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.

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.

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.