Things have been feeling *hard* for a few months now, maybe longer. Who am I kidding? It’s definitely been longer than a few months.
It hasn’t even been the pandemic, although that’s been an added layer.
Initially, I blamed it on my daughter.
She’s had a hard few years with her own mental health, and as her mother and primary caregiver, it’s been wearing on me. Little by little, I’ve felt myself become worn out. But…
…It got to the point where I could no longer blame her.
Things felt hard everywhere:
My relationships felt hard.
Mothering felt hard.
My marriage felt hard.
Managing my own emotions felt hard.
Making decisions felt hard.
Even my relationship with myself felt hard!
The struggle bus was all around me, and yet, I didn’t feel worthy of complaining.
Who am I to complain?
There are so many around the globe who are far worse off. People who have loved ones dying of COVID. People who experience racism every day. People who struggle with putting food on the table.
I have an ocean view house. I have a husband who loves me. I have groceries in my fridge. I have a housekeeper who comes twice a month. I live in a country where vaccines are available. I drive a Volvo, for god sake. And I want to complain that life has been hard for me?
I *should* be happy.
I *should* be grateful.
It was my husband who asked me if I wanted to have a check-in with my therapist. “You’re not you, Beck,” he said. “You’re….really irritable.”
And he was right. I didn’t feel like me.
I was crying almost every day. I felt this general feeling of sadness lingering in my body, like a cold I couldn’t shake. Or a weighted blanket that I couldn’t get off of me, no matter how hard I try.
I tried all of the normal things—fresh air, good food, long walks, extra sleep. But I was sleeping 10 hours a night and waking up with agonizing exhaustion. I was getting loads of sleep but didn’t feel rested.
So I called my therapist and made an appointment. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. I’d been to so many therapy appointments with my daughter and her therapist, that I felt completely burnt out from talk therapy.
While caring for her, I forgot to care for me.
Within the first few minutes of seeing my therapist (let’s call her Megan), I was in tears.
And then she said something like, “Can we make space for PTSD to be present right now?”
While I never received an *official* PTSD diagnosis after the car accident I was involved in in 2016, I certainly carry some of the markers. I spent months in therapy after that event and it was one of the reasons I finally made the leap into being a full-time entrepreneur.
I just couldn’t go back to working for someone else and for doing work I was no longer in love with. Not to mention the panic attacks I was getting every time I got in a helicopter to go offshore.
Back then (post car accident), Megan told me that I probably suffered from post-traumatic stress as a 12-year-old after my father died, that it lingered and went untreated, until the car accident, which made that roaring tiger come back alive again.
(Sending 12-year-olds to therapy wasn’t as common back in the early 90’s like it is now, so I’m not blaming anyone that it went untreated. My personal opinion is that many people suffer from PTSD, or PTSD-like symptoms and don’t even know it!).
Kinda like a volcano lying dormant. You don’t know when it’s gonna erupt—but when it does—look out! Hot lava is gonna flow and destruction is surely in its path.
Working again with Megan these last few months has given me space to be okay with whatever emotions are present for me.
With feeling sad.
With feeling tired.
With feeling worn out.
With being irritable!
This general feeling of unease and defeat. Which is NOT a feeling that I love having, to be honest!
I’m supposed to be high-vibe.
I’m supposed to be happy.
I’m supposed to feel good.
Or am I? Are we supposed to be happy and put together all the time?
But the patriarchy has done a great job of conditioning us to believe that we should be fine. We should be put together. That being messy is not okay.
And somewhere along the way I learned to believe that if we feel sad, we should feel better ASAP and move on. That if someone is hurting, we should do as much as possible to get them back to the happy state.
And of course, you want to get yourself help to feel better, but it’s been so important for me to acknowledge and accept—with love—where I’m at.
To not skip right over the hurt. To not skip right over the pain. Burying your tougher emotions deeper and deeper inside the body is like trying to cap an erupting volcano.
It’s gonna find a way to come out. Giving myself permission to feel my feelings has been the first step in all of my healing journeys (and there have been many!).
And it’s also helped me realize that there are hard things happening all around the world. But that doesn’t need to take away or diminish my personal lived experience. I think by finding compassion for our own experiences, we find more compassion and empathy for other people’s experiences.
I wrote this poem about feeling sad:
I haven’t known up from down or left to right these last few months
This aching inside
Like a deep guttural sadness I can’t seem to shake
The depths of which I don’t dare descend
What if it’s too deep?
What if I fall and can’t get back up?
What if I go in and discover, gasp, that I’m *too* sad
As if there’s a limit to how deep I may feel
As if diving headfirst into me, my soul, my DNA is not safe
The water is too deep
The ice is too thin
I’m not sure I can swim that long, that far
My tears are cold
Frigid on this ageing face
Icicles crystallize on my skin
Like a torrential downpour, puddles gathering in the yard
Rain pounding on a metal roof
A lake filled to the edges of her shore
A dam threatening to burst, like a pregnant woman and her 9-month waddle, her skin stretched thin over life bursting within
Could she be any more pregnant?
Could I be any more sad?
Somewhere along the lines I’ve inherited the belief that my sadness is not safe
That I should not feel *this* sad
But what if my sadness was safe?
What if I was allowed to be *this* sad?
What if I could unleash my full self, no hiding, no parts shimmy-ing to the back of the room.
What if you could see ALL of me?
“What holds you back,” she asks?
I’ll tell you what holds me back—
I’m afraid you won’t like me if you knew all of me
My *too* much-ness
(“We’re not ready for you and your big emotions,” they said to that little girl.)
I don’t want you to be afraid of the waterfall that lives inside of me.
The tears I might unleash if you really looked
But more than my desire to be liked, to be loved, to be seen?
I don’t want *me* to be afraid to go within
I want to have the capacity to hold and caress all of me
As if I might be worthy of taking up that space
At the same time that I’ve been seeing Megan again, I’ve also been working with a master healer.
Talk therapy has in place and I’m obviously a huge fan, but when it comes to the relationship with my daughter, I wanted to explore additional layers. Things they probably don’t teach in medical school.
Past lives. Soul contracts. Twin flame energy. Karmic stuff.
And while I honour what I’ve said above about giving yourself permission to feel your feelings, sometimes we get trapped in a pattern inside a relationship.
And I felt trapped. Like no matter what I did, or how much therapy I tried, I couldn’t escape that pattern.
The healer I’m working with encouraged me to do some inner inquiry to uncover where I was *addicted* to the pattern of suffering.
The questions I asked myself were:
- In what way am I addicted to the struggle?
- In what way, does my shadow feed off struggling?
- What does my shadow LOVE about suffering?
At first, I thought — this is bullshit! I don’t love suffering. I didn’t choose this.
But as I dug deeper, I could see that staying hooked and attached to the struggle was allowing me to avoid some of my own deeper feelings (sadness), and it also kept me feeling like I was in control.
As if control gave me power. I crave feeling in control and like I hold power. The patriarchy has also taught that to me well.
We’re conditioned to believe that having control and power in society is essential to our place in society, for our survival, but in this case, feeling this was NOT serving me or my relationship with my daughter.
As I began to collapse some of these beliefs, I had a powerful realization that since conception, my daughter’s life has been marked by struggle.
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, they found cancer on my cervix. They told me that I’d lose the baby during surgery. It felt like a fight to keep her inside my body, and then when she was born two months early, it felt like a fight to keep her alive.
I’ve been fighting to keep that child alive before she was even born.
I remember the first time I saw her in the neonatal intensive until, inside her incubator, she was screaming. Red with tears. Covered in tubes and contraptions, and I couldn’t even pick her up.
I couldn’t hold and comfort my own baby. Even writing these words trigger the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness and lack of control inside my body.
Over the years, her suffering became my suffering and I truly believe it began lifetimes ago. My relationship with her feels old. Ancient. I was three years old when I remember knowing that I would give birth to a baby girl named Mica. When she was conceived, I knew it was her. When they told me I’d miscarry, I also knew I wouldn’t.
I just knew this was the child I was meant to bring to earth.
When she was born I recognized every ounce of her. As if we’d been together in another lifetime. As if we choose this path together. (Unlike my son, who felt like a completely unknown, new soul, to me).
Perhaps our relationship and connection was born from struggle, but just because it WAS, doesn’t mean it has to be. At this point, she’s thirteen and she has her own soul’s path. She has her own healing work to do. I can’t do it for her, just like she can’t do mine for me.
The past does not have to dictate the future.
It was time to cut the cord. It was time to rip up that part of my soul’s contract.
In recent months, I‘ve cut energetic cords with an imaginary chainsaw. I’ve burned my soul’s contract (several times over)—the one that committed me to a pattern of suffering with her. I’ve re-written my soul’s contract and laid in bed with my daughter visualizing standing around a fire with all versions of ourselves, and burning up what no longer serves us and calling back the parts of ourselves that we wish to claim.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling the call to go deeper into unravelling your own soul’s path:
- What does your soul need?
- What parts of yourself are you ready to call back home?
- In what areas of your life do you wish to rewrite patriarchal conditioning and inherited beliefs?
- What feelings do you wish to expand?
- What truths are you here to tell?
- What parts of your soul are you ready to heal?
Take some time to journal out your answers and see what comes up for you. I feel deeply that doing the inner work is the path to outer freedom. You may resonate more with traditional therapy, you may prefer diving into the woo. I like both. It’s what my soul needs for my healing path.
I had a powerful realization shortly after drafting this blog, that the last quarter inside my business was one of my best quarters financially EVER. While navigating all of this, my business has been thriving. This proves to me that caring for yourself and getting mental health support (or whatever kind of support you need) IS A MUST.
I hear from many women who think that they need to sacrifice themselves or their families in order to have a thriving business. I call bullshit on that.
When you put yourself and your family first, you can learn how to create a business that supports YOU, instead of the other way around. (But that’s another post for another time!).
Speaking of business…
…My first retreat in over 18 months is coming up October 21st-24th!!! EEEKKK!!! At the Wild Soul Retreat, we’ll be diving into freeing our souls, sharing our truths and unpacking patriarchal conditioning that no longer serves us.
Because in the words of my retreat co-facilitator Elise Besler (aka The Vocal Warrior), everytime women gather, we heal a little more.
You can read more about the retreat right here.