I’m gonna lay it out there. I have been feeling seriously sad and unmotivated. My body is dragging, my mind is scattered. I’ve been moving from one horizontal position to another. Utterly engulfed in heartache from the tragic loss of our family dog, who was much more than just a dog to us. She was a joyful, loving presence, one we treasured even more deeply than we already knew.
No one can really warn you about grief. Everyone has their own unique dance with her. She spun me around until I couldn’t stand or eat for a few days and then she began doing the tidal wave on me, bringing me to my knees, unable to ignore the hole in my heart at the most inopportune moments.
Most of my life, I didn’t have time to grieve. I had to get on the next plane or bus ride to the next show, in order to put a smile on my face and perform for thousands of people. I’ve long locked grief inside the crevices of my soul case, yet never knowing it was grief I had locked away until I actually allowed myself to feel it this time around. In feeling it, I realized that I had just allowed for the dam inside to break open. The grief that is present now, feels both current and ancient. Of course, I’m still grieving the loss of our beloved Eveie, but there’s so much more than that, that has been rising. Which lead me to exploring just what “that” might be.
I began to think back to all the losses of my life, from the deaths of loved ones to divorce, my parents and my own. I realized that I have experienced a lot of loss in my 36 years. Loss that I never processed. Loss that I’m still carrying deep in my bones.
We live in a world where we’ve never been taught to take time and nurture our emotional landscape. To honor and respect our emotions as messengers of our truth. We are constantly fed this idea that we are supposed to be happy all of the time and if we aren’t, there is something wrong with us. And God forbid we take longer than a few weeks or months to get over the loss of someone or something dear to us. We must pick ourselves up and get on with life because we must achieve, we must get back to happy as soon as possible.
NO! This is not how it is nor how it has to be. We were created to feel the full spectrum of the human experience. When we rush through these moments of our lives, important moments, rights of passage, we miss the gifts, teachings and wisdom that are ours to carry with us out of the darkness.
During the loss of our dog, I found myself saying “I should be over this” after two weeks. Thankfully, I have cultivated enough self compassion and LovE for my own sensitive heart to quiet that voice, give myself the space to feel and re-examine my programming around the idea of how much time is acceptable and “right” to feel… all of it! I am the one, now teaching myself how to feel the totality of my emotional range. How to sit with discomfort and LovE myself through it instead of running away or numbing it out. I’m teaching myself how to honor my truth and beautiful souls, it’s not an easy feat.
Honoring my truth has looked like more rest, crying whenever needed, voicing my sadness and internal experience to those whom I trust, taking turns with my husband holding one another and allowing the other to sob, rescheduling commitments, telling people I love them, but I don’t feel like talking at the moment, writing only when I felt ready, instead of worrying that March may get away from me and I must get my newsletter out. Though, there’s one piece of my truth puzzle that I am still working on completely honoring and that is my anger.
It has surprised me how much anger exists along side of grief, at least in my experience and I know I’m not alone. Anger has been an emotion I have been fearful of my entire life. Growing up in a home where anger was unhealthily expressed, I shut down my own anger in order not to upset anyone, in fear of that anger being turned on me. My little mind filed anger away as a very dangerous, shameful emotion, not to be expressed. I grew up completely out of touch with my anger and in fear of anyone else’s. Only recently, have I been able to access my anger in a healthier way. Beginning with, actually acknowledging its existence and then, working on baby steps of taking action to express it in a productive manner, instead of turning it inward on myself. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting warmer. One vulnerable moment and 10 seconds of courage at a time.
So, are you honoring your truth?
What part of your emotional experience do you try and force down or numb out?
What beliefs are holding you back from expressing the full range of your emotions?
What’s one small step you can take in honoring your truth right now?
What’s one area of your life where you can practice courage in expressing an emotion you have yet to express?
I see you all.
I LovE you.