In My Wilderness.

Last Thursday I was driving home from work and I was just driving.  Do you ever catch yourself just driving?  Something seemingly unimportant to transport you wherever you need to go.  I was approaching a stoplight and thought to myself, it’s cool that I’m driving.  The thought probably hasn’t crossed my mind since I turned 16 years old.  I remember the freedom I felt turning 16, no longer required to have a passenger in my vehicle.  The capability to be alone, alive and free.  As I sat at the stoplight, I wondered at what point driving became routine and not a gift to feel excitement over.

The rest of the way home I pondered the other things in life I’ve let become routine.

The truth is, there’s a lot of them.  As an adult, I don’t often take the time to really appreciate all that life has offered me.  I decided this weekend I would take more time to invest in myself and what it is that makes me feel alive and free.

Friday turned into a snow day and the courthouse was closed.  A jump-start to my long weekend sans work.  I slept in until 1:30 in the afternoon (yaaaaasss), ate cereal as a late breakfast, fixed fresh coffee in the french press, and submerged myself in Brene’ Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.  I studied and journaled all weekend.

In my weekend of self-reflection I learned the following things:

  • Brene’ shares, “You will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself.”
    • We owe it to ourselves to be authentically us.
      • What does that look like? For me;
        • Honesty in my relationships with myself and then others.
        • Acknowledging my feelings and others, and honoring them.
        • Communicating my needs and listening to the needs of others.
    • We belong.  Everywhere.
      • When we’re alone, we’re still connected in spirit.
        • We are all apart of a universal energy field.
          • In Tom Shadyac’s documentary (which I also watched this weekend) it shared, “We do feel like a lonely people in a lonely universe, but we are far grander than we’ve been told.  Science shows us that we are all connected.  That we are never alone.”
            • With the understanding that we’re never alone and we’re all connected, it’s clear that we live in a world that should care more.
              • How do we care more? For me;
                • Investing in people. Investing in our relationships.  Being in community.
      • Brene’s shares “our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
        • What does self acceptance look like? For me;
          • Knowing I am enough.
          • Understanding there’s always an opportunity for growth.
          • Remaining open-minded that everyone has something to offer in my life; including myself.

It’s no surprise to me as the weekend closes that what makes me feel the most alive are other people.  Being in community with one another.  Ted often refers to me as a “spiritual person”.  And my bucket is most filled when I can connect with other people.  Brene’ shares that, “we all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe.”

This weekend has produced for me a need to connect; specifically with loss mothers.  Something I’ve done religiously since Sam left our arms.  My heart has been opened to the fact that if every story matters, then so does mine.  The beauty of it is that so does yours.  I want to be in community with you.  That’s what makes me feel free.

I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about Sam’s life and about the person I’ve become over the last two and half years.  Like everyone else I have my moments, I mean I really have my moments where I fail, but for the most part, I’ve learned that I like me.  I can’t picture my life without the people who are apart of it as a result of Sam’s death.  As time passes, it gets harder to really picture my life with Sam.  In some moments he remains forever a newborn.  I have a feeling if Norah arrives safely, I’ll begin a new journey of realizing exactly what we’ve missed.  But now, in this moment, I feel a loving appreciation for the way my life has turned out.

I see and experience life completely different than I would otherwise.  For Sam, I am grateful.

“Just being here is a cause for celebration.  It’s a cause for grief, too.  Grief is also a form of joy.  The rose celebrates by falling apart.  The cloud celebrates by weeping.”

– Coleman Barks

In my wilderness I’ve come to know and understand that my grief is also a form of joy.

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