rollercoaster of lifeChange. It can be a doozy.

Ever feel like life can sweep in and pull your foundation out from under you?

That’s been my experience the last few days. There’s been shock and fear and grief and anger. Uncertainty, insecurity, and an achingly hurt under the grief and anger.

I’ve stumbled quite unexpectedly into a deep dive on the rollercoaster of life.

And I don’t like it.

As much as I am a free spirit, I do like having a few certainties in life. That’s not happening right now. (dammit.)

So, what’s a gal to do?

Well, after a couple days of allowing myself to experience and process the tumultuous emotions, I plugged back in.

I plugged back into the feelings I want to live my life by. Unrestricted joy. Freedom. Love. Connection. Trust.

Over and over, I’m asking myself.

Does this feel like freedom?
Does this feel like joy?
Does this feel like love?

Then if it doesn’t, how can I reconnect to that feeling?

The grief and fear and anger and hurt still come up. And I get to ask again,

Does this feel like freedom, joy, love, connection, trust?

Shifting my focus again and again and again.

It’s not easy. Not at all.

But it feels better. And I like feeling better, don’t you?

Feel better, beautifuls. No matter what.

“This might sound crazy, but…”

I hear this phrase quite often when I have clients ask themselves this question:

“What do I want/need right now?”

Whether its about comforting themselves through their grief or a dream they have for their future or an act of self-nurturance, the answer is often deemed something “unusual” or “not done” in our current society’s eyes.

I tell them to do it anyway. Whatever it is.

I believe, when we set aside out shoulds and shouldnts and listen to what comes, our future self – the self that is already through whatever our current circumstances are – gifts us with our answer.  Our future self has already been there, done that.

Trust yourself. You already know.

(Sometimes, I need to good reminder of this myself!)

I have a tendency to get caught up in the activity of life and take this living business a tad too seriously at times.  I’ve been finding this to be true all too often recently.

It’s been a serious sort of year.  My uncle passed away.  My grandfather is in the process of dying. There have been several “big” anniversaries of losses for me.  I’m transitioning out of my day job and into full-time private practice.

In the midst of all that, I’ve been feeling weighed down by all the serious.  Heavy, slow moving, weary. Then yesterday I spent time with a friend and her one year old daughter.  I watched this sweet little girl absolutely delight in her world.  She played and laughed and threw herself into the fun of it all.

I realized how much I miss play.

I have been neglecting a core belief and value I have that play is essential to life.  Happiness is my central life value and play is a fundamental piece of happiness.  I believe this is the meaning of life – to enjoy and experience it.  To be happy. To delight in the world around us.

And although I am processing a lot of change and grief right now – I utterly believe play and delight and happiness can be experienced in and around the cracks of grief.  In fact, I believe open and authentic grieving by it’s own process create the space for play and delight and happiness within it.

Play is healing.  Play creates happiness.  Play lightens grief.

I had almost forgotten.  Thanks to one playful little girl, I’ve remembered.

And today is play day!

I see blanket forts, bubbles, fingerpainting, coloring and silly stories in my immediate future!

How will you play today?

mental temper tantrumsOne of my work activities is as an intensive in-home therapist. There are 19 of us in the office – 6 males, 12 other females, and me.

4 of those other females are pregnant. They are all roughly 20 – 24 weeks along at this point.

97% of the time I am absolutely happy and thrilled for them. I love hearing about how they’re doing, whether it’s a boy or girl, what names they are thinking of, watching the baby bumps growing and all that fun stuff.

The other 3%? Well, there is where I get sad and angry and a little jealous.

See, about 9 years ago, my daughter, Grace was born still at 21 weeks. And right about now, these beautiful women’s babies are passing 21 weeks healthy and growing and vibrant.

I didn’t put the connection together right away, between my random extreme moodiness in the office, these pregnancies, and Grace. I had a day last week where I was just feeling all out of sorts and, to be frank, was in a pisser of a mood.

I kept wavering between

a) Wanting everyone to leave me the hell alone (not an ideal feeling when you’re a therapist and also work within a team) and

b) Throwing a sort of mental temper tantrum (complete with metaphorical stomping of feet) wanting someone to magically notice something was up

Well, since by the end of the day neither one of these things had happened, I pulled myself out of my sulking long enough to ask myself,

“What is it that I want someone to give to me or do for me by noticing my out-of-sorts-ness?

My answer was simple.

Love.

I wanted to feel loved and cared for and nurtured.

At that point, I still didn’t recognize what was driving the out-of-sorts moodiness, sadness, and spurts of anger. I just knew I felt crappy and wanted to be loved.

I could have reached out to any number of friends and did I considered calling several of them. However, I also recognized that, sometimes, as important as it is to have people in our lives who support us and love us, it’s equally or even more important to be able to support and love ourselves.

So, I went home. I put on my comfy clothes, lit my favorite vanilla scented candles, started a fire in the woodstove, and made myself a good meal. I put in a DVD of one of my favorite funny shows and pulled out my journal.

Even though I had a dozen (or more) things I felt I should be doing for various work activities and responsibilities, I chose to take care of me. Even before I made the connection and realized what was coming up was a little unexpected grief, I made the choice to love myself.

And through loving myself, I was able to move through the sadness and anger and jealousy, and back into the 97% of happiness and excitement for my colleagues. I’m able to stay connected to that happiness for them even when moments of sadness have come up for me since that day.

It fascinates me how the process of grief shifts, changes, and evolves over time – through awareness, with various losses, and through our own growth. It shows up in a million different ways, in a million different degrees and levels.

Yet, the answer is always the same.

Love.

Love each other. Love ourselves. Love our way through it all.

changeI’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. Playing with the ideas of what it is, how it happens, how we move through it.

Change. Loss. Transformation. Rebirth.

Different words. Different meanings. Yet all descriptions of the same process.

This certainly has been the year of change. For myself, definitely, and for many friends and clients as well. In some ways, my life – and myself – has changed so much this year I hardly recognize the me I was just a year ago.

It’s been an amazing year.

• I’m happier than I have ever been
• I’ve made and deepened relationships with friends I adore
• I found my way back to the profession I love and thought I’d left for good
• I brought financial stability back to my life
• I faced past losses and hurts and released them
• I’m about to move into a beautiful new home

That’s just a few examples from this year. What I find most amazing about this year however, is actually what I’ve learned about change.

Change comes with loss. In essence, they are the same. In order to embrace something new, something has to be released.

Change can be sudden and shocking or annoyingly slow. We can consciously choose change or unexpectedly be smacked upside the head by it. Sometimes we want it, other times it invites itself upon us. It can be easy or achingly painful. Sometimes we feel ready…and other times not so much.

I was ready for this year. I called it in. I demanded this transformation of my life. I embraced it. I sought it out.

I often found myself wondering what I hell I was thinking.

Some days it was easy and I danced in the flow of it all. Other times, well, my dad doesn’t call me stubborn without reason. 🙂 I can fight change kicking and screaming with the best of ’em.

Mostly, however, I spent a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror asking, “Okay, girl, what do you want here? And what are you going to do about it?”

One day after another chat with myself in the mirror, a phrase from Harry Potter popped into my head.

“Constant Vigilance!” (Gotta love Alastor Moody. And Harry Potter. Check out Book 4 for the uninitiated. But I digress…)

Constant vigilance, not for danger, as in the book, but for love.

Love is the constant in change.

Love is what pulls us through loss and change. Love is what has us look at ourselves and ask, “What do you want here? What are you going to do about it?”

Love is the light that carries us over the bumps and bruises of change. It’s what brings the transformation and rebirth. It’s in the easy and the fun of change. It’s in the doubts and the fears and the uncertainties. Love for what we must release. Love for what we choose to embrace.

Love is the way through change.

It doesn’t matter what form change takes. It’s all love.

And it’s all we need.


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Beauty+Life+You

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