All things are true in my life right now.
It’s true I’m drinking delicious green, healthy, kitchen-sink smoothies. It’s also true I’m stuffing my face with Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, hoarding more boxes in the freezer, Trefoils, and Samoas on deck. It’s true I’m loving being in my sweatpants with no make-up all day, and then deciding, for some sense of normalcy, I really do need to make an effort at getting dressed and doing my hair.
I’m fostering good habits—yoga online and long walks. And reinforcing old habits—couch surfing and binge-watching Netflix shows, “The English Game,” my latest favorite. Mornings are for centering prayer, chakra cleansing, journaling, and meditation. Evenings are for devouring the news in all forms. I have both a heightened awareness of the rhythms of the earth, the osprey’s return, morning bird songs, Cedar Waxwings eating the Weeping Juniper berries outside my window, daffodils blooming, and my apocalyptic, doomsday thoughts.
What mattered two weeks ago no longer matters.
I’m in the in-between. I know. It sounds like an episode of “Stranger Things” and the “Upside Down.” It’s a phrase I often use with my psychotherapy and coaching clients. You’re in the in-between, I say, between something ending, the sadness and grief of that, and something new beginning, yet unknown. The hallway between one door closing and the other door opening. I can see the door at the end of the hallway; what’s behind it is still a mystery. The grey area between what is known and what is unknown. I dance in the hallway between creating new habits while hanging onto the old, more comfortable ones, the ones that soothe like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on a cold day.
I mostly live life this way, in the in-between. It’s not all one way or the other. I don’t generally feel just one feeling at a time. Usually, it’s more like a mixed bag of sometimes confusing, competing emotions.
What I crave is life in black and white, either/or. It feels like it would be more manageable that way. I would feel more in control. In my heart, though, I know having a sense of control in my life doesn’t really work that way. Truth is, I am more in control when I accept the reality of my situations and allow them to be, without judgment, and with compassion. When I hold tight to the way I think things should be, to my set-in-stone plans and ideas for the future, that is when I spin out of control, anxiety creeping in like fog from the ocean, making my heart race, and clouding my clear vision.
It doesn’t mean I stop planning or moving forward. It means I become adaptable, moving more like a stream around rocks and boulders. I make friends in the hallway, the place where I am navigating from one place to the next, the part of the journey that will inevitably create deeper understanding of myself and others, hone my inner wisdom skills, and make meaning of my life.
Here’s my plan, my life raft to navigate the stream: I’m giving myself Grace. I’m recognizing that at times I feel a little uneasy, fear for my family and being so far away from them. I allow myself to feel sad and disappointed. Instead of pushing the feelings away, I breathe into them and say, it’s okay to feel this way. I breathe in calm and breathe out safe. In this moment, all is well, I remind myself. I journal about it. I do body scans, checking in to notice where my body is feeling tension, talking to those areas, releasing, and soothing them.
I applaud my efforts at creating new, healthy habits in my life, at my new heightened awareness, at reaching out more, loving and laughing more in the moment. Truly the things that matter.
And, I give myself Grace for the Girl Scout Samoa I’m about to put in my mouth, feeling compassion for that part of me that needs to be comforted during this difficult time until the fog clears.
Grace. My new best friend.