It’s been a record year of uncertainty, pain, anger, and loss.
It feels like the whole world is stuck in the ‘upside down’ and none of us know how to get out of it.
And now, we find ourselves bracing for a second wave of struggle as we anticipate what’s to come with Covid, the US election, ongoing racial injustice, the climate crisis.
This hard hitting year has also brought disruption and uncertainty right to our front doors. We all know someone who is waking up to a failed marriage, or a health crisis, or a lay-off, or gripped with anxiety, isolation, loneliness, or depression.
We are all moving through something. We are all living in the gap between what was and what will be.
Some days, it can all feel like too much.
And on those days, the one thing I want you to remember is: You have what it takes to keep going.
Because you do.
You have within you the power to face what is in front of you.
You have the courage to confront the things that scare you forthrightly and with fierce love.
And as my friend Erin so beautifully wrote “Your essential nature has the spaciousness of the sky and the warmth of the sun. And from that place you can befriend even the most challenging states.”
But first, you must soften into your own pain and make room for the unresolved within you. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that deep healing begins when we can first honour the pain within ourselves and each other. Let yourself gently open the door to your grief, confusion, and fear with the unconditional kindness you would offer a dear friend: Darling, I care about your suffering. And know that your ability to rise up and be there for others depends on your capacity to truly be there for yourself, first.
Although we have been conditioned to push forward, this is not the time for heavy armour and over-functioning. I know far too many women who default to powering through and self-abandon through Doing. Please, do not feel guilty for resting. Forgive yourself for tripping up, sliding backwards, falling short, getting tired and needing to pause. Decide it’s okay if someone sees you cry. Take more breaks. Lovingly lower your expectations of yourself and your family members. You are getting a PhD in resilience right now and your ability to adapt to adversity requires you to fill your tank often and without apology.
At times, you may need to shorten your timeframe of coping – instead of thinking about what’s to come next month, focus on getting to lunchtime or tomorrow’s first cup of coffee.
Gradually, you will find yourself steadying even if things are still turbulent around you. You will slowly begin to make meaning out of this year’s trauma and you will notice new seeds of possibility emerging.
In the gap between what was and what will be, please remember how truly extraordinary you are. And although your pain is uniquely your own, you are not alone. And you have what it takes to keep going.
My grandmother taught me that the most important thing you can do for someone is believe in them. To see the beauty and strength in others until they can see it in themselves. If you are having trouble believing in yourself, if you need a confidante, a coach, a holder of hard Things, I am here.