When we keep ourselves (and life) tightly wound, something ultimately has to give — and unraveling might not be such a bad idea after all
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…
Yep. That’s pretty much sums up how I feel today — and I decided not to sugarcoat it here because well, I know I’m not alone. We struggle. We fall and we don’t always bounce right back up. And dare I say, it’s probably better when we don’t (but more about that in a bit).
Today, I literally fell…right down the steps in my house with a handful of items that went flying across the room. There went my lap desk, my laptop, my iPhone, a book, some papers, pens, my glasses, etc. No, I wasn’t rushing about. I was actually walking quite mindfully, relocating my workspace for the afternoon. Though with all of those items in my arms I didn’t see the slippers on the steps that I was about to walk on.
Why were they on the steps you ask? Zoey, the resident pup. She loves my sheepskin warm and fuzzy slippers as a chew toy — and up until yesterday, she didn’t realize that she could go up and down the steps. So, we regularly put them there to get them out of her reach. So much for best laid plans!
Let’s just say that they don’t call them ‘slippers’ for nothing.
It all happened quite fast as these things do. Thankfully the stairway is carpeted. I went down flat on my butt. I don’t even remember how I braced myself, but I immediately felt pain in my shoulder and my foot, my poor foot.
Six weeks ago I broke my toe just days before taking my son back to college. I’d never broken a bone before, and have been somewhat impatiently waiting for it to heal as I witness summer and my days to jog and be outside slipping away.
As I sat there on the floor a bit in shock, I took a deep breath, took a quick assessment and just broke into tears…little girl sobbing, feeling-sorry-for-myself tears. My foot was throbbing…yes, the same foot! I had reinjured my broken toe and likely a few others this time around. My shoulder felt tweaked and my spirit deflated. In moments like those it can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back as they say. They are the ones that push you to the brink…and make you pay deeper attention. But first…
What next?! Are you serious? FFFFFFF####CK! Then some more tears…and a few more expletives (had to get them out!).
I have been ‘grounded’ for 6 weeks, literally. First because of the limitations of my initial injury and then because of a mandatory quarantine post air travel. Just as I was gaining some traction…BOOM…down the stairs I went.
Dear God, there must be a message in this mess.
There always is. That said, I’m not going to wrap it in a bow. Instead, I’m going to encourage you to feel the feels. Cry the tears. Scream the frustrations. Write the words. Do whatever it takes to let the pressure out of the pressure cooker that is YOU and your pent up wounded emotions. We all have them. Move toward them rather than away from them.
Of course, I realized how fortunate I was that I didn’t break other bones or my computer. And then as I sat there observing myself cry about my aching foot, I remembered that a friend was sitting in a chemo treatment at that very moment. It was as if some inner voice was saying, Buck up. Pull up your big girl panties and carry on. THIS is no big deal. Chemo is a big deal. Get over it!
In the grand scheme — no, it isn’t a ‘big’ deal, but it was my deal. In that moment, to me, it felt overwhelming and made me feel as if I were unraveling. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotions and nothing was right. It was much bigger than the foot.
Don’t judge what comes up and compare your experience to another’s. Our pain is relative. We’ve likely already spent so much of our lives bypassing our feelings, rushing by the wounds and ignoring the emotions. Alas, that is why they repeatedly rear their ugly heads.
And you know what happens when we do? We get knocked down and then we can get overwhelmed with emotions. When I was crying in that puddle at the bottom of my staircase…it wasn’t just about my foot. No, it felt like everything else that was bubbling up in my subconscious came flooding forward to be seen as well. Honestly, it felt totally overwhelming and I felt deflated, lost and like a loser. I’m not sure what this all means for me right now (though I have my suspicions), but I can promise you I’m going to be investigating it, receptive and trying to work through it. It is pulling me.
COVID has felt like a colossal shut down / opportunity; one that doesn’t really appear to be lessoning in intensity. It’s encouraged us to look at things. Accordingly, we’ve all made adjustments in our lives and businesses. You’ve probably been a curious observer of some of your own reactions to things — as we’ve all likely witnessed some surprises (things that didn’t actually bother us as much as we thought they would) and some discoveries (things that revealed themselves as agents of change prompting us to make new choices). Perhaps you’ve had a combo platter like me.
Sometimes things need to unravel — patterns, behaviors, relationships, jobs, agreements, thinking, etc. Sometimes we need to pivot and change direction. Sometimes we don’t have the answers and we don’t know what our next move is.
Sometimes we simply have to allow ourselves to sit on a pile on the floor and cry and feel it.
This has been a tremendously frustrating experience for me. I don’t like feeling out of control, being unable to walk or exercise, but I also see how I have lost my footing in more than one way. What better metaphor than my foot grounding me, right?! Trust me, the irony isn’t lost upon me.
Unraveling is necessary. Think of how tightly wound up our lives are. We define ourselves with certain titles, labels, job descriptions and commitments leaving little wiggle room for change, much less anything else. We carry on as if life will go on forever and there will be time to catch up. But what if there isn’t?
Is there a place in your life that needs a bit of unraveling and some wiggle room?
Pay attention to what is calling to you because it won’t stop. It wants your attention and it will get it one way or another. Think of it as a call from your guardian angel, Kristen, I need to get your attention. You have not been listening or picking up the subtle cues I’ve been leaving about. Sorry, I had to make this one a bit more obvious for you.
Life assessment allows us to sit with our feelings and to ask —
What’s working, what’s not?
What is this really about, what am I pretending it is?
What excites me, what evokes anxiety?
What do I want to hold fiercely to, what shall I allow to go?
What am I listening to, what am I ignoring?
Unraveling creates space to release, exhale, see, heal and be — most of all it allows for edits and rewrites. You are the author of your next chapter…and the one you are within. But it also takes courage to look at it and to possibly change course — to release yourself from things that aren’t serving your highest potential. We’ve spent a lot of time ‘un-seeing’ ourselves, perhaps today is a good time to simplify it all and trust that if it’s calling you — you are ready to see. Don’t be afraid. Trust me, your Best Self has got you!
Is there an area in your life calling for some unraveling? Please share with us in the comments below how it’s coming up for you and how you are navigating it all.