Sep 29, 2011

midstream reflection of a renovation

Planned or not, renovations sure present an interesting metaphor with which to perceive and work through our own internal journey of change or transition.

what's really going on below?

Clearing the Decks:
getting ready for the work to be done.


Letting Go:
cleaning out what is no longer useful ...and keeping what is. 

Midstream Reflection: taking time to notice where I have landed.  
  • Appreciation (it's still standing...and so am I).  
  • Anticipating the next step which will bring different materials and support.  
  • Acknowledging the guiding force and trust I put into my underlying intentions and vision
 Shivers of excitement emerge as my body-mind-spirit begins to make the move from fear and overwhelm to trust and possibility. Silver lining's and gifts begin to surface out of the chaos and rubble.

Wherever you are along your transitional journey, Breathe Big and know you're not alone.  


Sep 21, 2011

another layer

The sound of my typing blends with the sound of my floor being ripped up.

What a journey the past two weeks have been! Though there are still many unknown's and a number of fears, I am feeling better - compared to Monday.

Monday the worker didn't show up. Monday I couldn't get a hold of him to find out why. Monday all the stress came crashing down on my head and weighed very heavy.  How could I have been so proud of myself regarding how I was handling things and now suddenly I find it all too much?

After some pondering, some paddling, some sleep...I've got a hunch as to what might be going on. Clearly we're dealing with different layers and time lines when we're dealing with loss and grief.

When my brother died I think I went into logistic mode. There's so much to do, including supporting family members and his friends. I felt strange but not like how I would have imagined I'd feel at such a huge loss. It seemed buried or far away some how. Seven months later (last weekend) I'm in Toronto and suddenly I feel a wave of sadness. It hit me with no warning:

This was Peter's city.
        I'll never see him again here.
                 I'll never see him again period.
A similar pattern seems to be showing up with this sudden unexpected (nor desired) renovation. You keep it together in order to get what needs to be done, done. Contacting and meeting with the various people who can advise you, choosing the various folks to do the work, figuring out how the heck you're going to pay for it, and packing and moving and asking for help to get all your stuff out of the way. That's what I had control over.

Now that that part is's out of my hands to a large extent. I have to let go. I have to trust the people to come and do what they said they would. When they don't, or when it changes from what I understood, I suddenly feel all the stuffed down feelings that go with this whole change - overwhelmed, frustrated, scared - anything but strong.

Like another layer of grieving.

What helped me through that period? Sleep for sure. Let's not underestimate the power of rest. Reminding myself to breathe, big, deep, belly breaths. And I think the biggest thing for me was expressing those raw feelings. First privately through uncensored journal writing, then to an empathetic ear or two. And allowing the tears and the anger to show too. All these things helped me find my balance again.

So here's what I want to remember when attempting to live aligned through a tough time:
  • Acknowledge that there will be layers and various depths. 
  • Listen to your body. 
  • Feel what you feel. 
  • Ask for and accept support.

What about you? Anything you want to add that has helped you in your experiences?

Sep 8, 2011

both farmer and field

I just learned that I have to completely redo my floor insulation...yup, the whole floor, the one upon which I eat, work, visit, sleep, live. The one upon which all my belongings currently sit. The one upon which all the walls rest.

It appears that the clay upon which the barn sits has led to condensation build up, which has given way to wet insulation, which has begun to compromise the wood frame. Any way you look at it...chaos and a huge expense has descended! No easy answers here.

What surprises me is how relatively calmly - and with some humour - I'm taking it all. I guess that's part of the beauty of  acceptance.  It is what it is. Neither freaking out nor hiding out is going to help. Instead I'm open and curious and ready to face the challenges, learn what I need to learn, find the resources that will help me figure out what to do and how to do it. I've even wondered what magical new idea or outcome it might lead to! (Don't get me wrong I've had my moments, complete with expletives!)

This time last year I was also hit with a range of challenges. Though I slogged through them valiantly, it was hard. It was hard because I had so little reserves to fall back on then. I guess we could say I was officially burned out. The difference in how I feel as I face my current challenges is striking. With my energy back, I can feel my attitude, my curiosity, my problem solving centers alive and active again.

Acceptance of what is includes recognizing when to stop, when to leap, when to ask for help. You can't be your best nor offer your best if you are depleted.

Self-care is not selfish, it's wise. Resting, taking time for yourself, doing nothing ... isn't wasting time (as I experienced it at times). It's wise action. A farmer knows that a field that is allowed to occasionally lay fallow will reap much more in the future.

You are both farmer and field. Take care of yourself. Tune into what part of the cycle you are meant to be in right now and be there.   


Another learning from this year's creative sabbatical has been how much I get from structured reflection time in the form of writing and sharing my thoughts. So I hereby renew my commitment to weekly posts. 

All feedback, including suggesting topics or questions, would be much appreciated.