What I am about to write is the truth. I'm not afraid of the truth, but I am hesitant to share it because I don't want sympathy or pity. I want to share an honest depiction of my life on this blog, and what I'm about to write is as true as the glorious moments when I crossed finish lines, launched off a trapeze platform, made delicious pie crust, and wrote 80,000 words.
The truth is:
I am coming to terms with how I can be deeply content and profoundly sad at the same time.
I am lonely for something or someone I cannot quite put my finger on.
I am weepy, and when those moments come I wonder if I can ever grow strong in my broken places.
I'm not eating enough.
I miss my daughter when we are apart.
I'm tired of thinking about the debt I have to pay down.
I'm scared that I may never be a published writer.
I'm scared that the story I'm writing will never be as good outside my head as it is inside.
I get anxious when I can't plan for the future or even have the remotest idea what might come my way.
These winter days have me feeling like I'm a character in Groundhog Day.
I am an overthinker, and am wondering how to turn off the chatter in my head.
I have a few new mantras I'm meditating on to help me turn the volume down on my chatter.
Martha Beck has the best mantras:
May I feel happy. May I feel peace. May I feel safe and protected.
Don't drink the poison. (The bad stories we tell ourselves that make us physically ill.)
She also suggests that I stop struggling. I asked Tammy, "How do I stop struggling?"
Her answer? "Go limp, sister. Go limp."
So I put on my warm hat and coat and launched out into the cool, overcast day for a walk. I breathed deeply and enjoyed putting one foot in front of another. I thought about what it might feel like physically to "go limp," so that I could practice the physical and then mental sensation of stopping the struggle.
I smiled at the people who passed me on the sidewalk. I felt a jauntiness to my step. I thought about how much I loved Nancy Drew when I was a pre-teen. How much I wanted to be like her growing up. How I could still pretend to be like her now.
Another mantra came to mind as I walked.
"Give us this day our daily bread" meaning, help me have hope for the future, but mostly help me just stay right here in this moment and trust that my needs will be met today.
I returned to my office. I sat back down at my desk and began wrapping up what I'd been working on before lunch.
And then an e-mail caught my attention: US BANK HAS YOUR BANK CARD.
A coworker sent me the e-mail. It turns out on that walk when I was clearing my head, smiling, and daydreaming of Nancy Drew, my credit card slipped out of my pocket or my grasp without me noticing. A kind bank vice president found it, took it back to his office. His staff googled my name, found where I might work. They called a coworker who confirmed that that was me. The bank staff told the coworker that they were holding the card for me.
I sat very still. There was no need to panic because the solution had arrived before I knew there was a problem. My daily bread had been delivered.
I worked late because going home to an empty house didn't have much appeal. I was ready to leave after an hour. Good music accompanied me home on an evening when the traffic had dissipated before I hit the road. I sang along with the radio and remembered something else Martha Beck has said: singing is a great stress reliever and mood enhancer.
I pulled into my garage, carried my stuff into the kitchen, and went straight to my room. I changed out of my work clothes. I set the alarm on my phone for fifteen minutes and committed to seeing how many sun salutations could be done in the space of those few minutes.
I breathed deeply. I moved slowly. I stretched and breathed through the pain of tight hamstrings. I noticed how my body moved differently as I increased the number of sun salutations I did. My heels eventually touched the floor. My shoulders remained on my back as I moved from one pose to the next. My hands came closer to laying flat on the mat then ever before. I was warming up. Actually getting a little bit hot. This rarely happens and especially not in the winter.
I noticed the chatter quieted as I moved and breathed. I remembered this was why I love yoga so much. I told myself more yoga was going to be needed to get me through writing my second draft and to get me over this emotional slump I'm in.
I took this picture to document my progress.
I stepped off the mat. And felt something different. I felt hunger. And peace. And a quiet mind.
I have to remember the things that help me up and out of these dark periods that visit me now and then.
I can tell I will sleep well tonight, and for that, I am grateful.