Last weekend, as I was preparing to embark on a solo 7 hour drive, I could feel a sense of overwhelm rising in me. It wasn’t the drive, I’m really familiar with the route, I had plans for connecting with friends as I drove, and a dinner with my daughter to look forward to at the end of the journey. It was the degree of pressure I was putting on myself as I rushed around trying to get everything done before the time I’d planned to leave – a convenient, but arbitrarily chosen time.
So I changed the plan. I decided I’d take Bruce to the airport and come back home to finish up what still needed to be done. Wise move, but (as I realized later) a ‘head’ decision. While the pressure was somewhat relieved, I was still feeling driven by an inner need to hurry up and be ready to leave.
Only as I connected with my heart while saying goodbye to Bruce and felt the tears well up inside me did I realize that despite my change of plan, I was still treating myself harshly.
It was one of those sobering moments of coming face to face with what was really going on. My heart went out to that part of me in overwhelm, and I began to really take care of me.
On the drive …
after coming back home to myself!
Note – photo not taken while moving!
Instead of just changing what I was doing and simply going slower over top of that overwhelmed part of me, I chose to ‘press pause’ and (as I wrote about in the last eNews) come back home to me first. I stopped and let that part know that I’d finally heard what was happening. In making amends to myself I removed any internal pressure to ‘finish quickly’, and soothed that part of me that had been so stressed. I started moving at a pace that felt trueto my internal rhythm, and instead of eating while driving, I also chose to enjoy the lunch I’d packed for myself while still sitting quietly at home!
I waited until I felt truly centered and at home in me before calling my daughter and figuring out Plan B (pizza for dinner ordered and delivered to her home just as I was arriving!) and made the journey with ease.
As you know I’m not ‘new’ at this, for over 10 years I’ve using and teaching my Attentional Living model, inviting us all into being gentle and noticing-accepting-nurturing ourselves. But awareness comes as awareness comes. There’s no make wrong here! (You can find copies of it, and all the models I use here.)
And I get that even after all this time, old patterns aren’t changed in an instant. At various times throughout this week I’ve been aware of that tender part of me that I’ve ‘driven’ for so many years. I’ve noticed both the impulse in me to ‘have to’ do various things, and I’ve noticed the tender part of me ‘waiting’ to see if the pressure is going to be ramped up again. Lots of nuanced noticing, accepting and nurturing being practiced. And sometimes nurturing looks like being open to letting go of my idea of the way some things were supposed to look!
For example, I’d intended to have ready for you a page on my website with information about the next Relationship Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight program I’m planning to offer Mondays November 3 – December 8 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET. BUT …. after a call with my Coach Lissa Boles on Thursday, I realized I needed to go back to the drawing board in the creation of the page. And I’m in Canada this weekend celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with my extended family, so the page isn’t ready.
Even though I realize the time is short, and the information’s still not yet available, I DO intend to offer the program as planned and will keep you posted! Here was yet another opportunity for me to practice being gentle and not going back to either that old pattern of driving myself, or of giving up on something because it feels like it might be too hard!
This weekend as I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, and there are MANY things I’m grateful for in my life. Family, friends, each one of you that has chosen to be part of this community, the many wonderful things we share, the many freedoms and opportunities we have. The list goes on …
It may seem counterintuitive to be thankful for painful experiences – and I’m not sure I’m thankful for the pain itself! But, I really am thankful for the triggers these experiences have been to anchor this next layer of care in my being-ness. The greater ease that’s resulted, and the more attuned sense of awareness and care of me for me makes it so worthwhile.
Whether or not you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope you pause and reflect on what you’re thankful for in this moment – the comfortable and easy, and the not so comfortable, but still really valuable parts! I’d love to hear what comes up for you.
If you happen to be in a space of overwhelm or upset, and not feeling able to access a sense of gratefulness, I honour you here too. After seeing how helpful it’s been to me and others, I’ve posted a downloadable pdf of those Practical Steps in Coming Back Home to Ourselves that I wrote about in the last eNews. Why not grab yourself a copy and print it out, keeping it handy like I’ve done with mine? I’d love to hear how it works for you – and please feel free to share it with others too.