t even get my shit together?” And the ever popular, “How do I expect to get what I want out of life when I feel like crap?”

So there I am…fighting how I feel. Feeling stuck…and miserable.

And then I started to cry.

I was sitting in meditation when this feeling of sadness came over me. I’d actually felt it several times over the past couple of days, but I tried to ignore it. I told myself I didn’t have any reason to be sad, so I pushed the feeling away. But as I sat there and let it be without judgment, the tears began to fall.

When I allowed myself to feel the sadness an interesting thing happened. The tightness in my chest eased up…just a bit. The dark cloud that had been looming over me felt a little lighter. I suddenly felt like writing again.

The message here? Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend…with love and compassion. Drop the judgments and feel what you feel.

Well, at least that’s the message for me today. If it resonates, then maybe it’s the message for you too.

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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.

Go On…Have A Bad Day

Source: shinyfortheshow

Source: shinyfortheshow

I’m feeling down today. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t have any energy or motivation. I don’t want to sit in front of my computer. And I’m having a hard time being okay with that.

I’ve been reading other people’s Facebook posts and emails about planning and goal setting and making big changes in 2013 and I’m comparing myself. The ‘shoulds’ are out in full force:

  • I should work on my coaching business
  • I should get to my To Do’s
  • I should be encouraging others
  • I should feel fine
  • I should make plans before the week gets away from me
  • I should get dressed (at the very least)

Yesterday I gave myself a day to do nothing. I was tired from all the holiday hubbub and needed to rest. My system is so run down, I have to be extra careful how I expend my energy. So I laid on the couch all day watching TV. It was lovely! And I thought if I gave myself permission to do that, I would be raring to go today.

But I’m not.

Last night as it got dark out, I plugged in the lights on the Christmas tree. I love how they twinkle and sparkle. It feels so magical. But for whatever reason, the lights didn’t work. I’m not sure what happened since they had worked every day up to this point. And it sort of feels like a metaphor for how I’m feeling. For some reason, my internal lights won’t turn on right now either.

This morning as I sat drinking my coffee and looking out the window, I felt a deep sadness. Tears welled up in my eyes and I let them fall. I didn’t realize until that moment I needed to cry. And even as I write this the tears start to come again.

As I think about what message I want to share with you today, it’s the message I most need to hear myself. That it’s okay to feel bad…even when things are going well. You can have a good life and still miss the pieces and parts that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped. You can have a wonderful holiday with friends and family and still miss the one who left a hole in your heart.

I know the more I resist this, the more of a hold it will have on me. And judging myself is just another way of resisting. So I’m letting myself have a ‘bad’ day, knowing it won’t last forever. I’m learning to accept whatever this moment brings me.

For me and for you…sometimes there’s a reason we feel down and sometimes there isn’t one. You don’t need to figure it out. You just need to feel what you feel.

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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.