Preface from Jon:
Sailing Pivo recently posted about some of the hopes and dreams that she had when they moved to the sailing life. In Debunking Myths, Daniella observes that if you don’t some work to change yourself, you aren’t likely to feel any real true life satisfaction with just a change in scenery. That’s what this week’s post is about. The internal work, that at least Sandy is doing so that as we make the change in the scenery of our life, true satisfaction in life can be found.
Daniella can be found at Sailing Pivo. Check her out!
The Universe, Lessons, and Lifelines
Almost two years ago I wrote about the power of nature in storms I’ve witnessed and experienced throughout my life (The Joy of Storms). The past two years have brought tremendous changes for me. My oldest child left for college, having COVID nearly took my life and significantly altered the course of my future, I shifted from being a school administrator to an online teacher to retiring from a 36-year career, I started a business, I’m learning to sail, we have sold our home and the majority of our belonging’s, just to highlight a few. I’m sure any therapist would have a heyday unpacking just that! However, what has come to the surface for me is not the tumultuous ride of these changes, but rather facing the storm inside my soul.
I’ve long recognized a void in myself, an emptiness, a sense that I am not whole. I could never find clarity or understanding, much less inner peace. Thus far I have lived my life out of balance, always searching and yearning for something. I’ve filled every minute with busy-ness in attempt to fill that void, or least to avoid feeling the pain. I poured myself into my career. I gave my heart and soul to my family. I’ve gardened, taken up countless hobbies, remodeled houses, exercised, you name it I’ve probably tried it. I’ve struggled with alcohol abuse. I’ve spent hours in counseling and reading self-help books. And while all of those choices have added to the rich texture of my life, they have not quieted the sadness deep in my soul.
I promised myself that once I retired, I would finally spend the time necessary to sort this emptiness out and try to find my wholeness. I put it out there the universe, “I’m ready to heal, bring into my life what I need”. Of course, I already had a plan to orchestrate and control that process, and didn’t really think I needed much from the universe. I set out to teach myself some mindfulness practices, and actually use them on a daily basis. I began stretching and breathing in to the chronic pain in my body from years of accumulated stress and neglect. I began scheduling myself more massage appointments, committed to more exercise, and began learning more about how to take care of a post-menopausal body. After a couple of months, I started to feel better physically. Surely emotional peace wasn’t far behind.
My mother has Alzheimer’s, and the time to put her in hospice care came this past fall. The day after that was done, I woke up with every fiber of my being in pain. And it was still there 2 days later. This level of emotional pain manifesting in my physical body was new to me. I again put it out there to the universe, “You got my attention, I really do want to heal, so… I’m ready to listen”. My mind immediately filled with a vision of a beautiful mountain lake on an August day. I could feel the gentle breeze on my face, see the bright blue sky with high wispy clouds, smell the pine forest, and feel the ice-cold water hitting my skin as I plunged in. My feet never touched bottom in that lake. And the universe whispered, “It’s time to jump, there are lessons to learn, it’s time to remember and it’s time to heal”. WHAT?? You want me to jump in the deep, dark water? I looked around, I fought it, I tried to hide, I pondered what to do next. But I understood my only real option was to jump, and so I did. And, the universe has thrown me the most magnificent lifelines in the most unexpected places.
As life marched forward the past two decades and I kept myself busy, I became disconnected and out of touch from my side of the family. I have deeply missed them. The universe gave me a lifeline back to them, and I cherish seeing their smiling faces every time we connect. While the universe had to hit me in the head with this lifeline, I am embracing the difficult work being done in therapy. Brain spotting is hard. I didn’t know I was capable of being so dysregulated and crying so many tears. I’m thankful for a compassionate therapist and a safe space to do the work. A simple question, “Sandy, have you ever been to Sedona?”, led to me to go there and discover an unexpected lifeline in energy work and healing. I’ve connected with an energy healer closer to home and am beginning to understand myself in a different light.
There have been other, smaller lifelines as well. A call from my oldest, whom I deeply miss. My youngest checking in with me, just because he can. Coffee with a friend, an expression of gratitude from a client, a text, funny meme or video from a friend, a smile from a stranger. And of course, the never-ending hugs from my husband. My entire life I’ve found joy in taking care of and loving others. Right now, I’m still in the deep, dark waters of that mountain lake. Some days I fight and try to claw my way out. Other days I’m able to grasp the lifelines and learn the lessons I need. I’m in the midst of a storm, and my journey is teaching me, sometimes gently and other times with a sledge hammer. I’m learning what it means to be whole, embodied, and to be self-contained. In the power of this storm, I might just learn how to find joy in taking care of and loving myself. I suspect that’s where freedom and inner peace will be found.