I have been in a difficult emotional space for a while. I have been feeling anxious and scared and a big trigger is my professional life and the changes I am considering making in it. I get overwhelmed by how to work it all out and am easily discouraged. When I am not mindful, the fear of not knowing bleeds into my daily experience and contaminates my sense of hope. The passage of time and the normal routines of my life are making me keenly aware of what I have lost. It’s all part of the process of acceptance, of change, a little (and at times a lot of) fear about my future. Other relationships have also changed, shifted, or died. Friends move away or need to create new focuses, and last Friday my ex and I scattered the ashes of our sweet friend and cat Clarissa (she died almost two years ago, but neither of us could face letting her fully go until recently). Loss, death and new life are all linked, I know this intellectually. I have not been writing because I can’t articulate much about hope these days, and I would just be stewing in heavy feelings. Life is hard enough, who wants to write or read about hopelessness?
I spent two weekends ago with my friend Dawn and her husband Tim. I was trying to describe what I’ve been going through for a few months and she pinned the tail on the donkey. “You’re missing the high.” She was so spot-on. It was helpful to be heard and to have my experience understood and reflected back to me. I have been “high” on life for the past year and a half, somehow, despite going through a divorce. Don’t ask me how, I don’t know. Manic at times, Dawn pointed out.
My normal energy is not on that frequency. And it’s not sustainable. But I don’t want to crash and default to a shutdown setting either. My challenge is to deal with the experience of disorientation that comes along with life transitions and find my new set point. I keep practicing what I preach: stay in the moment, it is all I really have and it is more than enough. When I start to plummet, I look for the grain of truth in my experience (real but not true) but am determined to not be ruled by my emotions and old, tired story lines.
In a few weeks it will be a year since Alexa, Dawn and I launched this website. As I drank my coffee this morning, it occurred to me that I could write about how deeply grateful I am for my two friends, to this space of writing and for how much purpose and joy it has given me over the past year. And ironically enough, here I am again in touch with and writing about a little flame of life flickering out of the ashes.
I don’t have to be high to be grateful and it pulls me out of despair. It’s just right.