But before I start: whenever I write honestly about difficult things in my life, I gets ton of unsolicited advice, which, even when well meaning, is extremely unhelpful. So my policy now is to not accept ANY unsolicited advice.
I've been in a rough spot. And I’ve noticed myself pulling back a lot.
Part of it is a very natural need to just be quiet and more inward focused right now.
But part of it is this “I shouldn’t share this it will bum people out” thing that is NOT helpful for anyone.
We need to create BRAVE spaces where all parts of us are welcome, loved and seen. This is what the Creative Dream Incubator has always been so of course there is space here for my grief now.
On top of some other shitty things that happened, a lifelong friend died.
I’ve know him since I was 5. We were great friends and he was my first boyfriend in high school, though as adults we drifted apart and back together and back apart a few times.
A few years ago he really pushed me away at a time when he was talking about making a lot of positive changes. And even though I am obviously a good person to have around when you want to make positive changes, I understood.
We can pick up a lot of baggage in these lifelong friendships. Sometimes we can see who we WERE more clearly than who we are, or who we are becoming. Sometimes we need space away from the past to create a better future.
So I respected his decision. And I expected it to be temporary.
And now of course I am wondering, if I had tried harder to help - would he still be here?
It’s a painful question to sit with, and I know I’m not the only one who has been here.
I honoured his decision out of respect, and love, and a hope for a better future for him. So of course I’m devastated that that didn’t happen.
And now I’m trying to just honour everything I am thinking and feeling even as a lot of it conflicts with each other.
I’m also noticing:
- My cognitive capacity is way down, a lot of things I do that are usually quick and easy are quite slow and draining to do now.
- I’m much quicker to lose my temper and snap at my husband.
- I’m tired and just want to eat carbs which makes me more tired.
But even in this shitty place, my dreams still exist. That part of me is not gone because I am grieving.
I think we feel like we should put our joy aside to make space for grief. To be appropriate.
But I think the most appropriate thing is to try to be as human as possible. To embrace our wholeness.
To fully feel our grief and pain and fear and also feel whatever joy we can find.
I’ve felt creatively blocked all week. But since I’ve started writing this (I missed writing!) super awkwardly with my iPad Pro on my lap sitting on an uncomfortable bench outside a coffee shop with tears in my eyes, I feel.... better?
I don’t know if better is the right word. But feeling in touch with my creativity helps me be more in touch with ME. Like it opens up some space and everything stops feeling so constricted and dark.
Just like I teach in my classes, we can have fear and dreams, we can have self doubt and take brave steps. This works better when we honour all parts of our experience.
We can have joy and grief. Love and sadness.
The more fully we can allow and experience our actual feelings, the better off we are. Denying grief will eventually cut off joy. Denying joy will make it more difficult to fully grieve.
The more complicated our relationship was with the person we lost, the more difficult this is because it’s hard to hold conflicting feelings. We live in a culture that doesn’t have a lot of space for this, which makes it even harder to be in it.
I teach how to meet yourself where you are and use what you find there to move towards where you want to be.
We can’t only show up for this work when we feel “good” and “ready”. That defeats the whole purpose.
So this week I’ve been bringing my grief and conflicting feelings into Project Miracle even though a part of me has been saying OMG NO DON’T DO THIS!
This part of me feels that, as the teacher, I need to show up clear + focused + positive.
But that’s not true. As a teacher, I need to walk my talk.
And I would never want to exclude anyone from my programs because they are grieving or feeling lost or like everything they want is impossibly out of reach.
This is where #goodvibesonly is so toxic because it leaves us alone in our pain.
We can have bad vibes, be grieving and in pain and lost and feeling like there is no hope - we can be in that sucky space and still create space for healing and magic.
In fact, we need and deserve the healing and magic so much more in these times.
And I don't have the bandwidth to write more fully on this, but also think about who gets left behind in #goodvibesonly - it further marginalizes already marginalized people. It leaves the people who need help the most unable to receive it. And in the larger context of how systemic oppression works in our culture, it supports white supremacy, the patriarchy and colonialist capitalism. Let's do better than that.