I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a day filled with gratitude and sharing, whether you were with friends, family, or a combination of both. Now, on to a more vulnerable post.
If you happen to think that as a Life Coach, my life is fabulously happy all the time and that I’ve got it all figured out, you’d be dead wrong.
I have the same thing in common with you. I’m incredibly human.
As many of you know, I said goodbye 2 months ago to my dog child Kona with whom I had the privilege of spending 12 amazing years. Not only has it been one of the hardest losses of my life, the effects still linger.
I realized not long ago that I have been functionally depressed. Sort of like a functioning alcoholic where that person makes it through their day just fine but drinks themselves into oblivion at night only to get up the next day and do it all over again.
For me, minus the alcohol, I’ve been getting up every day and doing the things that need to get done, like laundry, making meals, going to work, walking my other dog, etc… But there’s no excitement, motivation, enjoyment, drive, or desire. I don't feel helpless or hopeless like someone with a diagnosis of depression would feel; I’ve just felt kind of empty and dead inside. Looking at me from the outside, you’d never know.
This has been a new experience for me. One I’ve never felt before.
But instead of trying to push this feeling away or pretend it didn’t exist, I did what my mentor Martha Beck would call Leaning into the Ring of Fire. My Ring of Fire being my grief. My deadness.
What did that look like?
Well, I actually gave myself permission to just feel dead. I noticed what dead felt like in my body. It felt like a huge gaping hole of emptiness and nothingness in my chest. I also had several emotions that went with it. Sadness, anger, not caring, and a go with the flow attitude (because nothing felt important anyway).
I sat with that feeling of deadness for weeks. Going about my normal day, just without any oomph. I didn’t know how long it would last. I actually didn’t care.
Then something very interesting happened.
Things in my life started shifting. The universe started giving my signs that it was time to wake up again and start moving in a new direction. A new coaching client found me, I began to notice that I felt a little excitement around parts of my day, new opportunities have presented themselves to me (without my doing a thing), and, AND, I didn’t feel quite so dead.
This is why leaning into the crap of life can be so fruitful. It’s part of life. In the winter, there is a dormant period (at least in the natural world). That period is so so so important for new life to come forth in the spring. It’s the same with people. We sometimes need to go dormant or “dead” in order for the growth to happen, to store up the energy we’ll need when we come out of that quiet period.
And here I am coming out of my dormant period right before winter hits. New beginnings can happen anytime of the seasonal year!
Does my life feel amazing right now? No. I’m in the process.
But instead of fighting it or trying to hurry it along, I’m riding it like a wave. Flowing with the current of my own life, and trusting that all will work out perfectly.
As I pay attention to the process, I notice more and more how I operate in the world both internally and externally.
What’s fascinating is that I’m not trying to let go of the grief over my dog; my grief is letting go of me. And I’m pretty sure it’s because (and I share this with all of my clients) I’ve given myself the permission and allowed myself to lean into that grief. To really be in it, with it, to feel it, viscerally, emotionally, all of it. I’ve trusted the process. I’ve trusted myself to go through that process. And know that in the end, all would be well. And it is.
If you are experiencing anything even remotely close to this, in any area of your life, I invite you to lean in. I know it’s hard and not pretty, I really do.
But you’ll come out the other side with more insight and feeling clearer, stronger, and healthier than when you went in.
And if you need some help, I know a Life Coach… :)
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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life