Despite our best efforts, we simply don’t get to schedule our emotions, especially the tough stuff
Uncomfortable feelings, is that you? Can I put you on hold a moment? This really isn’t a convenient time. I’d like to get back to you on that. Aaah, if only it were that simple.
Oh, you can run, but you cannot hide from this emotional human experience, try as you may.
As with life, the story continues. The building blocks of our experiences piece together and take form…a new chapter is born, flavored by all that came before. But we don’t get to skip ahead to the hindsight part without first walking through the fire.
Last week I shared how I mistakenly thought I could skip through grief over the loss of my 14-year old family dog. Well, I’m sure you can imagine how that went down. When my wise friend Kris Carr lovingly told me on a walk that I wouldn’t do anything for a week, I scoffed.
She was right.
Yes, I attended to the things I absolutely had to show up for — and I pretty much shut down on all of the rest. Even at the time the last blog posted, I still hadn’t stepped foot into the backyard that was filled with too many memories for me to bear. To date, my furry friend’s bed remains in my bedroom with her favorite toy.
I’m revisiting this subject and building upon it because it amazes me how we think we can schedule grief, pain and emotion of any discomfort, like it’s a visit to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned. Oh how the Universe must have been laughing down upon me, Oh dear, she really thinks she gets a bye on this.
I wanted to share another story on this. It’s not my story, but I have permission to tell it for the benefit of all of us. Bill, my partner in life and business, was away on a photo shoot when I had to help our girl transition. Thankfully for the miracle of modern technology, the flight he was on had WiFi and I was able to let him know that I was on the way to the vet. By the time decisions had to be made, I was able to get him on the phone as he stood at the luggage carousel awaiting his bags, half way across the country. As his camera cases circled before him, so did the gutting news that he wouldn’t see his beloved girl again. With tears streaming down his cheeks and in between sobs, he told me we had to do what was best for her. We both knew what that was.
Migis was a soulmate to him that had helped him transition through many painful chapters of his life.
They were a beautiful package deal that came into my life and changed it forever (both of them). Never in a million years did I think I would have to make these decisions and take these steps without him at my side, but such is life…and the surrendering to divine timing.
I knew when Bill returned from his trip that it would be gut-wrenching. He arrived to a dog-less house with a beautiful alter of flowers, cards, pictures and dog paraphernalia…but no dog. The night he arrived home we relived it all as a family, we laughed and cried. Bill was tired and run down, the onset of a cold had settled in.
I didn’t really think anything of it initially. But then it dawned on me one night when he revealed that while away shooting a large advertising campaign with many moving pieces and parts, he never shared his experience with anyone on the crew. No one on his team knew what he was experiencing. He basically shoved it down, tucked it away and saved his mourning, moving it to the back burner — so he could show up as a polished professional leading a production. In other words, he tried to reschedule his grief.
Of course he became sick! And of course something had settled into his lungs. The lungs are known to hold our sorrow and our grief. It had to physically manifest somewhere.
Now for some reading this, that’s a basic concept. For me, I was once unaware of making those body, mind and soul connections. A cold was…well, a cold. I never looked for its deeper spiritual meaning. I never asked myself, what else is beneath this. I never wondered what my body was trying to tell me.
Look, we get here as fast as we can. But that is the beauty of this life in all of its wonder. It’s a thread that weaves through my Best Self Magazine experience: There is a treasure trove of meaning, there for the taking, in every moment of our lives. Nothing is random and without significance. Everything is sacred. It’s simply a matter of perspective and being receptive.
The human experience is filled with messiness and glory and everything in between. No matter where life finds you in this very moment, settle into it, be with it. Don’t try to outrun it, shove it aside or ignore it because it won’t be ignored. It will find its way out and even through that physical manifestation, it will gift you.
Sometimes I’m simply a hard learner. I would take the long way around, the difficult path…yet in reality, surrender was a choice that was always available to me right there at my fingertips. And surrender is not synonymous with failure, but rather with deep wisdom.
Where do you need to listen more?
What cues is your body sending you? Start by asking what doesn’t feel right.
And where are you resisting, pushing back and trying to reschedule?
Show up for yourself so the healing can begin.
The night Bill shared with me that he had suppressed his emotions while away, in the name of being ‘professional’ while leading a production — we sat in front of the fireplace and relived Migis’ passing all over again. We laughed, cried, wondered…and then a miraculous thing happened. Before going to bed he said, “You know what, that really helped. Something has shifted and my chest feels so much lighter.” I could literally visualize it emotionally and physically. Bang.
Yes, grief, pain, fear and any number of emotions we would rather avoid at any given time, can be terribly inconvenient with their timing and we can hide them away beneath the guise of busyness. That said, we don’t get to choose them. They arrive. They will demand attention. There is no pretending them away.
Staying connected to your best self means acknowledging your ‘full’ self. It simply starts with going inward, listening and doing the best you can, minute by minute. Forget the long-term strategy. That’s another place we get tripped up. You may not have all the answers at any moment, but one step in that direction puts you on the path for the next to reveal itself.
Sometimes all we can do in the heat of an experience is to ask ourselves what would feel good right now?
It may simply be stillness, a walk in the woods, a good cry. Find ways to do that for yourself. Schedule that into your book.
I understood why Bill held it all together when he did. It’s how he’s hardwired; he’s a caretaker of others, he was managing a big production with much at stake. But he got schooled. This is not a criticism —I’m not saying he should have done it differently. That’s his story, but I know it was a great reminder to me of how powerful and interconnected our mind, body and spirit is for all of us. I guess the true beauty is in striking the balance where we can be both present for the things we must attend to and feeling, allowing space for emotions.
There are always ways to show up for ourselves. The circumstances may not be ideal, but if we wait for ideal we’ll likely be putting most of life on hold. And what’s the fun of that?
As always, I love hearing from you my wise Best Selfers. Do you have any avoidance tricks up your sleeve? Let’s lay it all out there and let’s help each other take this one down together. Please let me hear in the comments below!