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in the space between

I recently learned (okay - more like accepted the fact) that one my incredible habits is not knowing how to pick up where I left off.

Or really, how to start again.

I'll get to most of the things, eventually.

I've actually convinced myself in the last couple of months that this is a good habit to have: to not know where to start when things either end unexpectedly or where I'm forced to press pause.

As if I'm doing myself a favor by avoiding the numbness that comes with disappointment, and the anxiety that shares space in the carry on bag stepping into the lobby, in hopes that I'm headed toward "finished" or "healed".

Hardly have I ever felt this stuck while in the act of stepping in.

I feared writing with a pen again - creating, encouraging, sharing.

Whether or not I'd find joy in putting a finger to the keyboard again.

I walked in literal circles debating this and that, right down to how some relationships might either flourish or burn (which, by the way, sometimes it's one or the other and when it comes to toxic people, the "burn" can be the best thing).

How did this happen?

Well, once I heard the bravest person I knew was suddenly no longer here - I instantly began to feel numb to most things that once before brought a smile to my face.

Cooking the meals we shared in cook books from scratch, walking on the same trails he did during visits, reading books written by his favorite authors, or even writing in this space.

What once brought laughter had turned to audible pain - and I questioned if this would just be how it is moving forward. No end date. No warning of when the storm would let up, even if for just a minute.

That's grief, for you.

There's no "one way" of going through it, or an expected day of delivery.

There's really no proper way to explain the heaviness that comes with grief - So I'm going to leave a space for that.

I want to make it clear that my intention with this post is not to naively define the general expression of grief or provide a five step plan for healing.

I don't believe another person's "lesson's learned" is always the best thing to gravitate towards at every moment, as it comes off to be used as a measuring stick or defining factor for our own journey.

On the other hand, it could be a guide to refer to when and if ever needed in the dark - but not required when we have our own light.

Honestly, I hope to break the often mindless belief that we need a quick step guide or immediate result in order to walk through life well.

We can't expect to "Amazon Prime" it all, and that's what makes this awkward, challenging life as good as it is.

There needs to be a space left empty to feel what we wish we can pass through, believing we can cut straight to the end in doing so.

To leave space for the waves that rumble, crash and become still without a forecast warning.

To practice the art of being still - physically still - and rehearsing that what we feel is not a finite definition of who you are now or who you will be next week.

Intentionally making room for the "blank spaces" (and not the kind that T-Swift sang of in 2014) is necessary to heal - they can be filled with unplanned healing, a miracle you would've missed if you had kept those margins filled in.

I know there is good that comes from keeping our hands and minds busy and racing.

I know first hand the healing power of staying active and on the go, doing things for others and not just for ourselves.

The trouble with that is when we keep going, we unknowingly (or maybe knowing full well) hit overdrive and forget where our foot needs to hit the breaks. We forget the sweet sense of stillness - the intensely scary calm.

I use the word scary here because for those of us who find joy in the tasks we're doing and the actions (aka the "don't wanna sit still-ers") - it is just that.

The moment I sit on the couch or the floor with the zero intention to be what I deem productive, my mind jumps into autopilot to ponder on the one thing that can't change.

The questions that start with "why" or "what if" begin to pour over like acid rain.

If you've ever experienced that, it hurts - and as a human being, pain is not something we intentionally gravitate toward for kicks.

The thing is - when those questions or feelings fall on us - the minutes, hours, days, or even weeks of sorrow, mourning, grief, regret - what we often see and act on as the solution typically isn't.

We force it off our minds, watching yet another episode of Gilmore Girls or The Great British Baking Show (honestly, not a terrible way to distract ourselves).

Or, we bury our head in our couch for long stretches of time, isolating ourselves from the one's we know deep down would steer us in a better direction.

Both extremes cause way more harm.

Big sentence coming at you here.

Once we push off the narrative that the hard emotions, depression or anxiety are inherently "bad" and define us as such, it becomes clearer that we can benefit from allowing those same emotions and thoughts to come over us like waves.

To acknowledge and say this is how I'm feeling - and this is okay - I will be okay, even if I'm not right now.

In the space between the going and the doing and the planning.

In the moments between work, introvert time, visiting family, feeding your baby.

In the minutes between sorrow and peace.

If the questions rise, when the days seem as dark as the night - turn past the pages that are scribbled over with noise to the quiet and scary promise of the empty, fresh pages.

There is rest, mourning and goodness waiting for you in the space between.

Holding you close,


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