there are no saviors
I'm really too angry and hurt and sad to write. Like a parallel parking dance, I pull up, sidle to the curb, feel too crooked, too close, too much ... and back out and wait for another space to show up when I might feel more capable.
Connection with you, dear reader, resonates, but much of what I'm experiencing is due to someone else's story that I cannot throw out there in the public domain. It is my story as much as theirs and that is why this ache I'm experiencing sinks down to my bones.
My current personal emotional space turns on a longing for someone to reach out to me with the kind of empathy that is so very palpable and lands smack dab into my heart.
Conversely, I also isolate myself, knowing that my capacity to show up reciprocally for those beyond my family is a bit broken right now. I have that aching, failing part of me wrapped in gauze and try to keep it soothed, but it's currently in the way of letting me thrust myself into the lane of frivolous, light-hearted connection.
Many times it paralyzes my ability to reach out to those who need loving compassion as well.
That concept clicked an “a-ha” for me today ...
It made me think about how, in the chaotic world we are living in, maybe all those people who aren't showing up are, themselves, simply holding on. You know, the ones we can judge about not being there for us.
When we are gripping tightly to the side of the cliff, we are in save yourself mode. If we don't keep our bloody, raw, weeping hands clenched, holding on, or if we look around much, or peer below, into the abyss, veering outside of our save yourself mode, we may just accidentally let go and lose ourselves.
I'm blown away at the folks out there who can write out/communicate about their issues that involve others' stories that are affecting them greatly; I'm in awe.
Having confidentiality! mortared into my lifelong career, I'm always striving to stay in my lane. This was a particular challenge when I was writing my memoir through the lens of death. Tapping into the vulnerability of deep sharing, I had a renewed respect for those who laid it all out there in their books. That vulnerability is the main reason my second book, and then the stars spoke ..., has not yet been released. The book that my writer/editor friend thinks was the best of the two.
As I work on my personal what lies beneath, I realize that part of my history is also rising up and tweaking, daring, that sense of vulnerability. For instance, in that book I've constructed a pathway of outing trauma that had long been closeted within our family. The door is opened wide enough for the light to be let in a bit, but nowhere close to fully unfurled— far too vulnerable for so many reasons, some I haven’t even fully excavated yet.
As we head into the holidays, I'd like to fa-la-la an extra stocking load of understanding into each and everyone of us. We know the holidays are certain to bring the deep and difficult feelings out as well as challenge our capacity for showing up for others.
I'm trying to remind myself that the folks I'm close to and feel a need to connect with surrounding my current reality have also had so much going on themselves, they are doing the one-day-at-a-time-shuffle.
And honestly, deaths outside of covid that would have happened anyway keep on happening; there will always be grief showing up.
The pandemic that is currently swelling its bellows with a big "I'm not dead yet" breath when we hoped upon hope we were at the bedside of its death, continues to have an ongoing deep impact on us all.
The hard never stops showing up to our town, as much as we beg for a good long gap. ((please and thank you))
Maybe one day I'll be able to share my deeply layered current story, but most likely not. And with that I'm reminded of the countless stories you all hold and may remain locked tightly within yourself. I hope you can bring yourself to take them off of the shelf and muddle through their pages during the times you need it most.
More importantly? I hope that you can recognize when it’s best for your tender system to put the story back on the shelf and focus on what makes you come alive in this very moment.
My current answer is to keep my grip steady and work on the road repairs in my own lane. This is a time that is requiring some excavation of deeply seated history and current day happenings, and the co-mingling of the two.
Thoughts for these times:
There are no saviors. We must do our own personal work. No "healer" is the cure. Anything remotely resembling a cure lies within us. Follow the people that teach you ways to facilitate your own path of recovery. There are no magic wands where we lie still and come off the table cured.
Commit only to what you have the capacity to show up for during this season. If you struggle with that, consider having a rehearsed line to use so you don't feel put on the spot.
If you have excess personal energy and feel the desire to connect, consider having a gathering with selected folk who have also had a difficult run of it and see where the story telling and connection leads. Consider a circle with a talking stick, giving everyone a chance to share their heart's hard, something that might not feel socially appropriate in other circles.
Breathe into releasing the obligation to show up for others while recommitting to showing up for yourself.
If you know a family gathering is going to push all the buttons, such as having you reach for a drink or substance you don't want or be exposed to a toxically angry personality (et al.), listen to those cues and graciously excuse yourself. "I'm not feeling well enough," is neither a lie in those instances, or anyone's business to force you to share further.
A personal mountain I'm climbing is unconditional acceptance that the shit-shows of life will continue to write their own chapters rendering me forced to sometimes only barely be able to hold on to the bucking tantruming bronco of life. It's unrealistic to think the ride will only be in the peaceful pastures.
May I accept, even expect, that the hard may come to town when we least expect it, while fearlessly enjoying the in-between.
Happy whatever it is you may be celebrating ...
On this page you can find my latest podcast episode acknowledging the five year birthday of this project. It's a little history, a little of where I'm at with the project and life, and what to expect moving forward. A quick link is just here. As always, thanks for listening.
I have two new books to recommend by some amazing women I'm connected to through life and through the project. They've both been guests on our podcast.
I highly recommend Margo Fowkes new book for organizations or anyone working with other humans, Leading through Loss. I can't say enough about it and how much it is needed as a reframe surrounding grief and also how the way we support people in their work settings directly correlates to job satisfaction and the end product of their labor.
You can hear Margo on Episode 82:
Here is a link to her book
The next book is by Dawn Picken who was also on the podcast. Dawn and I were introduced by a mutual Illinois friend when we landed in New Zealand in 2011, a year after her husband had died and she’d taken her two young children and travelled the world. She stayed in NZ and so did we. We’ve become family over the last decade and have hung off more than a few cliffs together (hearkening to the above plethora of metaphor). You can hear her episode here:
Here is a link to her book:
With that my friends— I bid you farewell, until next time. Be kind to yourself.
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