A week or so ago, I didn’t get out of bed for 2 days. I slipped briefly back into the darkness. (I tried to blame it on the rain but…) There is a vague memory of getting up long enough to make my kids breakfast and then my oldest took over for the rest, as I retreated back to the enormous quilted safety of my bed. (Yea, #MOTY)
I write and encourage others to never give up, to do more than just survive, to embrace the journey and find the joy in the season of life you are in. Yes! I believe that whole-heartedly! Power to the soul!
The truth is, though, nobody can be happy all the time. I don’t know if it is physically and emotionally possible. Exhaustion has to kick in at some point, right?
Our triggers are unique to our own experiences and past paths. Sometimes the darkness, or black ooze as I refer to it, swallows us up out of nowhere it seems.
Fear used to be a reoccurring monster, but I have worked extremely hard at breathing into Fear, allowing it a seat and voice, but no control.
Lately, the culprit has been heartache. I’ve said it before…I feel everything. Deeply. It’s no mystery that I’m an emotional person. Love the crap out of life! Joy. Peace. Love. Anger. And yes, sadness. I’m all in and continue to struggle with regulating my “passionate” emotions. When I try to “get rid” of my emotional personality, I feel stifled. Not myself.
So a virtue and a vice.
Which brings me back to the heartache. I’ve been on both ends of heartache…leaving and being left. Both experiences rip your heart out into a million pieces. Although I know, deep down, that I am walking my path of truth, it doesn’t guarantee that path comes without pain or sadness.
While I chose this, these past 5 years and the journey forward, I’m still a hopeful romantic at heart. I used to think that was a strength, but now, on days when the black ooze visits, I cannot help but view it as a downfall. You see, even though being full of hope and love are driving forces in positive steps forward, those qualities are solely responsible for the bouts of sadness as well.
The right path certainly isn’t the easiest. Living your truth is often a lonely road. I’ve lost many friends along the way. And I respect their decisions because they are living their truths as well. It’s ok. It.is.ok.
I’m learning. Every day. As LG says, we are students. Students of life. On this voyage of self-evolution, the more real you are, the world opens up for you. I’ve been blessed with incredible souls whose paths intersected with mine…and not by accident either. Because, as you also know, I don’t believe in coincidence.
So…how do I deal with the days when I feel like I’m drowning from the inside or the black oozes returns for his joyful suffocation?
Well. This time, I gave myself permission to rest. To sleep. To remain motionless. I know this sounds irresponsible. “Jen, aren’t you raising 3 kids?? How selfish of you!” Yes, I hear those voices in my head too. But this time, I allowed myself to stop. To stop and clean house internally. If we are being honest, recovery is everyday. Everyday. Not everyone’s life is the way it looks on social media…mine isn’t anyway.
So I rested. And by the 3rd morning (yea…) I gave myself 5 seconds to get out of bed. I glanced out of my bedroom window and the sun was shining. That was enough for me to rejoin the living. I sat on my front stoop with my coffee and breathed it all in. Closing my eyes, the sunlight graced my cheek and when I opened my eyes, the enormous flower bed island I’ve been meaning to tackle was staring right at me.
“Ok, I hear you Universe,” I thought to myself. Like Liz says, the Next Thing presents itself when you are ready to see it. So I dug out the island, one wheelbarrow at a time. With every shovel full of old roots, decrepit mulch and soil, I felt myself slowly coming back to life. Dig, heave-ho. Channel the sadness into opportunities for joy, pride and accomplishment. Dig, heave-ho. Joy. Pride. Accomplishment.
And 15 wheelbarrows and 2 sore arms later, it was finished. Level ground. Level. Ground. That Next Thing led to my next…more gardening. Transplanting, trimming, loving, living. For the 2 days that the blackness weighed me down, I spent 2 days emerging into the light through yardwork. I did yardwork for 2 days straight. I didn’t stop. I “breathed it all in and loved it all out.” My soul gently let my mind rest, while my inner whisperings grew stronger. Intently, I listened. One step, one branch, one bloom at a time…and eventually, low and behold, I was back.
Joy. Pride. Accomplishment.
What makes your soul happy and whole? The mountains and the water, for me, are always a good idea. But on days where that isn’t feasible, there needs to be more love in your life toolbox. Anything in nature works for me. Gardening is a huge part of who I am. Exercise combats most sadness and negative feelings for me as well.
The sadness still crept in from time to time, but my strength had returned enough to refocus on the present. My kids. Yes, my beautiful crew. We had play dates with friends at the Glenn. We built a fire and enjoyed the yard.
We walked together. Their smiles alone can light up my heart.
As my daughter and I kayaked the other day, 3 words came to my mind:
Alive, blessed, grateful.
Yup. Even on black ooze days. Alive. Blessed. Grateful. My heart may only manage a whisper of alive, blessed, grateful. But it’s there! I am thankful that darkness doesn’t stick around as long as it used to in the past. Drawing on inner strength from life’s tiny victories helps. And rest…when you need to. It’s ok.
Sadness is a reality. That is how our soul recognizes joy, right? It’s your journey to live and love. Yours alone. My heart will remain open to the hope that I won’t be alone forever. But until the Universe is ready to reveal that Next Thing, I will continue to take one step at a time. Because even though “Practical Jen” knows life isn’t rainbows and butterflies, the hopeful romantic in me thrives in a world bursting vibrantly full of life and beauty!
Walking the path of truth isn’t easy, this is true. But:
Recharged and ready,