*tiptoes back into the room*
Well…that was an unexpected lapse in online presence.
I’m a big fan of regular time off. It can be hard for me to take it, but I do think it’s important. However, this time I didn’t take an intentional digital sabbatical, didn’t announce a leave of absence on my blog or newsletter. And there’s a reason for that: It wasn’t my plan at all. But last week wasn’t business as usual.
Last week kind of felt like a sprinting race where each expected finish line was actually a cosmic punking by the Universe, who kept moving the real finish line ahead a few hundred yards. It was a whole lot of stuff I wasn’t used to, all in one week. Big, life-changing things. Plus a telecircle. And a Fair. And a friend in the hospital.
You get the idea…
And while I’d like to say that I handled it without a single problem, bravely juggling everything and never once losing my cool…that would be a lie. There was stress, there was panic, there were things that slipped through the cracks. There were tears and rages and sniping at my husband.
Fact: sometimes you go through shit and it just throws you for a loop. And sometimes you get so bowled over that it takes a while for things to settle down again. There are things you can try, tools you can use to help you find your center…and 9 times out of 10 they work (I wouldn’t be such a big fan of living room dance parties if they didn’t make me feel better pretty much all of the time).
But that tenth time? It’s not so much that the tools don’t work as it is that you can’t even mentally get to a place where you can try them. And when that happens, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, or that you’re weak or damaged somehow. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing worse than anyone else in the world. It doesn’t even mean that this situation is worse than the ones you’re used to. It just means that you need a new frame of reference.
Normally, I use movement to process my issues. This time, for an entire week, I couldn’t move at all. I knew it would help me if I did it, but I just…couldn’t move. My normal collection of tools wasn’t what I needed just then.
I think that, when times like that come around, when everything goes topsy turvy and you don’t know your head from your feet, you just need to go with it. Forget fixing it. Forget how it’s “supposed to” feel or how you’re “supposed to” fix these things. You just ride the waves, hold it together as best you can, take extra-good care of yourself, and remember that it’s OK. It’ll pass.
Each moment only once. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, one task at a time, one breath at a time.
That’s what I did. I hunkered down. I dealt with it. I let myself cry when it got bad, and crying felt like sinking into a soft bed, like the hiss of an emergency valve letting off pressure. I didn’t write or film anything at all. I watched movies with a glass of white wine in one hand and a bowl of strawberries in the other. I gave myself permission. I made it through. And I’m slowly starting to find my bearings again.
I’ve been kind of hard on myself this week, telling myself how I “should” (ugh! that word!) have pulled it together by now, and how I “should” (ICK ICK ICK!) sit my ass down and write a damn blog post already. Get back online. Write about something upbeat. Make a plan. But the truth is that this is the post I needed to write, and I needed to wait until now to write it. I needed some perspective. I needed a damn break. I took one.
And that’s OK.
You have permission: to ride the waves. To break away from your routine and take care of yourself. To feel what you’re feeling. To do the bare minimum. To do whatever it takes. To cry. To let go. To push through. To do what you need to do. And to rest when you’re done.