Sometimes I feel like I’m on a roller coaster of feelings. One day I wake up panicked about the future, another day I feel calm and present. I realize that I have entered a New Frontier of my life, and lacking a clear road map, I find I must trust that these waves of emotion are part of the journey.
My friend Lida reminded me the other day that it hasn’t even been a year since I discovered that my financial situation was not what it had seemed. I look back and remember days when I didn’t think I could breathe, but here I am, over eight months later still breathing, feeling stronger, working my plan to regain the stability that seemed to have been lost.
I had serious ankle surgery in November 2004 and I remember the first time I was able to walk in regular shoes and go shopping for a bit at the local mall. This was probably in March or April, four or five months after the surgery. I tried to wear a pair of sandals and after thirty minutes, I realized I could barely walk in them. My feet just weren’t ready! I had to limp back home and put on something very sensible and sturdy, and I also gave up the idea of doing any shopping for another few months.
Looking back, I realize it took me a full year before I could walk easily on my refurbished ankle. It took time. And, I ended up giving away a lot of the shoes I used to wear because they just didn’t work anymore. When you go in for that kind of procedure, no one tells you that along with the repair, your life is going to change!
So why would I be surprised that I still feel the effects of what I now see as post traumatic stress over my discovery last June? An emotional trauma is just as life altering as a physical one, no?
Time is our great ally in recovery. I keep being reminded of old adages: you can’t push the river; all good things in good time; time heals all wounds (and time wounds all heels……). They are a bit trite but true nonetheless.
A friend who spends a lot of time with her grandson watching Finding Nemo reminded me of what Dory the clown fish said over and over: keep swimming–keep swimming! That’s a great thing to do as we live through the time it takes to recover from disaster.
And, I also know that as I’m swimming, I experience a whole range of feelings: I’m scared I won’t make it! The new waters I’m navigating feel alien! I keep having to reach out for help.
As I’ve said many times before in this space, the more I allow myself to feel my fears, the more I share how I feel with my friends and family, the more vulnerable and open I become, the more I can feel myself, and the closer I feel to them. The curious paradox, the mystery of relationships, there it is–right in front of me. And I’m discovering, daily, the ways I steeled myself to NOT feel, to hide my vulnerability, thinking it would somehow serve me to be the strong one, the one who could handle things.
Instead, it kept me from feeling the fullness of myself, and to be able to fully love and be loved.
Being open and vulnerable creates a space for my friends to reach in and comfort me. So it isn’t they who need time–it is I who need time to get comfortable being that transparent, that honest, that willing to let them see me. And today, one of them reminded me of another adage, not so trite or well-known:
Our goal isn’t to try to get out of the rain. Our goal is to learn to dance in the rain.
So it took me eight months to be able to take in that idea, really hear it and appreciate it. What are eight months in a full, rich and rewarding life of a woman in her sixties? What are eight months of riding an emotional roller coaster? Too long? What is time really to a Life Entrepreneur but a way to mark progress?
I like thinking about letting my heart dance through this rain–and I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel next week!