The motivation for this entry has come from several different directions. There is much I've seen, heard, and felt in the past week. I debated whether this should be a motivational post or a blog entry, but it's possible it'll be both. I'm undecided for the moment, so figured I'd at least write it out, first.
Most of us envision healing as a non-linear path we take on foot; a muddied, beaten, track that is not without obstacles and hinderances along the way. 'One foot in front of the other,' we hear all the time. I know. I SAY it all the time. It's something we all have to keep in mind when we embark upon that journey that is healing.
Sometimes, though, (more than sometimes, if I'm being honest) we'll reach an impasse. It becomes evident that next step that one must take is gonna hurt. If not painful, it'll at the very least, be uncomfortable.
Now, we can choose to do one of a few things at this point.
We can pretend it's not there and plod on - it'll hurt and it'll sting and it'll SUCK. Eventually, you're going to wear yourself down, and potentially feel worse than you have to. This'll take an enormous toll on you in every which way - physically, emotionally, mentally.
We can sit idle and hope the obstacle goes away on its own. We have time, right? Anything could happen. It's like sitting in highway traffic on Rt. 80 during the holiday season. You simply wait until the road ahead is cleared of whatever's in the way, and only then will we proceed. We can only begin to imagine what the problem might be with this option, as there are no guarantees on a time frame that we may be able to resume the process.
We can kick that little obstacle a little bit further ahead, only to be faced with it again later. We can and we will and we have done that. Delaying the inevitable is still going to slow the process down, but sometimes it's what's needed in order to keep ourselves focused on what we CAN do while that underlying problem still remains intact.
Those things that hinder our progress aren't always obvious. We know they're there, but we only understand being 'stuck.' There's something there, something in the goddamn way, and until it's identified, understood and removed, we're gonna be in that uncomfortable limbo position. It will literally be that pebble in our shoe that makes moving on less appealing.
I know this is hardly the same, but a small, yet amusing example:
Some of you may not know this about me, but I don't give a shit if it's 100 degrees outside - I have a very, VERY specific sleep pattern. I have TWO comforters, and in order to sleep, I must bury myself underneath both comforters, from my earlobes to my toes. I NEED to do the leg-out, covers-off, covers-back-on deal an indeterminate amount of times every night. Rationally, I know I'm going to be hot and sticky - but it's how I'm most comfortable, wrapped up like a burrito when I'm trying to fall asleep. I don't see this changing any, either, so I'll dare not try and modify my blanket set-up any.
So, I've been wearing this amazingly comfortable, WAY-too-big pair of sweatpants to lounge around and then to sleep in. They're roomy, they're SO warm and I'm usually upset when I have to take them off because I can't wear them in public, at risk of tripping over the bottoms and face-planting at inconvenient moments. Anyway, these sweats + my two comforters + our heat usually running = sweat pouring off my body several times during the night, and being unable to fall and STAY asleep. I couldn't figure this out for the life of me - WHY I couldn't sleep...what's changed? Sure, I'm on a soon-ending hiatus from school, so I'm not yet in walking zombie mode...but I've been going to bed VERY late, too. I've been TRYING to get back into get-up-early mode, but failing miserably. I'm going to be paying the price on Tuesday morning, but it's likely going to have to happen. But what else has changed....remains the question.
It's the damn pants, isn't it? I was sleeping FINE before the pants were discovered in an old bin of winter clothes! Damn the pants. But I LOVE the pants!
I finally whipped the covers off, got up, and took them off this morning after only sleeping an hour and a half and replaced them with thinner-than-paper flannel bottoms - they're flannel, but they're still extremely thin in comparison to my favorite loungers...and I was able to sleep for the next four hours. I'll also test the pants theory later tonight when it's bedtime - if I'm wearing them, (and I probably will be) I will take them off and replace them with shorts or these skimpy flannels and see if it makes any difference in my ability to fall and stay asleep!
Like I said, I know this is not a very good comparison to some of those other issues that many of us struggle with on a regular basis, but it IS somewhat of a demonstration of how to first, identify the problem, and then to get rid of it so that you can improve another aspect of your life. In my case, it'd be improving on sleep, which, I imagine, will set off a chain reaction and ultimately improve my overall mood and energy levels!
These pebbles can be anything, too. They can be a toxic person, whether living or dead, whose voice you hear constantly, telling you that you're unworthy of happiness. They can be a thought or an idea. They can be a feeling. In my case, they can be those cackling, annoying skeletons that have been following me for over 20 years, clattering their bones as a persistent reminder that they still exist, and while life has gone on, they'll not entirely disappear. They aren't the bad kind of skeletons, either - I've done nothing terrible, so no worries. No, these are the guys who laugh whenever I say that I've got everything under control and that I've done all the healing I'm supposed to do. That's when the bag of bones is rattled, as to say, "we're here when you're ready!"
I'm just as guilty as the rest of you on this, guys - I've been sort of hopping between #2 and #3 on the list of options mentioned above - I've done an enormous amount of healing, but there's definitely a pebble in my shoe. Or one of those round, spiky things that fall from trees....what the hell are those called, anyway? (Ahhhh....Sweet Gum Balls - I just Googled.) There's clearly an impasse, and while some of these pebbles (one looking a whole lot like the wasband's bald 'Mr. Clean' head) are beyond my control, there are indeed things that are manageable in the meantime, if only I'd just sit down, pull off my shoe, remove the pain-in-the-ass pebble, investigate it, and eventually be able to chuck it after I've determined that it's not going to be something I allow to impede my progress, anymore. The shoe goes back on and the journey resumes.
It would seem that there's a whole lot that I haven't worked on, but we knew that, already. I've just got to decide on an option (#2? #3?) and stick with it. And it feels almost....I dunno....hypocritical to be a social worker who hasn't finished working on herself, first. I guess #3 seems to be the more appealing option, if I promise myself (and those fucking skeletons) that I'll pay attention to the other things, too. I know I owe it to myself and to whomever I come into contact with, to own those pebbles and to contribute to the growing collection of 'chucked' stones that no longer stand in the way of our personal growth.
So, I'm interested in hearing what some of your pebbles might represent....and how you're going about the process of getting rid of them. What's holding you back from taking that next step? Can it be kicked ahead? Is it worth pausing over? Can it be something you carry along with you at risk of overwhelming yourselves?
Something to think about, anyway. I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to hit up the comments. I'm also going to post excerpts from this blog in Healing Tips & Inspiration, so feel free to participate there, if you're more a board person than a blog person!
We got this, guys. Let's get rid of some damn rocks!
Sending all of you healing hugs and only the best of vibes. I'll be back next week, with resumed (although I'll try not to let it overtake) school-related blogs. I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of pebble accumulation in my new sneakers before I know it - because clearly, majoring in social work is something that is definitely going to open my eyes to a lot of shit. But, maybe it'll force me to confront some of those grinning skulls. Once and for all.
Until next time - sending love!