Finding Freedom During Difficult Times
I have been thinking about writing to you for weeks now, yet I held back because I was feeling that my last few communications were too sad– and all about my grief process over the loss of my sister, Debbie.
To be honest, I worried that I may bore you or, worse, depress you. I’ve been concerned that being in this vulnerable state is not the best aspect of myself to share with all of you. And then I realized that the Wabi Sabi’ness of the situation may actually be helpful, in some way, to those of you who are grieving in your own way– facing a loss, disappointment, or difficult times.
I have been truly humbled by my experience of my sisters dying and the feelings related to her loss. And through the painful parts I have been inspired to continuously look for the beauty and imperfection of the grieving process. It is a process, and it is quite imperfect, yet I have learned that it is also rich with new discoveries and opportunities to grow.
I am forever altered by Debbie’s passing, yet I am beginning to see that the changes in me will benefit me in profound ways. I wanted to share some of the jewels that have begun to reveal themselves in my life through this experience:
- True gratitude of what I have. I have developed a deeper, more profound gratitude for every aspect of my life. Life is precious to me in a way that I could have never imagined. Loss of someone or something dear makes what you do have so much more valuable and appreciated.
- Setting aside time to let go of stress. Another gift has been awakening to the realities of ways I have been endangering my emotional and physical health. I thought I was leading a healthy lifestyle, and never really took into account the tremendous amount of stress I have. Most importantly, I was not aware that I have an automatic response to stressors that is not at all healthy. I realized that I have to give myself a vacation from stress; that it is essential for healing. Recognizing this has prompted me to make some HUGE changes. For the first time ever, I am going to take a sabbatical six week sabbatical, beginning on August 1st. No work, no email, no decision making, no creating–just six weeks devoted to love, healing, resting, restoration. At this time in my life, I can’t even imagine what it will be like to wake up in the morning and not have a “to-do” list. To just lie in bed and ask my soul: “How would you like to feel today?” “Where do you want to go?” “What would you like to do and with whom?”
- Permission to say no. Perhaps the most surprising gift, and the one I am most reluctant to even share with you, is that being in this delicate state has given me a freedom I never knew I needed or wanted: The freedom to just say no. In my “normal” world I get requests all day long–requests for my time, my connections, for endorsements and introductions. The list is endless. I like to say “YES” –it’s fun to assist people and be connected—so I rarely say “no.” Saying “YES” always came easily and because I work at such a fast pace, none of these things seem to take a lot of my time or energy. But now, with having so little energy to spare, I have found that saying no is essential. I literally have no extra bandwidth—as I like to call it– to deal with the demands I once juggled everyday. At the moment, I am able to power through my work day (which is super busy right now) and by the end of the day, I plop onto the couch for the rest of the night. Allowing myself to say “no” has not only helped me find a new freedom; it also helped me discovered that I have been in denial about being a people pleaser! (Believe me, this is shocking to me.)
So, my friends, this is where I am right now. Grateful, mildly optimistic, and in a process that everyday gets a little easier, a little better. And, I am so looking forward to taking a big chunk of time to commune with my soul later this summer.
I would love to know if you have had a similar experience and/or how Wabi Sabi is influencing your life. You can leave me a comment below.
Wishing you love,
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