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Acknowledge What Is

In an effort to pretend all is well … at times, we squash our totally legitimate feelings of despair, sadness, or heartache.

In our attempts to pretend everything is fine … we hide our true feelings of loneliness, boredom, or listlessness.

In an attempt to not be seen as boastful or bragging, we minimize our wins … our accomplishments … our successes.

Instead of being able to share these feelings with others, we tend to suffer (or celebrate) ALONE.

Sure these are all “just” feelings and feelings come and go … but they are OUR feelings and we are ALLOWED to feel …

Should we be cautious about how much and to what extent we let our feelings govern our life? Absolutely.

Should we be careful not to let our hurts and aches and pains hurt those around us? Definitely!

Should we remain humble? Yes!

But we SHOULD be able to feel … to acknowledge what is … a hardship, a trial, a challenging situation … 

Feelings are what make life life … they allow us to actually EXPERIENCE life in all its glory …

Each time we feel something, essentially taking a minute to acknowledge what is, we are given an opportunity to cultivate compassion and empathy and understanding for others … and all THEY must be feeling and going through too … 

If we don’t share, then we don’t know … if we don’t know, we cannot offer understanding … we are denied the opportunity to assure others that they are not suffering (or celebrating) alone.

Last week, after a giant snowstorm and a few days of cold weather and no sunshine, I was suffering again …

After work on Tuesday, while driving to town to pick up the kids from daycare and school, everything felt heavy again … I felt tired … drained … lifeless … the spark I so often preach about … the “zest for life” … the excitement … the joy … felt like it had been snuffed out … 

I heard myself saying, “I … just … don’t … feel … like doing … anything … lately … I’ve got no motivation … no big goals I’m working towards … no big aspirations … everything beyond the “basics” just feels like too much!” 

I keep catching myself trying to figure out how to “opt out” of more things … do even LESS … I’ve even dreamed about just curling up in bed … and staying there … until this whole thing is over with … 

I’ve got nothing left … 

Thankfully, I DO feel like I’m still showing up well for my family and for my husband and in my work (and I’m taking good care of my physical self) … but even in these areas, I’m struggling, at times, to find the joy … the light … the excitement … 

In fact, last week, I caught myself picturing my life much like the “Guess Who?” board game I’ve played so often with my kids … at one point, all the little windows were open … my life was “full” … lots of categories … lots of variety … lots going on … initially, COVID gave the gift of gently closing a few of those windows … at first this was liberating … “freeing” … as our obligations became fewer and fewer … but over a year into this pandemic now, more and more windows have closed … more and more opportunities “snuffed out” … and, now, it seems, I have only three main windows open … kids, husband, job … and, truthfully, I’m dying a little … or at least a part of me is dying … it seems … the part that I love … the part that gives life meaning and richness and value is missing … the “spark” is gone … 

Beyond the “Guess Who?” board game, I’ve also pictured this whole experience as a giant syringe slowly sucking “the life” out of me … depleting me … utterly and completely … to the point where I continue to “go through the motions” each day … continue to fulfill my responsibilities … continue to “show up” well for those around me … yet these dark feelings persist in the background or “underground” …

The resistance to do ANYTHING is fierce right now … I can’t help but wonder, “What’s the point?” or “Why bother?” 

I’m finding it harder than ever to practice what I preach … to walk the talk … to “Do it Anyway” or to “Change It” … to recognize my “Circle of Control” … instead, I just want to quit EVERYTHING … and do NOTHING … 

Goals? No way! Not right now! Dreams? I can’t think of anything! Innovation? I’ve got nothing! I can’t seem to “create” anything right now … or come up with anything “new” …

I know a lot of this has to do with being so isolated … so alone … so DIS-connected … 

I DO spend my days alone in my basement office on my computer (I KNOW, I CHOSE this … pre-pandemic) … sure, I get together with others virtually throughout the day, but we all know that’s NOT the same as being in the same room with someone! Outside of work, I spend my time with my three children (mostly) and my husband. 

Let’s face it … that’s some fairly limited stimulation … limited interaction … limited opportunity to learn and grow and discover something “different” or something “new” … a new way of looking at something … a new way of being … 

I feel like my brain is only working at half capacity most days … I think I’m getting “dumber” …

This whole experience is so bizarre! And, unfortunately, things are getting worse COVID-wise instead of better (at least that’s what I’ve been hearing … I’m not much of a news follower).

Are these JUST feelings? Feelings that come … feelings that will go? Sure, these represent a couple of rough days here and there … 

I KNOW there is much to be grateful for and things could DEFINITELY be worse … and I feel like a spoiled little brat sometimes with my “complaining” and feelings of listlessness … I have SO MUCH available to me … 

But these were (are) my feelings nonetheless.

Will I let them “take over”? NO! 

Will I curl up in bed and avoid my responsibilities? NO! 

Will I self-sabotage or make “bad” decisions? Absolutely not! 

Will I continue to show up as the best version of me for my family and in my work? YES!

As I shared bits and pieces of the struggle I was facing with others last week, I found it gave others a chance to share how they were feeling too … and I was so grateful to know that I was NOT alone … 

I was also grateful that I had the chance to empathize and show (and tell) them they were not alone either … to tell them that, “I get it!”

This whole living amid a pandemic thing is hard (sometimes) … and it’s been a pretty long shift of this already! 395 days or so according to my calculations.

Could it be harder? For sure!

Could it be WAY worse? Yes!

But it’s time to take a minute to just acknowledge what is … the blessings, the celebrations, the trials, and the challenges …

And let’s acknowledge the feelings we’ve encountered along the way while we’re at it … it’s OKAY to feel … feelings are what they are … they give our lives meaning, they show us how things could be worse (or better), and they give us the ability to extend compassion and understanding to others! What a gift!

Today, things don’t feel quite as “heavy” as they did last week (thankfully), but perhaps they do for you … or perhaps they will again (for both of us) … I can’t be sure … after all, feelings come and feelings go … like trends … like hairstyles … like the seasons … 

Today, let’s acknowledge what is …

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