We all have them: crappy days that come when they are least expected. I woke up this morning ready to get back into my normal life routine. I have been off from work since last Wednesday. A hiccup up or two occurred in my normal plan, and I found myself in a puddle of tears. I just want to be a stay at home mom.
The overwhelming sense of longing to be home happens in waves. It’s not out of the ordinary since Chet was born. The cycle that follows is always the same too. I cry. I hug and kiss my kids enough times that they start to think something is wrong with me. I question my career choice. Would working be easier if I liked my job? The back and forth debate begins in my head. Is the flexibility that my unfulfilling job provides worth the sacrifice of not having a career I care about?
My logical self knows that if I did have a career I was passionate about, the back and forth debate that goes on in my head would still exist. Is having a career I love worth missing out on all the extras I get to enjoy from having a flexible job?
I cried on my way to my mom’s house like I always do. I cried on the way to work like I always do. I sat at my desk like I always do wishing to be home.
My third week into my course with Brené Brown on wholehearted living stumped me. We were being asked to identify stressors in our lives. What triggers our stress? When we begin to feel these stressors, how do we numb ourselves? Do I drink too much? Do I hide behind my computer?
I don’t numb. If anything, I feel things too deeply. I dive right into my feelings. I splash around in them. I make sure everyone around me gets wet from my feelings too. I do not numb.
I stared at my blank journal page. I watched and rewatched the class videos. I discussed it with a friend. Then it hit me.
I may not use things to numb myself, but I do detach myself from the things I love to avoid feeling good. I sit in my sorrow. I avoid all things that could possibly make me feel better. I quit engaging with the world.
While I sat at my desk feeling overwhelmingly sad this morning, I knew I had a choice. I could sit here and feel my sadness. I could sit in it. I could stare at our family budget to confirm that my income is needed. I could balance our check book to reconfirm that my income is needed. I could google for jobs that would inspire me. I could stare at pictures of both my boys and long to be home. This is what I do. I detach, and I am really good at feeling the sadness.
My Tuesday night yin yoga class began with a reading:
The Guest House
by Jelauddin Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
These words have followed me since I sat in that yoga class. I’ve welcomed my feelings. I felt each and every single one of them. I didn’t shy away from sadness. I embraced comfort. I opened my arms to happiness. I didn’t overthink the feelings. I allowed them to arrive.
When sadness showed up this morning, I reminded myself to welcome the feelings. I cried the tears I was holding onto inside of me.
But then I held on to them.
I have to learn that once I welcome these feelings, I also have to let them go. They are a guest in my house. They are meant to pass through. The feelings aren’t meant to linger.
Instead of sitting at my computer and reworking budgets and balancing checks and job searching, I forced myself out of my detached bubble. I reengaged with my real world. I told my friends I was in a funk. I welcomed chatter with coworkers. I forced myself to spend my break at work on week five of my Brené Brown course.
These are the words I found when I started the week 5 video:
“When you have a crap day, and you are thinking I have to be grateful for today, I don’t feel grateful today. Here is a huge distinction that I want to make: there is a difference between feeling grateful and practicing gratitude. It’s during our darkest times when we don’t feel gratitude that practicing it makes a difference.” ~Brené Brown
I woke up today feeling very sad. I felt overwhelmed. I felt cheated. I had a moment where I didn’t feel grateful for life because I just want to stay home with my boys. I’m welcoming the sadness. It is okay to feel sad, but I also choosing gratitude. I had five amazing days home with my kids. It was filled with walks, runs, brownie making, movie watching, Christmas decorating, outdoor play, and lots of other joys.
“Joy is additive. When we practice gratitude, we fill our joy reserve” ~ Brené Brown
The sadness will come, and it will always be welcomed, but I also have to let it go. Holding on to it casts shadows on all the joy that life holds.