I know it’s hard to get out of bed sometimes; that you wake up feeling overwhelmed with grief and fear, with tears in your eyes.
I know it often feels like you’re floundering, living the wrong life, or like you’re grasping for something that’s just out of reach.
I know it can feel exhausting – this constant journey of self-improvement.
You’re a survivor, you see. You have a strong survival instinct. You needed it back then. You didn’t have the best start in life.
It’s all relative, of course, and I know you don’t feel like you had it so bad, compared to others. I know you feel guilty for describing yourself in these terms.
But we all react differently to our circumstances and the bottom line is that you didn’t get what you needed. In fact, you got far less than you needed. And that’s all that counts here – for the purposes of this discussion, for the purposes of your healing and of what we’re trying to understand.
But you have done so well, despite a very wobbly start and because of your strong survival instinct. Look how well you’ve done.
Look where you’ve been – Spain, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, the White House, 10 Downing Street, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Iraq, London and now Dorset.
And look what you’ve created – a home with a husband by the sea and a business, an incredible heart-centred business that is growing and is gradually becoming self-sustaining and not only that, but that is helping people, actually impacting other people’s lives in a positive way, transforming them sometimes. You created that, from scratch, and you wrote a book.
And look what you’ve just endured – you’ve lost your dear Mum, first to dementia and then to death, although perhaps you lost her long before that, which is why it’s such a complex grief.
There’s so much mixed up in there. Like a cement mixer – there’s smooth stuff and then there’s gritty stuff, lumps and bumps and stones and sharp edges, tiny shards of glass even, and it’s all jumbled up together, so that sometimes it flows smoothly and other times it grates and scrapes and scars. But ultimately it will all become smooth; it will all heal, as long as you give it the space to churn, and as long as you give it time.
That’s the key, you see – space and time.
Your grief needs space. Your feelings need time. Or rather they deserve both those gifts. Because only then will they heal. So it’s OK, some days, to go back to bed for a cry or to go to the beach hut and swim in the sea. It’s OK. You’re doing OK. You’re not sinking if you take care of yourself instead of sitting right down to work. You’re not being lazy or slacking off. You’re not abandoning yourself or your dreams.
In fact, you are actually making space for your dreams. You are allowing yourself to grieve and heal and then to renew. And remember, dear one, you created this life, intentionally and with courage – a life in which there is more space and time, because you’re a sensitive soul and you know that’s what you need, so take advantage of it now, while your need is great, perhaps greater than it will ever be.
Frankly, though, it’s amazing that you get out of bed at all on some of the dark days, especially with the insomnia you’ve had recently. But you do, you get up, and then you get yourself dressed and do your exercises (which your husband amusingly calls ‘physical jerks’) in the garden, or you take your inner child to play in the cold water and end up with a healthy glow. Well done, you.
And it’s amazing too that on occasions you manage to ring people and talk to people and arrange to meet up, sometimes. It’s amazing that you see people at all because you feel so vulnerable, so young, so scared, so apprehensive they’ll say something that triggers the tears, which would be OK, of course, but frightening all the same.
Yes, well done you. You’re so brave.
But the thing I’d really like you to understand, dear one, is that it’s not about survival anymore.
You have survived. You have more than survived. And although the child inside you often hurts, you are no longer a child. So it’s no longer life or death, you see. You don’t need to hold on so tightly anymore. You can let go a bit. You can trust. There was no safety net, back then. There should have been but there wasn’t.
But there is a safety net now. I am your safety net, and we have Bill too. You are not alone.
Let’s try it now. Imagine that you are leaning back, letting go, loosening your grip on the control. Can you feel it? Can you feel that you are held? Yes, it’s safe to lean back. You’re going to be OK. You’re not on your own anymore. I’ve got you. We’ve got you. Amazing.
So let go of the struggle. And allow. Allow yourself to be and to feel. And allow things to happen. Try a lighter touch, try going slowly, try trusting yourself, try balance, try space.
And on the days when you wake up in tears after a sleepless night and you don’t have the energy to get things done, forgive yourself, even though there’s nothing to forgive. Allow yourself to cruise rather than push. Allow yourself to rest if that’s required.
Because you know better than anyone that every time we push away the pain, we deny ourselves an opportunity to grow and to heal. So feel it, so that you can heal it.
Love, Katherine x