A Little Secret

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I’m going to let you all in on a little secret, a secret that keeps me stuck in more ways than I can decipher even for myself somedays. I experience massive anxiety most days. I’ve always leaned towards being an introvert, but the anxiety I’ve experienced in varying ways since Russell died leaves me wishing desperately somedays I could be a hermit, on a beach, talking to no one for days on end.

When I’m with people I love being with them, especially if it’s my kids. When I talk to people on the phone I love the conversations. But, I’m not going to lie, I could seriously be alone in my house for a VERY long time before feeling any desire to talk to anyone. And it can take A LOT of psyching myself up for even one interaction.

I don’t feel the anxiety until I know I’m about to leave the house or make the phone call. And the anxiety eases fairly quickly once I’m actually engaged in conversation with someone. When I’m experiencing it, it’s like trying to walk through quicksand with wader boots filled with concrete. Some periods of time are worse than others but it can shift randomly. But always it’s there waiting to invite me deeper into silent aloneness.

Most of the quotes and memes I share each day are what I NEED to read just to keep myself moving. I WILL create my best life and my biggest obstacle is myself.

I’ve got this and so do you!

Time Outs

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Sometimes there can be no words. Or at least no adequate words to say to someone when a curve ball of life has been thrown at them.  Especially if it is someone who’s black and blue already from trying to dodge a lot. In those times when yet one more thing has happened all we can do is be there, give them a hug, and walk alongside them.

I’m also learning that during these times of dodging and weaving I need to step away for a while to regroup and re-center myself before I try to engage too much with people around.  Take a quick time out isn’t just for little kids who’ve done something they weren’t supposed to do.  Time outs give us a chance to say to the world “I just can’t right now. Give me a few minutes to reset my brain, my heart, and my body.”

As adults we often think we need to just suck it up and keep moving.  Allowing ourselves to take a time out can leave some of us (me for sure sometimes) feeling weak and ineffective.  However I’m coming to realize that time outs are one of the easiest, best ways for us to put our self-care and our health first.  It is 100% okay to say we need to focus on our own needs first.  If we don’t do it, no one else will for us.

I’m doing a bit of dodging and weaving this weekend as is Kateri and a few others within our Avalon community. I’m betting there are a lot of folks out there dodging and weaving things being thrown at them quickly and out of nowhere.  I am encouraging us all to take time outs when we feel our inner stress level rising.  Stop, go to a quiet place, take some deep cleansing breaths, and let go.  As we allow ourselves to just settle into the moment, not trying to figure out the future in any way shape or form, perhaps we can settle into a calmer, more grounded space,  At least that is my hope my myself and all of us.

All will be well and all is well!

It is time

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This morning I opened a door, a very thick steel, doubly locked door that I’ve kept locked up inside of myself ever since Russell was in the hospital.   As that door unlocked and then flew open a flood as fierce as a tsunami wave crashed over me.  I was left sputtering as I felt battered about by waves of grief, guilt, and questions flooding over and over me.  All I could do was sit and cry as memories of the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life flashed back into my heart and mind.

I dropped temporarily (okay for most of the day) back into Cuckoo Luckoo Land – the place in which up is down, in is out, black is purple, and absolutely everything is turned inside out.  It’s been months since I traveled even a little in that land.  As my healing has continued I’ve been walking new paths of joy, staying in the moment, gratitude and celebrating what is right in my world rather than focusing on what no longer is.   But today my breath caught in my chest as I tried to not panic with the waves inside tossing me around.  I actually almost thought of running out of the house at one point before I just sat down, dove into the dark places and allowed myself to remember and feel it all.

Behind that steel door that I’ve kept carefully locked was the memory of having to make the decision to let Russell go.     But today there was nothing that was going to keep that door from opening.    As it opened I pictured it all: the rooms I sat in, the people there, the feelings of being both hot and cold at the same time, the mri scans, the papers explaining the process, and finally the paperwork that I had to sign.   While I had several people who were part of all the conversations and second opinions and asking questions and more conversations,  it was I who had to be the one to say the words and sign my name stating “It is time.”    There has never been anything harder that I have had to do.   And I pray that I never, ever have to be the one who has to make such a decision again in my life.

Tonight I sat with a dear friend as she sought guidance and information about making the decision to let go of her horse who has gone blind and we believe has tumors that are causing a steady decline in his overall health.  Thinking this morning about how I could best walk with her during this difficult time was the key that I somehow placed into that carefully locked steel door allowing the door to a secret, dark place in my heart to come into the light.

It is not the first time since Russell died that I’ve walked with others as a loved one was dying, but it is the first time since he died that I’ve chosen to walk the whole way there from the decision “It is time” until the end which will happen in a few weeks.   It is the first time that I’ve realized I still have guilt and worries around the decisions that were made 16 months ago.  I realize now there is a new area ready for my focused attention and healing.

I also realized throughout the course of my day riding the waves and trying to not drown in them, that while I still am not sure I will ever feel competent as a manager of a horse farm again (or at least not anytime soon), I do feel a very deep calling to walk with people as they seek to understand their own lives.  As I held space for my friend, talking with her about what she most needed on this final journey with her horse, I knew to the depths of my being that this is part of what I am meant to do, walk along with people through their joys, their sorrows and their own explorations of the dark places inside themselves.    Somehow in those moments I am able to let go of my own ego, my own baggage, my own fears and simply breathe with love as I hold sacred space for their journey.    This grieving, healing, loving work is what I seek to create as we build a sanctuary room at Avalon.   I think I am meant to find more ways to help people walk with both the light and the dark.

I didn’t really even know I had such a strong door locked away inside of me, but I think it was time to be opened so that I can heal and clear the next layer that needs healing.   I’m going to keep walking my path, living it out loud, and hope that I do more good than harm to those I meet along the way.  As always – in this time, this moment I try to just breathe and love.