Little StoriesMindsetTransitions

When it sucks

I am not feeling like those adorable gals in the picture. I am not sitting on a stoop with my besties, hinged at the waist in laughter, a beret perched on my sweet little head. 

I am sitting on the couch under a blanket with a dozen pillows tucked here and there for support.

I had big plans for 2019.

I joined the gym down the street. I signed up for a 30-day yoga challenge at a studio around the corner. I enrolled in a rigorous and challenging weekend course in NYC &  booked myself into a fancy hotel. La la! I was determined to start the new year off on the right foot!

On New Year’s Day, I broke my foot.

Was I skiing? Hiking? Snow-shoeing? No. I was walking from my office to the kitchen to make a cup of joe and hit the chair leg at, apparently, just the right angle. 

By January 2nd, I was in a ‘boot,’ ordered off my feet for 6-8 weeks. 

The next few days brought some mighty struggles for my son at school. 

And then this weekend, I got slammed with a stomach virus for the second time in less than a month. Like, literally, the same bug took me down–boom boom, twice in a row. Wtf is with my white blood cells? Have they left the premises? 

No matter how much I know that setbacks are part of life, I prefer when things are going well. I prefer when I’m feeling healthy, when my family is happy, when my plans go off without a hitch.

But sometimes, no matter how much organizing and prioritizing we do, no matter how much courage we muster, the shit just goes ahead and hits the fan, anyway.

So, what to do? 

1. Stay in the moment. This is what’s happening NOW, not what has alwayshappened or will always be happening. At some point, my foot will heal. My stomach will settle. My son will find his way.  

2. The moment sucks! Let yourself feel the suckitude of it. Our pain comes from resisting what is happening, yes. But how you feel about what is happening is part of what’s happening! Feel the disappointment, the frustration, the worry, the sadness, the irritation, the whatever. One caveat: Feel it, don’t FONDLE it.  

I love doing Kyle Cease’s exercise called, “And I love that” at times like this. It’s not to make myself LOVE what sucks. It’s to help me make room for it which creates space which allows it to move through me more quickly. The added bonus: the absurdity of saying “and I love that” to something I most certainly do not love can crack me up. 🙂

Here’s what you do: Be completely honest about what sucks, really let it fly, out loud, without trying to be mature or healthy or spiritual. Every few sentences, tack on “and I love that” to  the end of whatever you’re saying. If you try it, PLEASE let me know how it went for you! I’d love to hear.

3. Be kind to yourself–I’m talking GOBS of self-compassion for what feels hard. Know it’s part of being a human person. Know there is someone, somewhere, struggling with their version of the very same thing. Don’t give in to the temptation to compare your pain to anyone else’s. That is not kindness. We don’t tell the crying child with a scraped and bleeding knee that, come on, at least she doesn’t have breast cancer. 

4. Ask yourself, what would love do? Would love have me watch 10 straight hours of crap TV while eating an economy size bag of potato chips? Or would love be a cup of tea and a book? Or a phone call with a friend who will make those sympathetic sounds of care? Or a nap, Chinese home delivery for dinner, a pair of striped sweater stockings or a red beret?

Here’s hoping that your year started off much more smoothly than mine, dear reader.  But if it didn’t, take heart, be with the suck, love it, let it move through you, and heap on the love and kindness.

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