Getting through the holidays with grace

First post of 2018! And how excited I am to have this fresh, new year. To wake up and be here. The chance to hit the proverbial reset button and not look back, but…

It was a tough year, this past year 2017. I took some hard knocks that left me feeling, well, gutted.

People close to me saw my pain and my desire to isolate, give up, lean into fear. To others, I looked a-ok. Those people who didn’t know me well would not have had the opportunity, lest they see a person scared and struggling.

After all, not long ago I moved back from a foreign country (a sudden move), went through a crushing discovery, divorced, and adapted to my child’s split living arrangements after being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years.

In parallel to all that, I positioned myself to pursue my lifelong passion to serve others by helping them attain their health goals. I completed my certification and started a health and wellness coaching business (LLC)- all with minimum savings, a house on the market and a very uncertain future (after all fear was my driver and when is the future ever certain).

I know I’m not unique to crushing, blinding pain. Part of getting through that tough time and learning from those challenges (opportunities) was understanding exactly that- I am not unique. I had to put in the hard work of group and individual therapy, read countless hours of psychological advice and theory, and be of service to other people. Otherwise I could stay isolated and miss the last exit off the highway out of victimhood.

I had self-imposed limitations aplenty.

My mindset was “if it, or I, wasn’t perfect, then there was no going forward, no expanding.” Steve Pavlina sums it up well:

“trying to be perfect is nothing but a house of cards that will collapse.”

Ultimately there came a time to rework my coping mechanisms as they were sending me nowhere, fast.

I was drowning in a sea of online information, people’s opinions and a family member who could trigger that dark downward spiral to being a helpless child. How did I do it? How did I really, honestly, genuinely enjoy something that I conditioned myself to dread, dread from a place of lack? How could I love the holidays and not use past coping tactics to help me slide by with a false sense of happiness?

I paid attention to who I am
It felt like rediscovering how to walk. What do I like, what do I want in life that comes from a place driven by real desire not from a lack mentality? Rather than what don’t I like or want, what won’t I tolerate? To what do I want, who do I want to be, who do I want to be surrounded with? It was real goal-setting for the first time in my life.

I was open with people about my struggles
Not in a broadcastingly way (ok, a little with family), but being open and honest when people asked me how I was feeling. I connected to people in an authentic way. There were some unexpected tears- in the gym, at the pool- but they were genuine and they went away. By talking about it, I grew tired of portraying myself as a victim; this was essential to transforming to a place of empowerment.

I got closer to letting go
It doesn’t happen overnight, especially when there has been a severe hurt. But looking back to where I was, I saw progress. That is enough for now. It’s hard work that takes time, like transforming your body physically.

I looked at each (holiday) day as just a day
Rather than see the holidays as a unique set of circumstances that need to be a certain way, experienced with a certain feeling, with/without certain people, I took each day as that, a day, because that’s all it really is. Doing the next right thing as things arise, noticing the beauty of the season, continuing the routine that keeps me healthy and happy by way of workouts and nourishing food.

I did small things that used to give me joy
Little things that came up- unplanned, when I the moment presented itself. The Christmas card to my postman, to the lady at the dry cleaner who I’ve known for nearly 7 years, my friend who works at the grocery store- people who are kind and help me with the small things in my life.

Nicely stated by Steve Pavlina:

no matter where you find yourself today, you always have the opportunity to grow in some small way, and no matter how small those changes are, they’re going to add up over time to create massive lifelong growth. That’s a lesson we all need to remember.

All in, it was a quiet holiday season, peaceful. I made sure that was out sharing in people’s holiday joy- at the grocery store, my tribe at the gym, coffee with friends. With this reset, I have big plans for 2018.

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In love and health,
Catherine

 

 

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