Living Truth with Charlie Mitchell
As I write this it is Blue Monday. Supposedly the most depressing day of the year. By this point we have probably not managed to stick to our ‘new year, new me’ resolutions, we might have the slap of the credit card bill hitting our doormat, the days are still more grey and dark than light and springy – here in the UK anyway!
I know I have found the last couple of weeks quite tough. More tough than usual, and usual is has been quite a challenge in all honesty. My partner Jason, the love of my life, soulmate and father to my now 1 year old son, died suddenly last March when Thomas was just 10 weeks old, and my world turned upside down. In fact, it felt like I had been transported to a completely new world, as it is was so unrecognisable from my life as I had known it up until that point.
It has been an excruciatingly difficult time in my life, as I learn to navigate my new world, with my new son, and other two children who Jason loved as his own. Managing my own grief, while learning how to support my children through theirs. Finding ways to honour myself, my relationship with Jason and learn how to support our new son, who has Down Syndrome, most effectively. As I write, I know there is an unreality to it, as so much has happened for our family in the last year, and yet I have been determined from very early on to use my experience to support others – if I can find my way across this unknown sea, perhaps I can help others to do the same. And that has motivated me, and helped me to focus as I explore my emotions and find my sea legs.
I knew Christmas and New Year would be challenging, and I gave myself some extra space to take things slowly, taking pressure off myself as often as possible. It has been a kind of hibernation. And it has helped tremendously. I have had extra soup in the fridge, more fruit than usual, stocked up on my vitamins and made sure I have taken extra care of myself. More films on the sofa with the kids, under big blankets as we drink hot chocolate and nourish our souls together. And that has definitely been what I have needed to do.
And then a friend of mine Lisa Cliffordˆ used a word in a Facebook post that made me pause. She said, ‘I got up early and I was UNSTOPPABLE!’ and it got me thinking…
What would unstoppable be like for me? What would that look like? What would it feel like? Would I want it?
I noticed the resistance that surfaced. I have felt unstoppable before and yet this year has brought me to a complete halt. I have been stopped like never before. Physically, emotionally ,and even spiritually, I have questioned all the things I previously felt as solid ground. I have felt regularly groundlessness, as Pema Chodronˆˆ calls it in her fabulous book, ‘When things fall apart’ .
I notice the risk in unstoppable. I notice the stretch. I notice how it may take me to a new place, how it is likely to. And I wonder if that is helpful right now. I think about my big blankets and the sofa. I think about the films and the soup. I feel the comfort even thinking about them. And yet…
So I start to play with unstoppable. My life would be different because I would be super-organised. I am reasonably organised at the moment, but unstoppable would take it to a new level. The kids would have their clothes ready to step into when they wake up. And so would I. I would have time in the morning for meditation, and yoga and writing. And the morning would be relaxed, as we enjoy breakfast together before gathering everything ready for school, which we would be early for.
I have to say that when I started to think it through unstoppable seemed quite different to my life right now, which often involves time trying to find the hairbrush, frantically wiping cereal off one’s face while trying to locate the guitar for the other…
And yet there was an appeal to it.
Now there is a reality for me, that if one of my children is up in the night, and with three this happens fairly regularly, that I oversleep. So unstoppable has to take into account my life as it is. I am not going to give myself a hard time for unstoppable not working out when I have had a rough night. I am not going to use this as another stick to beat myself with. And so the minimum is to be getting the kids to school on time, and meditation, yoga and writing slotting in during the day.
So what if I tried it? What if I gave it a go? What is the worst that could happen?
It was strangely satisfying to get so prepared the night before. Everyone’s lunches ready, their clothes, my clothes. I smiled as I thought back to the last time I had my own clothes out ready the night before, and it was probably when I was very young and getting ready for a school trip.
Amazingly, everyone slept through the night and I woke up before my alarm feeling refreshed! The meditation was wonderful, the writing felt like going home to my nourishing place and I started day one of Yoga with Adrienneˆˆˆ on Youtube, just 2 weeks after her programme started. I managed to shower and put makeup on before anyone else was up. Now I know that this is unlikely to happen every day, and if it happens once a week it will dramatically improve the quality of my life!
This morning I can honestly say I do feel unstoppable, and that’s the first time in a very long time!
And in an interesting turn of synchronicity, I saw an invite for a small group of people interested in meditation, energy balancing and healing. They are meeting today at 11am – in just 45 minutes. If I had seen the invite last week I would not have felt up to meeting new people. I would have pulled that blanket a little higher and reached for another soup.
Instead, today I feel ready to meet the world, to stand tall and proud, to share what seems appropriate of my journey and to step into this new phase of my life with renewed energy. And that really is an unexpected miracle! Enjoy your day!
ˆ Lisa Clifford ˆˆ Pema Chodron: When things fall apart, Element Books (2007) ˆˆˆ Yoga with Adrienne
Due to the birth of her third child and untimely death of her partner, she has taken time out to grieve, heal and learn new ways of living. She is currently writing a book about surviving crisis and living bravely. She has a private Facebook group where she shares she skills and experience to help others use challenges as a catalyst for positive growth. She does live videos and webinars as part of the process.