This photo was taken two years ago during a particularly stressful time while I was on bed rest and ordered to slow down for the sake of my unborn baby. At the time, I found it nearly impossible because while I could slow my body down, what about my mind? It almost felt like my mind had sped up to compensate for the lack of movement and lack of action. With that compensation came fear, anxiety and frustration. It kind of mimics the situation we are all in right now, don’t you think?
On the one hand, what I was being asked to do was simple. Stay on the couch, relax, rest, breathe, focus on your pregnancy and let all other things fall to the side because your child is more important. On the other hand, were the things I’d created, routines built and accomplishments that needed to be tended to for them to survive. It felt like the business that I had built from the ground up was now fluttering in the wind; projects and books left unwritten and clients frustrated. My vegetable garden, a source of food for my family, threatened to become a tangled mess of weeds. Connections with those I regularly interacted with became stagnant and faded away. I felt guilty for silently rebelling in my head, for feeling so bitter about having to do something as simple as stay on that couch. I felt guilty and ashamed because so many would have given anything for that opportunity, and yet all I could think about were the things I wanted to do and what I was missing out on. How silly, right? Or is it?
Fast forward two years, and here we are. We are in the middle of a pandemic where we have to isolate, distance ourselves and protect. We are being asked to stay in our houses, relax, rest, breathe and focus on our families. Focus on cleaning our hands, wearing our masks and distancing ourselves. Easy enough, right? I mean, come on, others have it far worst… Others are dying. And yet, once again, those feelings of guilt from thinking about the other hand creep in. My business and connections have once again slipped, and that sense of guilt for feeling sad about these things as others lay in hospital beds has returned. I often lay in bed and think about those first responders giving everything they have to help others, sacrificing their time and family life for others. I think of those who have lost loved ones and can’t even say goodbye. I think about those alone both at home and in the hospital, scared and restricted. I think, and I shatter.
What the world needs today is a reprieve. A moment of combined greatness where there is no death, no masks, no limitations. A moment when we can grab each other and hold on. I’ve read that during WW2, on Christmas Day, there was a cease-fire, and both sides celebrated without any bloodshed. I wish it were possible that there could be a cease-fire with this sickness and the negative it has brought about for one day. Touch, talk, see each other. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen yet.
So what CAN I do? The same thing that I did two years ago on a particularly hard day. I climbed off the couch and headed into the backyard because I needed to scream, swear, smash a planter and throw my hands into the air while just releasing. This guilt, this sadness is heavy, and it builds up. It layers on top of itself like a blanket until it’s too heavy to crawl from underneath, and it’s so important before it gets too heavy to throw it off and just RELEASE!
Regardless of my situation, my perceived blessings, or my safety, we are all entitled to the feelings and emotions that come up. We are entitled to feel upset about the current danger. Painful events and occurrences from the past seem to creep up during moments like these, often amplified mental drain is real. Too often, I’ve heard people say be grateful that you’re safe, you’re at home, and it negates all the other life history and struggles that we as individuals have. This post isn’t about laying blame or deflecting. It’s about the release. Whatever we are feeling, those feelings have energy and have to be managed.
Today I plan to stand on my back deck, raise my hands into the air, throw my head back and scream. I’ll leave my hands up, maybe shed a tear or two and ask for what I need. Maybe I’ll stand there and thinking about what I can do for those in need, for my family, but also what I can do for myself.