What's Really Behind that Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week?
As I arrived at the rustic lodge this past weekend, I was ready for quiet simplicity. The past two weeks have been absurdly difficult! My computer crashed, I could not load programs on my new computer, I spent far too much time with tech support in the Philippines (thanks, Kat!) and everything I did amounted to a modern act of congress (that’s far worse than an historical act of congress).
I also have a new car that is more like a space shuttle, so each driving excursion meant looking up information like how to lock and unlock the car with an outdoor sensor keypad. That crazy thing works intermittently at best and after a long, cold night at our son’s baseball game I was locked out for over fifteen minutes because I didn’t realize I had to warm my hands to activate the sensors.
Ordinary stuff that should have be easy was just HARD.
And then there was the usual running around, the unexpected phone calls, the butterfingers, and the general feeling that life was happening TO me and not FOR me.
Even going up to the retreat was a gong show of massive proportions. The recommended restaurant I was going to try for my final “civilian” meal (our retreat is completely vegan, organic and gluten free) closed for the season the day before I arrived. Getting there had required passage through a ridiculously tedious construction zone that I ended up traveling through several more times in an attempt to find nourishment.
I was desperate for respite!
My intention for the retreat was to return to a state of ease. I had a desperate need to reclaim the sense that everything in life was happening for my benefit. I was losing my faith in life being easy.
What was happening?!
I settled in for the weekend. Right off the bat, I gleaned nuggets of wisdom through the teacher’s words, conversations with new friends, and in the quiet of my own mind. After a weekend away, I did feel the relief of just being alone and free from the demands of daily living. Who doesn’t love that kind of weekend?
I returned home physically weary from so much yoga. It’s a satisfying tired, but as the evening progressed I felt that uneasiness creep back into my attitude. Foiled again. I was perplexed.
Sitting down to write the blog, I was jarred into a realization that changed my demeanor instantly. The last two weeks had only been hard because my body was trying to get my attention. It needed me to stop and feel through something. Clearly, I was not listening. Instead of being kind to myself, I responded by pushing harder and adding to the number of unfinished projects on my to-do list.
Unfortunately, I was ignoring the magnitude of what my body was processing.
When my son came to us from Korea as a toddler, I did a lot of research on toddler adoption. One of the most fascinating things I learned was the physical depth of emotional memory. It has been documented that anniversaries of big events in one’s life (tragic accidents, death of a loved one, etc.) can manifest itself in emotional and physical discord years after the experience. True to form, my son contracted full on influenza every single November on the exact dates of him leaving Korea and being brought to live with us. For a kid, it must have been traumatizing to be ripped from his culture and handed to us in an American airport. He endured horrible influenza every year until third grade.
As I nestled into a pile of blankets to write my blog, a psychological lightning bolt hit me. Two years ago, on a gray Monday much like this one, my sister called to let me know that my father had suddenly passed away. It was a surreal time because two days later I was in California packing up our belongings and moving back to Wyoming. It had been physically and emotionally grueling.
When I returned home from this experience, I would feel melancholy on Mondays. Then, it was just on gray Mondays which stretched into just the first Mondays of the month. Eventually, the melancholy lifted.
In the days leading up to this anniversary, I had not given it a second thought. We are planning a family get together as we did last year (yes, in Vegas, long story) and I was cognitively aware of dates and seasons. But our bodies store emotions and move through them at their own pace. Our bodies decide the depth of feeling and the speed of healing.
Life hasn’t been hard. It was happening for me. Things were not working because my body needed me to stop and listen. I needed to be easier on myself and operate from a place of ease and kindness, not forceful admonition for all that was being left undone at the end of a frustrating day. It was hard because my body is still processing the fatigue and emotion of a life altering event.
Life wasn’t hard. I was just low on coping skills and in need of self-care. Once I recognized the source of my ills, I was full of relief. All of a sudden I could release the to-dos, forgive myself for not having the patience to focus on computer problems or the motivation to follow through with imagined and self-imposed projects that could wait.
Understanding the source of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, I could give myself permission to rest and heal.
If things seem harder than usual for you or you want to punch ordinary, well-meaning people in the face, you might stop and consider the possibility that your body is telling you something. It may still be processing something you hadn’t truly considered a problem in a long time.
And we all know what goes well with self-care.
And this recipe for an indulgent dessert is actually super kind to your body.
This recipe is vegan and perfect for everyone! Feel free to leave out the espresso (coffee) as I do or leave out the chocolate and espresso taste and just enjoy a basic cheesecake. It's so delicious and you won't even feel bad about the calories!
FIND RECIPE HERE!
Have you experienced anything like this? What was your experience?
How do you deal with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days?