The decade of my 20s was INTENSE for me, marked by the painful loss of a particular religious worldview and the simultaneous unraveling and awkwardization of the identity, relationships, and future I had long attached myself to. I felt like Neo in the Matrix a LOT.
And my approach to all of those changes was to meet them head-on. There was a feeling of inevitability about them that I decided, because of my intense discomfort with them, could be sped up by not running away. I found a fantastic therapist, some wonderful mentors, and set up shop for nearly 10 years as One Who Works Through Shit.
By the time I reached 30, however, I had not only worked through a lot of things internally, but I was SO TIRED of that work. I was ready to shift gears dramatically from deconstruction to construction, from constantly focusing on who I WASN’T anymore to who I WAS. Or, far more simply…to shift into what it meant to just BE.
Which turned out to be great timing, because that’s when parenthood burst into my life and my space for reflection and introspection got swallowed whole by the work of caring for my son, and two years later, my daughter, too.
My son is 7 1/2 now, my daughter 5, and while time for reflection has slowly increased with their ages, I’ve realized this fall and winter that whatever closing-off I did at age 30 – of the deep dark work I had done in my 20s, of the grief from all those losses that simply couldn’t be rushed through, of my journalling habit and therapy sessions – that closing-off has run its course.
It served me well for many years; I made it through the really super challenging (for me) years of parenting babies and toddlers; I dreamed up and launched a business into which I can pour the insights and ideas that got seeded through my 20s and early 30s; and I’ve learned to juggle LOTS, to experience just how far my body/mind/spirit can be stretched in multiple directions.
But I feel the parts of me that have been pushed largely aside these last years saying, “Honey. Honey, it’s time. Your wholeness and your capacity to do the work that’s yours to do both need you to open to us ALL.”
I’m humbled by my capacity to lug around the self-perception of one who faces her darkness head-on through more than seven years of turning away from it.
But for whatever reason (grace…), I feel kindness toward this me of these last years – this me who needed a break from deep dives and who did what she could to love herself and those in her care. This me who is tired, now, of avoiding grief. And quite honestly, tired of avoiding a type of surrender that feels more potent, more charged with power, than I care to admit. (Who KNOWS where this will lead??)
So I feel a shift in my internal seasons. A new softening to a fuller range of my experience. A releasing of certain identity markers I hadn’t realized I was clinging onto (One Who Has Worked Through Her Grief; One Who Doesn’t Run From Her Uncomfortable Emotions). A welcoming of whatever this is taking me into and toward.
Life has felt hard for many years – full of inevitable challenges and every level of gritting my teeth. And there’s something in the softening I’m experiencing internally lately that is softening that whole view.
Life itself is feeling kinder. More gentle. More full of ease.
I expected the darkness that wanted to rise would be tar-like – dense, thick, heavy – but instead, so far, it’s been light. It surfaces like water from the purest spring: buoyant, bubbling, back-lit by light.
And if that’s the effect of all of these tears – oh, so many tears! – I’ll continue to say yes and yes and yes again to them all.
My dear universe. I’m ready, again, to stop running.
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Guess what? I want to send one of you a free sketch. Comment on today’s post before this Friday at noon Pacific Time and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a free hold-in-your-hand print of today’s sketch. 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 (your choice, should you win). I’ll announce the winner Friday afternoon.
I’m delighted to say that for now, as I ready my shop for a grand reopening, this will be my practice for each post going forward. One free sketch each week!
UPDATE: Using this random number generator, comment #8 is this week’s winner. Renee, email me your snail mail address and your preference of print size and I’ll send you your sketch pronto. :)
Everyone else (including Renee, actually – anyone can enter anytime), come back next week for another sketch give-away. Winners always selected on Fridays.