Hello Friend! So, every week, I bare it all (well, maybe not all!) and let you in on my personal and professional aha of the week. That one thing that seems to be really up, not only for me, but also for my world and all the wonderful Divas in it.
Here on the wet coast, it’s, well, it is very wet. As I look out my window I see a whole lot of mud and three rather soggy horses. The west coast is not particularly perfect country for horses, whose roots are in high, arid, dry places. But, these mares, despite their somewhat low spirits and muddy legs, seem to keep on keeping on just fine. In fact, that’s a bit of what I wanted to touch on this week. For many, these last few weeks have been a roller coaster…and I started to get really curious about what the first powerful step is when it comes to things falling apart.
Here’s what came up…
When I started to peer down this particular rabbit hole, I realized that we all carry our fair share of beliefs when it comes to picking up the pieces when everything seems to be falling apart.
Here are a few of mine…
“Chin up, just fake it till you make it, be strong and deal, keep it together, don’t make a big deal out of it, get over it, calm down.”
Wow. That is some shitty advice coming from somewhere deep within – and for the most part, this is what most of us grew up with when it came to working through big, tragic, devastating stuff in our lives. And, crazily, this is how we often the advice we give to others that are going through something awful because we don’t know what else to do. This was for sure the case for me – I just couldn’t deal when others fell apart around me – I felt myself trying to fix them because I couldn’t handle the emotions that were coming up in me around the stuff they were going through.
And what I’ve come to realize is that none of these methods really work. Why? Because stuffing our emotions and feelings is a one-way path to crappy health and a mediocre life – that stuff needs to move! Because, faking it and being strong often keeps us exactly where we don’t want to be, feeling the effects of all those yucky feelings and simultaneously telling ourselves that they are not there (which is a big bunch of BS). Because, keeping it together at times like these can be the complete opposite of what is actually going to move us forward. And finally, because, there is deep learning and growth inherent in every difficult, crappy experience that gets lost when we try to numb it down and tune it out.
So here it is. The first step towards putting things back together again in a real and powerful way (and helping others in our lives do the same). BREATHE. Breathe as deeply and fully as you can. That’s it.
As I looked back over my life and, in particular, the difficult times, I realized that getting present with my breath was always the step that changed everything. Initially, I actually thought it was feel, but then, in a stroke of insight, I realized that the breath precedes it all. It is what connects us to our feelings and to our bodies and back to ourselves. It is what processes all those heavy emotions and keeps things moving in our bodies and minds and hearts, it is the key to letting go and grieving. And, more than anything, it brings the life back into our bodies.
And if you think about it, it is often the first thing to go. Imagine an instance when you were really mad. What happens to your breath? Yep, gone (well, you maybe breath just deeply enough to keep the heart pumping). If I look back on some of my fall-apart moments, they usually included resisting breathing deeply and fully and trying out some of the ineffective methods listed above, but eventually I surrendered. And when I did, when I finally let the breath take over, when I got into my body and let the emotions well up in me, integrate and release, everything changed. Because emotion is just energy in motion and the stuff has got to move. And once it moves, there will be space and openness and a chance for deeper reflection and understanding. In BodyTalk I find that the breath and opening it up comes up constantly – the more range of motion in this area, the healthier and more balanced a person tends to be.
And as someone supporting someone who’s going through some big stuff, remember, you’re not there to fix it or carry their stuff. You’re there to be the neutral, loving, BREATHING and non-judgmental observer. And you’ll probably have your own bunch of emotions come up (watching people you love go through hard times is not easy stuff) that need your breath too. That’s natural and normal. Be honest with yourself and them about what you can handle. Don’t be afraid to take space or call in a professional as necessary.
If you’re going through a particularly tough time at the moment, or know someone who is, I truly hope this helps. Just this one seemingly small thing has changed my life completely. Plus, the knowing that whatever I’m going through, I’m fully supported and capable. Which you most definitely are! And as always, if you need support through these times, reach out and connect.
To your utter fabulousness,
PS. I’ve been writing up a storm as of late. My dear friend Kellie Stone (founder of Women’s Life Link!) included my story about a little mare named Dreamweaver in her just-released book The Butterfly Payoff!
And I am became an international best-selling author with the anthology Choosing Happiness!
And last but not least, anyone else feeling called by Owl Medicine as of late? These wise beings have been coming up all of over the place for me. Here is an excerpt about Owl Medicine from the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sam and David Carson (my favourite deck of cards)…
“Is it any wonder that in many cultures Owl is the symbol for wisdom? This is because Owl can see that which others cannon, which is the essence of true wisdom. Where others are deceived, Owl sees and knows what is there.