Things in Erin’s Head 

 

UPDATE: You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve mostly stopped crying, dear readers. I appreciate all of the points of contact I received, too. I got check-in messages that ranged from, “I’m here if you need to talk,” to “GIRL, I am worried about you,” to “ME TOO!” And some people were… quiet. Which is okay too. Because sometimes feelings make outsiders uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or they just don’t have the capacity to hold space and offer support. Sometimes they WANT to but just don’t know HOW.  This topic surfaced a few times for me this week. 

The most interesting by far was the lovely zoom chat I had with Christy Yates. If you don’t know Christy (you’ll want to), you may know her husband Brad Yates, who is very well known for EFT / Tapping and has many free YouTube trainings as well as paid trainings and challenge opportunities surrounding tapping. If you’re not familiar with tapping, stay tuned, because it’s something I’ll be talking more about very, very soon. (#CourseComponent)

I connected with Christy Yates, because she is also an author and Caregiver advocate. Her book “Building a Legacy of Love: Thriving in the Sandwich Generation” shines a light on the challenge nearly 50% of American face. Raising children while also caring for an aging loved one. (check out her website HERE). Do you remember being a teenager and just being able to talk on the phone for hours? Lounging on your bed, feet up the wall, looping the phone cord around your fingers (and toes). Where you felt like you could say anything? Feeling seen and heard like only the kindred soul of a peer can mirror? That’s what I felt like talking to Christy. Even though our Caregiving experiences were different, the FEELINGS underneath those experiences are really the same. We talked about the work we’re doing. We talked about past Caregiving experiences. We talked about what it’s like to be IN IT, when everyone else around you is NOT. 

We talked about how some people in your life just kind of fall away… because they don’t know what to do with you. When you’re sad. When you’re frustrated. When you’re just a Debbie Downer (because sometimes that’s just how it IS). When you’re so preoccupied with holding your own shit together, you don’t have time to nurture other relationships. (Also ouch. But also #truth.) What do we do when we’re in that place of feeling abandoned? And maybe a little mad that people just vanished?

Today I’m offering a little exercise around judgment and love. About catching yourself in the moment of judgment and beginning to shift it toward love. You might move through this exercise in the time it takes to read it. You might need to sit with it for 20 minutes, or 20 days. The timing is yours. 

To begin, please find a comfortable seat. Now shake it out. Wiggle your shoulders, flail your arms. Shimmy your legs. Roll your head. If you need to stand and jump around, then do it! Then just be. Are you in a place of struggle and are feeling abandoned, wondering where everyone went? (You’re allowed to narrow it down to a group, or a single person, or maybe your cat is being an asshole and you’re taking it personally – this is yours – take it where you need it.) Can you allow yourself to tune in to how that feels? It might take a minute and it might feel uncomfortable.

Can you identify the feeling behind the abandonment? The one hiding just under the ICK? Is it anger? Sadness? Loneliness? You might want to shove it away – that’s what we DO – we shove it down deep, where no one can see it. But I’m asking you to name it and sit with it a moment longer. Can you feel it in your body? Is it in your chest, surrounding your heart? Your throat? Your gut?  Pulsing in your brain? Deep in your little pinky toe? Has it been with you so long that you feel it straining through your entire body? Stay with me a few moments longer. Focus on on that spot, take a deep breath, and as you exhale, close your eyes. A sigh-like, open mouth exhale always serves me well here. (If it’s in your wheelhouse, this may be the moment you choose to tap it out… and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it… #It’sComing). Continue breathing until the feeling softens as much as you need it to right now (could be two breaths or twenty, or two hundred).

Next, in the space you just created (even if it’s just a little crack), can you begin to shift the judgment you may be feeling to love for the ones who don’t have the capacity to hold space for you at this time? Shifting into love can feel like a big leap if you’re in a place of resentment, so choose something that feels comfortable and easy. Maybe it’s a softness, or a tad less disdain – we’re taking baby steps here. You might need more breaths, (or more tapping) at this point. As you pause, I offer you to consider if the one you’re judging… is YOU… (oh snap – that one always gets me). Can you find a little love (or softness, or a tad less disdain) for yourself?  And let yourself breathe deeply. Take as many breaths as you need, for as long as you need.

Next, can you shift your attention to one thing that’s supporting you. A partner? A kindred spirit in a support group? Your cat? The roof over your head? Just a single thing. Open your arms wide (yes, please do it physically) with the love this thing has for YOU and you have for IT. Stretch those arms wide, so wide that you can feel it in your shoulder blades. With a big exhale, swing your arms around, and hug yourself. Tight. Squeeze out the last bits of air from your lungs, and as you inhale again, allow your arms to drop. Close your eyes. Breathe the love. Take your time. 

If you feel like you need to shake it out again, go for it. You might want to journal a bit (my course is going to teach you how to do that too – because it’s really NOT a “Dear Diary” situation). You might need to duck into the bathroom to shed a few tears.  You may feel lighter and find that you’re sitting a little taller, and hopefully, things feel a little brighter. A little more loving. 

Because it’s all about love…

P.S. If you missed my Valentine’s Day newsletter that talks about the benefits of hugging, check it out >> here <<. And if you’re a little behind, visit my website to check out all of the past newsletters: www.ErinCopelan.com/Blog