Transitions, in general, are pretty rough for us as human beings. But re-entry after my vacation was especially challenging. I came home to a busted septic tank and then, a few days into the heat wave, the central air conditioning, which was original to my 1960’s house, finally died.
None of these are cheap or easy problems to solve but still my problem-solving brain immediately started working itself in circles trying to come up with fixes.
My contractor, who has been a guardian angel on my path, came over and stood in the yard with me, taking it all in.
This is a man who first helped my ex and I renovate our family home many years ago and then, when I left that home in the midst of a high conflict divorce, he helped me renovate the fixer-upper I live in now with the kids.
This is a man who showed up and stood in the gap of my father wound, restoring my faith in men when it was at an all time wounded low. His beautiful, strong, divine masculine energy is in the walls and the basement and the floorboards of my home now and I’m so deeply grateful for him.
He looked at me as we stood there together discussing the options, doing the math.
“I’m so sorry Mary,” he said.
I squinted up at him, shielding my eyes with my right hand. I felt like crying. Not because of the overwhelm or the stress - though those were coursing through my being pretty heavily. I felt like crying the same way you might suddenly feel like having a slice of cake if you walked through the kitchen and noticed one sitting out on the counter.
The possibility of the thing becomes the hunger for it.
A sweet and simple act of being compassionately witnessed made crying feel possible. I don’t experience this very often. I’ve always been way more comfortable with anger than sadness. Even though they’re just two different sides of the very same coin.
There were so many opportunities, during this mess at the house, for my anger to dig in and go full bloom. But instead, sadness came.
Maybe that’s because I was literally fresh off the boat from my vacation where I spent a lot of time doing the deep, introspective work of considering, consciously, how I want to feel inside my life. The answer, over and over again, was PEACEFUL.
I want to live in a state of peacefulness and acceptance.
This intention was front and center of my consciousness. So when I came home to a true shit-show, I didn’t sink into a habitual response of anger and self pity. I stayed in a more tender place of being able to acknowledge: “I hate what’s happening right now AND I am determined to respond to it skillfully.”
I allowed myself to lean on my partner and to lean on my dear contractor, who validated my sadness and overwhelm without reinforcing those feelings or making them worse.
Acknowledging our feelings - especially when they’re negative - feels counter intuitive. It’s like steering into the swerve. It seems like we should change the channel instead, distract ourselves, just think of something different.
But in truth, when we try to override the realness of what we’re experiencing, the feelings don’t go away. They just go underground. And we have way less power to deal with what we can’t clearly locate and understand within ourselves.
The beautiful thing about witnessing is that we don’t need to rely on other people for it. It’s a blessing when there are safe people in our lives that we can have this kind of interaction with, but it’s not a prerequisite. We can witness ourselves, through mirror work or words of self appreciation. Nature can witness us. The open sky or the open road can be a witness. The page. The pets in our lives. All of these relationships are as real and valid as interpersonal ones and they can support us in our deeply human need to tell the truth about how we’re feeling and have that truth validated.
When our feelings are validated, they feel more complete and we can release them. We are freed up to feel other, more empowering emotions in their wake. There is space.
Acknowledging a problem is not the same as solving it. But often, like a kind of magic trick, the solution comes on the heels of the relief we feel in expressing our truth.
How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be inside your life?
These are sacred, profound, transformative questions. If you take the time to ask them, the answers that come from your Soul will form a blueprint for your best life.
When you know who you want to be and how you want to feel, everything that is not in alignment with those orientations is super easy to identify and let go of. You don’t have to live at the mercy of Life’s ups and downs. You are not defined by the ceaseless churning of the outer world. Your well being, ease and inner freedom depends only on you.
Have a peace-full, empowered week friends,