When you don’t feel “merry” or “bright”…

 

 

I wasn’t in the mood for Christmas.  I simply was not feeling “merry” or “bright” this season.

 

I spent the morning of Christmas Eve sitting in my car with tears streaming down my face, feeling a sadness and a loss and a heaviness on my heart.  It felt different than I’ve felt before and I was worried about myself.  Was I depressed?  I’d been kind of down for the couple days prior and it seemed to be getting worse.

 

To be fully transparent, there were a few external factors that could have contributed to my mood:

  1. We didn’t decorate.
  2. We didn’t buy presents.
  3. We weren’t with family.

However, all of those were deliberate and intentional choices.

We closed on our first home just 3 days after Christmas and we had a lot happening this year.

SO…

  1.  Frankly, the thought of decorating was unappealing.
  2. Our monies were on lock-down due to the closing and any presents we were giving and getting were going to be after we closed and for our new home.
  3. Traveling to Ohio or Michigan or Maryland to be with family didn’t feel like the best choice this year and it wasn’t financially intelligent.

BUT…

With the exception of closing on the house, none of that stuff was “new” for us.

  1.  There have been years past where I wasn’t in the mood to decorate.
  2. There have been a few times over the years where we’ve been down and out financially and were unable to afford gifts.
  3. With family so spread out and jobs in the restaurant industry, there have been many, many years where we’ve not been with family during the holiday.

HOWEVER…

Despite all of the hiccups in the past, we’ve always had our traditions.  We bake cookies and make hot cocoa and drive around looking at neighborhood Christmas lights.  I make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we talk to family.  We cook dinner, we have drinks, play games, and watch Christmas movies all day.

But this year I didn’t want to do any of it.

Not a single thing.

I just wanted to stay in bed, snuggled under the covers with my pups.

I felt super lonely and simultaneously wanted to be left alone.

 

I felt this emotional sadness until December 26th.  By late afternoon that day I felt better.  I could tell because there was a tangible shift in my energy.

So, while I know we’re now past Christmas and into the new year, I want to share what I did over those few days.

You see, life will deliver you many opportunities to feel overwhelmed and to feel pressured with expectations on how you’re “supposed to” feel.  There will probably be times where you’ll experience sadness, be in “a mood”, feel anxious, or simply find yourself in an unexplainable funk, and if you do, I want you to know there’s hope.

 

1.  I let a couple of people see the “real me”.

 

I allowed myself to been seen in my sadness by a few people I trusted and I knew would hold the space for me to just be.  I texted a friend and told her what was really going on with me.  I told another friend what I felt sad about and allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest with her when she came by work to wish me a Merry Christmas.

When you’re feeling down, it’s important that you don’t hide.  This part of you isn’t “bad”.  It doesn’t deserve to be shunned and punished.  It needs to be loved on and nurtured.

Start by giving that to yourself.  Give yourself permission to feel how you feel.  Tell yourself it’s okay, look in the mirror and say “I love you”, and take your right arm to your left shoulder and your left arm to your right shoulder and squeeze.

Next, find a safe space where you can be seen in your perfectly imperfect, messy, snot-nosed glory.  This might be with your Mom or Dad, a friend, a coach, a mentor, or an accountability partner.  You’re simply looking for a place or a moment in time where you can be who you really are and feel what you’re really feeling.  Oftentimes, you don’t need a discussion.  You simply need someone to know what’s really going on with you.  Another soul with whom you can share your authentic truth.

I am learning that part of emotional intelligence is recognizing that certain situations (my job) do call for me to “pull it together” because my emotional meltdown isn’t their problem, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell a friend that I’m sad.

 

2.  I didn’t pretend to be happy.  

 

I didn’t put on a “happy face”.  I didn’t “fake it ’til I made it”.  When you’re in this space, I invite you to try and get neutral instead of trying to be happy.  Maybe you’re currently over in Funk-Town.  Please do not try to get to I’m-Super-Cheery-Ville.  In my opinion, it’s waaaaaay too far to travel.  When people ask how you are, you don’t have to say, “I’m awesome!” You can say, “I’m okay.”

There’s a balance between wallowing and complaining (something I do NOT recommend) and just being present with what is.  Oftentimes when we hide what’s real for us it comes from a place of feeling shame, guilt, or embarrassment.  We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel this way, that other people have their own problems, and that they don’t need to be “bothered” by us and our feelings.

Who you are and what you’re feeling is no bother.

Who you are and what you’re feeling is exquisite.

 

3.  I cried.

 

You’ve got to express yourself.  Cry, hit a pillow, throw a kicking and screaming tantrum, go to an arcade and throw or shoot something, journal, go for a run, take a kickboxing class, or do whatever else feels honoring to your soul.

Emotions are meant to be felt so they can be released.  No holding back here.  Personally, I cried.  Then I cried again.  Then again.  That’s what felt right to me.  There’s no right or wrong answer here.  You simply want to get the emotions moving.  Trust me, they don’t want to be lodged in your body anymore than you want them there.

 

4.  I rested.

 

When all else fails, take a nap.  Sometimes the only thing to do is close your eyes and catch some zzz’s.  It can often act as a pattern interrupt for the funk.  I’ve found that feeling sad is exhausting and sometimes the tired amplifies my sadness which leads to overwhelm and … {cue vicious cycle}.

You’re allowed to take a nap.

You’re allowed to get a full night of sleep.

You’re allowed to take care of you.

 

 

 

This wasn’t my first funk.  It won’t be my last.  What’s important is that we remember, “Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.” We don’t have to attach a story about what they mean or what they’re saying about who we are.  We can just sit with them as they move through us.

 

What are the things that YOU do when you find yourself in one of these funks?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please share any questions or comments below.

Wishing you presence in this new year.

xo,

Michelle

What’s up for me right now…

 

It began early Saturday morning.  I noticed that it hurt a little when I swallowed.  Now, 6 days later, when I open my mouth no words come out.

I am unable to recall the last time I was physically unable to speak.  Even if I try, there are no words and it sucks.  It sucks big time.  It’s scary and a bit demoralizing.

But, as find myself forced into this silence, I notice there is a lot bubbling up emotionally.  So, I made a choice.  A choice to shift from being angry at my situation into lovingly accepting what is.  And, wow.  From that place much has been discovered.

Allow me to share….

 

My emotions have manifested physically.

This is something I’ve thought to be true in the past, but I’m really getting it in my body (literally) right now.  I am a believer that our emotions manifest themselves physically and therefore, when I experience any sort of physical symptom, I am prompted to dig into what’s going on emotionally.  Louise Hay is one of my favorite authors on this subject and her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” sits on my desk.  There’s a list toward the back of the book that references probable mental causes for dis-eases.  She invites her readers to “Look up the mental cause.  See if this could be true for you.  If not, sit quietly and ask yourself, “What could be the thoughts in me that created this?”  

What became present for me was a fear of using my voice.  A fear of speaking up and speaking out.  I became aware that I’ve spent a great deal of my life living in silence.  Not silence like I never said anything, I mean, I can talk a lot, but silent about the things that were and are deeply important to me.

I was afraid.

Afraid of offending you.  Afraid of hurting you.  Afraid of pissing you off.  Afraid of upsetting you.  Afraid of making you uncomfortable.  Afraid of rocking boat.  Afraid of making waves.  Afraid of alienating people.  Afraid of losing followers.  Afraid of being judged if I made a new decision and shifted my beliefs.  Afraid of being wrong.  Afraid of messing up.  Afraid of not being liked.

And if I did speak out, I was simultaneously apologizing.  So much apologizing.

I am sorry for hurting you.  I am sorry for making you uncomfortable.  I am sorry for offending you.  I am sorry for who the f*ck even knows what, but I probably did something and I’m sure I should apologize.

I’ve taken down videos or posts that I thought might piss you off or make you uncomfortable.  I’ve edited posts and comments I’ve made.  I’ve not commented or spoken up in conversations.

And I want to be clear, many times when I’ve opted out of getting involved, it has NOT by deliberate choice, but out of fear of judgement.

T H E R E  I S  A  D I F F E R E N C E.

I can CHOOSE to not engage.  I can CHOOSE to step out of a conversation or CHOOSE to not enter one in the first place.

But, being AFRAID to… well, f*ck that shit.

 

I am changing and I’m okay if that scares you.

There’s a lot of growth happening within me right now.  A great deal of shifting.

While this is uncomfortable to say, I realized that part of why I was hiding my voice and avoiding speaking my truth was because I didn’t want to be labeled.  I didn’t want to be “that girl”.  I was so wrapped up in worrying about the possible judgments of others that not only was I not standing in my truth, I actually wasn’t 100% clear on what my truth was.

You want to know what’s up for me right now?  I am learning what’s important to me.  I am discovering what I believe in.  ME.  Not what you think I should believe in or what my mom taught me to believe in or what society says I should believe in based on the countless stamps you could use to label who I am.

There’s the “I was sexually assaulted” stamp, the “I’ve been hit” stamp, the “I’m married to a woman” stamp, the “I am woman” stamp, the “I am an entrepreneur” stamp, the “I am a coach” stamp, the “I am a speaker” stamp, the “I am a teacher” stamp, the “I am a waitress” stamp, the “I am a spiritual seeker” stamp, the “I am an animal lover” stamp, the “I am a vegan” stamp, the “I don’t have kids” stamp and on and on and on….

I have decided that it is okay for me to form my OWN beliefs, opinions, and judgments and I have given myself permission to change my mind any time I learn something new.

AND I decided that my beliefs, opinions, and judgments do not have to fit into my outdated mold of what I used to believe is right and/or have been trained to believe is “proper”.

F*CK my expectations of me.

I am 40 years old and I’m getting to know ME.  The REAL ME.  Not the version of “me” I presented to the world for so many years.

I’m asking myself questions, some of which I don’t have the answer for… yet.

I’m allowing the space between who I was and who I am becoming to excite verses terrify me.

I have given myself permission to try on different identities.  Permission to explore different beliefs and see how they feel in my body.  Permission to have conversations with those who are willing to speak their truth freely.  Permission to stretch my beliefs and challenge what I thought I knew.  Permission to evolve.  Permission to transform.  Permission to do all of this unapologetically.

 

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I’ll tell ya, there is nothing like having something taken away from you to up your appreciation level.

I am so incredibly grateful for my voice.  Grateful for the power of speech.  Grateful for the reminders that the Universe has lovingly been sending me for the past few days about the power of ONE VOICE.

I was pretending that I didn’t have anything important to say.  I was pretending that people probably didn’t care anyway.  I was pretending that my single voice couldn’t make a difference.

I decided to call bullshit on my story.  I had been using my growth and my learning as an excuse to stay silent.

Until now.

I will never begin if I have to have it all figured out first.  And I need to begin.

The call on my heart is great and while I honestly don’t know what it all looks like and I don’t know what I’ll be doing or how I’ll be showing up in the world tomorrow, let alone 3, 6, or 12 months down the road, there are a few things I do know for sure….

I am committed to using my voice.

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I am committed to guiding while I travel.

I don’t know the details, but I know in my heart that we can and we will change this planet.  Together.

XO,

Michelle