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April 8, 2020

The Gold in our Shadows

This week was rough. The initial stages of enthusiasm and possibility faded and sadness filled the air. Sadness for many things — the state of the world, the people who are suffering and the ending of a chapter. Things will go back to normal but it will be  different. 

Maybe that’s a good thing?!…

I’ve experienced similar feelings of sadness and grief before. It reminded me of the time I moved from Houston to LA back in 2017. I had just accepted a new job and was leaving Houston, my home for the past 13 years, for a new adventure. 

I didn’t know where it was going to lead me, I just knew I needed a change. My dreams and aspirations pulled me forward, but deep down, I was afraid of failing and not living up to my full potential.  The uncertainty pulled me in both directions.

The last person I said goodbye to was my BF at the time. As I drove off, I resisted every emotion screaming at me to turn back, steal another kiss and tell him I changed my mind about moving. I broke and allowed the grieving process to begin. 

M+R came along for the 1,500 mile drive from Houston to Los Angeles.  I sat in the back, staring out the window, reminiscing through 13 years of memories. I grieved for the person I was and was not, the friends and family I was leaving behind, my accomplishments and shortcomings.  I carried the grief for several weeks whilst going through the motions of getting settled and finding my way around. Eventually brighter days came, I found new friends and a new norm was established. On the other side of grief was a sense of renewal, lightness and freedom.

I find myself in a similar place right now, only with more intensity and different external circumstances. The sadness arrived suddenly, striking me as I read this article. I’ve allowed myself to process (doing the work!) whilst continuing to take steps forward. For me, indulging in sadness only makes it worse.  

The ‘work’ can look like many things — I’ve provided a few ideas that have served me on my journey.

-Take on honing in and focusing on the things that you can control. Practice letting go of everything else.

-Feel your feelings and give yourself the space to release emotions. Operating on top of them can limit your superpowers and create an energy leak. My favorite way to feel my feelings are journaling, painting or sharing my authentic experience with someone. 

-Pay attention to your needs. Communicate, honor  and do whatever it takes to meet them.  

-Practice radical self-acceptance and giving yourself permission to be exactly where  you are. It’s ok to feel weird, be scared or anxious. 

I believe that on the side of this shelter in place, there will continue to be possibility, innovation and opportunities. Our new norm will be filled with even more love, connection and unity. Thinking about the future in this way keeps me motivated and sane. 

Can you remember a time when you went through a challenge that had a lot of unknown and uncertainty? What got you through it? How can you use what you learned in those instances right now? What do you already know would support you but been avoiding?

You’ve been through many hardships, this is not the first nor will it be the last. You are resilient, creative and eternal.

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Juliana Sih  |  Contribution: 215