Through the Storm

The weather here on Sunday was really dreary, and the clouds were bringing in little bouts of rain. This in turn makes me a little lethargic, and as I am lazing about on these gray days, I start to feel really reflective about the storms that I have weathered internally as well. Isn't it funny how your mood can really mirror what the weather is like outside?? I did have a gathering planned for Sunday with my wonderful friends, SO I couldn't be completely slothful...And, after hanging out with them I guess what I have really been reflecting on the past two days now is my awe and amazement at the endurance and POWER of the human mind during troubling times.

Have you ever felt so completely overwhelmed by things going on in your life, yet somehow you were still able to function? You got out of bed; you got dressed in the morning; you put make-up on; you went to work and functioned properly, and you even smiled and had fun with friends...all while your mind had this insanely tumultuous storm brewing inside. I say this because one of our friends has been going through some VERY heavy stuff in her own life currently. YET, Linda has been dealing with all of this heaviness with such amazing poise and grace. She is absolutely one of the most amazing people to observe! So this has made me really, really think about my own reactions to things in life- past and present.

We all allow ourselves, of course, to have those self-pitying days. Those days where you feel like nothing will ever go right again, and HEY, maybe you allow yourself to stay in bed that day and just wallow- THAT'S OK. BUT, the most astonishing part of life is when you realize that you don't need to stay in that bed wallowing forever because you CAN conquer anything with the power of your mind! If you tell yourself you can't, well then you already set yourself up for failure- BUT, if you take that first step and tell yourself you WILL, then you have already proven to yourself how resilient you are at your core.

The biggest test of resilience in my life has been the process of moving forward after my father's death. My dad passed away on a Friday. That will obviously be a day that I will unfortunately be able to go back to in my mind immediately at any given point. I can still remember what I was wearing; I can still remember the smells; I can still visually see and hear everything that happened in that hospital room that day. It's something that has been seared in my memory forever. I kept the mustard yellow sweater I was wearing that day because it was the last article of clothing that brushed against my dad's arm as I held his hand as he passed. My dad has been gone four and a half years now, but I still have days when I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion and sadness...and emptiness- especially when holidays, like Father's Day are coming up. I just want ten minutes to talk to him sometimes, just to check in and say hey. I want him to tell me one more ridiculously funny story when I'm feeling blue. My dad just had a way of lighting up a room and entertaining everybody who was present and making them feel better. He was so silly, yet intelligent, strong, yet beyond kind. He was so many beautiful things all mixed into one amazing human. And, plain and simple, I just miss him so incredibly much. AND, THAT'S OK, TOO. Missing him will never change, that will always be something I have to live with.

Me and dad
I love that I'm holding his hand in this picture.

I remember the weeks and months after he was first gone though, I walked around pretty much like a zombie. I didn't have the energy to do anything, and I literally questioned how I could possibly ever feel happiness again. Picture a cartoon character that has the little storm cloud over their head constantly- that's exactly how I felt. I cried all the time. My stomach felt so churned up and upset every day because that pit of emptiness just sat there. I was a mess. All of these emotions are, of course, completely NORMAL when you lose someone. BUT, here's where I first truly learned what resiliency looked like. Somehow I still got out of bed and functioned. First one day at work, and then a second day, and then a third day... until one day a few months later it dawned on me, HOLY SHIT I am actually still living my life here. See, the kind of confusing thing about dealing with the death of a loved one is that you almost feel like your life is ending too, because how could you possibly go on living without that person? BUT, I am here to tell you your life is DEFINITELY not over. One morning, I woke up in such a fog that I had to stand in front of the mirror poking and pinching myself to make sure I was still alive in there- kind of silly, I know, but somedays I just wasn't sure because I didn't feel alive inside. HOWEVER, I still kept shuffling my feet, moving forward inch by slow inch, AND eventually it wasn't just my physical body that was still living- it was my emotional/spiritual body that had awakened slowly too. I could genuinely laugh again with my friends; I could see the beauty and blessings around me again, and I could FEEL my dad with me, pushing me to LIVE because that's what he would want me to do. I partly pushed myself to move forward for him, BUT I also made it through for ME! I persevered. I DID IT. I didn't give up through the storm.

Our minds are such powerful tools that we can use to either hurt ourselves, OR help ourselves...AND, let me tell you, it's NOT easy to be resilient and help yourself. I will flat out tell you that I needed A LOT of counseling during this time, and I am not and never have been afraid to share that with people. I had a seriously incredible therapist named Ellen, who honestly helped me HELP myself. She taught me how to recognize the resiliency and POWER that I had within. AND, nobody should feel ashamed to reach out for help!! We can't do this life alone, so lean on your support system for help- I seriously think that's why God has put these people in our lives! OR, there are so many amazing professional people out there who are trained to help get us back on the right path. This life can really be HARD and throw us some curveballs, BUT if we can learn to harvest our own power, we can show ourselves just how amazing the human mind is! You could be dealing with a death, divorce, financial hardships, job changes, you name it...AND, if you get nothing else from this post, just know that you too have the power and are strong and can make it through the storm. We just have to train our brain to keep fighting for it!

Someone once said to me that we are all like antique vases. Many of us have visible cracks and have been broken at one time or another, BUT we can put those pieces back together to make something that still is perfectly IMPERFECT. So here's to traveling through the storm. Here's to the beautiful people who help us through the storm. Here's to helping others make it through their own storm. AND, here's to recognizing the beautiful power within ourselves, and recognizing that power in others as well. May we all be able to unite our powers together to make this world a beautiful place...because it really is a perfectly imperfect world. Linda, you are an amazing lady-thank you for being such a beautiful example of determination. AND, thank you dad for bringing me into this world to experience it all- I know you hear me up there- Happy Father's Day!

Through the storm

Life is beautiful.

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Just wanted to leave these right here for you all- reading inspirational quotes has been HUGELY therapeutic for me...these are some of my favorites.

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