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Jan 08, 2023

Written by Valynne Underwood

Isn’t it interesting, when we start something new, we are full of energy, we feel strong, and invincible?  Then, after a while, we notice that our pace has begun to slow a little.  And then a little more, and a little more.  Your mind starts saying things like, “Boy this is kind of hard.” Or “Hmm I’m not really enjoying this.”  Then, “It’s ok to take one quick break.  I’ve been doing so well.  I deserve a little time off.”  And lastly, “Yeah, this sucks!”  The next thing you know, there’s another goal that has fizzled down slowly into non-existence. 

However, ‘fizzled down slowly’ doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.  Try ‘blow up in my face!’  Today is January 9th.  Only 9 days into the new year, and this past week really knocked me off my path of personal growth.  Let me explain. 

Over the holidays, the husband of one of my closest friends suddenly passed away.  It was heart breaking.  I’ve met her in front of her workplace in the morning to give her a hug of encouragement, hoping it would help her feel some confidence that has temporarily left her.  My oldest granddaughter experienced a semester of college that brought with it events no one should ever experience.  It introduced fear into the core of my immediate family.  My parents are in their 80’s and bear the signs of aging, illness, forgetfulness, poor hearing along with bad eye sight, and clumsiness.  I spent a day taking family members to doctor appointments.  One of my sisters called at the beginning of the week from a local hospital.  After saying a tearful goodbye and expressing gratitude and love, she and her husband had just left the bedside of her brother-in-law who had passed away.  A day later, another sister called.  Upon answering, I heard a shaky voice and knew bad news was forth coming.  Her husband has been experiencing remission from cancer lately, but a recent cough and new scans are now showing the cancer is back and has spread.

I’ve been asking myself all week, how am I feeling?  What can I do?  Why?  Words such as anxious, sad, scared, burnout, spread thin cannot portray what I’m feeling right now. 

I have stated in a previous blog that reading Heather Falter’s book, Becoming Whole, has helped me A LOT.  So one night this week, I returned to the book hoping I would be able to find some inspiration that would be of help to me.  And I found it!  In the book Heather says, “There is both public and personal tragedy in every person’s life, and while we won’t be able to stop all of these things, we do get to choose how we deal with… events once they’ve impacted us.  We are responsible for deciding what comes next.”   

This statement was all I needed.  I get to choose.  The words reminded me of a quote by Gabby Bernstein.  “Choose to learn through every feeling, every experience, every person, every encounter.  See it all as a learning device.  See it all as an opportunity to get closer to love today.”  Guess what?  For the first time in my life, at the most needed time, I experienced clarity!  It’s my responsibility.  It’s up to me to decide what I will do with all this sadness and mess surrounding me.  Remember the blog about resolutions? What are we surrounding ourselves with? What are we filling ourselves up with?  

So I’ve chosen to turn my anxiety to calmness, sadness to peaceful, scared to brave, burnout to refreshed energy, and acting with love.  Be assured, I’m being realistic here.  I know some very heart-breaking times are approaching.  I will need to practice courage while remaining vigilant for those who need me.  I know I will be sad and I will cry, a lot.  But, I also know that I feel best when I act with love towards myself and others. 

Go hug someone, and remember to carry on with love.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash  

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