We’ve all had those days where, no matter what we do, or who we talk to we feel low and meh. I don’t believe for a second that we’re meant to feel happy and joyful ALL THE TIME yet I know I still try and hold on desperately every time. We’re here to feel it all. And, the most important part is to allow ourselves to feel it all. Well, easier said than done, right?
This post has wanted to come out of me for days. Literally, days. In fact, I’ll tell you how many days: 16 days. Over those 16 days, I’ve thought of about 11,334 things to do that are anything but writing this post. Even today, I decided I was going to write it and I kept finding other things that I ‘needed’ to do before I could actually sit down to write. I began to wonder why I was putting it off and then I knew.
I’m afraid that I’ll be judged for what I’m about to share.
I’ve written some pretty vulnerable shares on this blog. So, why am I so worried about this one? Well, because this one feels more honest and raw than some of the others. So, I’m going to write it anyway. Tony Robbins says ‘if you think you can’t do something, you absolutely must’.
I’d never traveled anywhere by myself. I’ve taken planes, buses, trains and cars to get to a destination on my own before but I would usually be meeting someone on the other end of it to spend time with. This time was different. This year I decided to face some fears. One of them is traveling somewhere solo. I know many people who travel alone all the time and it’s no big deal but I’ve always had some sort of epic battle around loneliness so the thought of this felt terrifying. And, that’s why I needed to do it.
I booked myself a trip to the wonderful and magical island of Kauai, Hawaii. I’ve wanted to go to Hawaii for YEARS. It’s been a DREAM of mine. I was so excited to go and yet also kind of afraid of what was on the other side. The unknown. I also wanted to do things a little differently than my usual, so I didn’t pre-book or pre-plan any sort of activities or adventuring. I decided I would follow my intuition when I got there and do whatever I felt like on the day, and be in the moment.
So I get there, and almost immediately upon landing at Lihue Airport, the panic attacks started to set in. I was finding it hard to keep calm and breathe. I tried to ignore my turbulent thoughts and kept reading my book until my suitcase arrived. Once I had my bag, I got into my shuttle for the hour drive to my apartment. That hour felt like half a day. My gnarly thoughts were getting harder to ignore and I still couldn’t breathe. I’m tired, sad and filled with anxiety. I decided a good night’s sleep will help and that perhaps I’ll feel better in the morning. The next day, I woke up with even more panic. That panic lasted the whole day and two days after that. I was riddled with intense panic attacks that would not stop. My thoughts would not let up.
I forced myself to eat something, to meditate, read my book, go for walks on the beach, sit and relax by the ocean, do some journaling and writing, and all the while I was moments from giving up on myself. On life. The ocean was right there. No one would notice. No one would care. Nothing has changed, nothing is ever going to change, everything is hard and I’m ALL ALONE. I’m always alone. I’m so tired of that reality.
It was this moment where I was sitting on the sand, my feet stretched out in front of me, clutching my chest in between heavy sobs wondering when this pain would stop. I know I needed to feel it, and so I had allowed myself to cry for hours on end. The tears were uncontrollable. I hate this. I hated that this wonderful trip that was ‘supposed’ to be fun and happy was so miserable. What a waste, I thought.
You’re probably wondering where my self-compassion was — well for a while, it completely eluded me. It did not exist, so nasty Voldy had a field day (or days).
So, I was sitting there, pissed off and sad and talking to the ocean as if it held all the answers and I suddenly asked out loud, “can you hear me? Am I alone? If you can hear me, show me a sign!”. As if by magic this crab jumped out of the sand right in front of my right foot and threw a ball of sand at me. I actually laughed out loud. It was a pretty profound moment for me. He stood there looking at me for about 5 minutes and then scurried back under the sand.
Meaning. This is what we decide to give situations in our lives. We control that. We can pretty much pick what we think everything means. And, it pretty much shapes how we feel and how we experience life. There’s a lot of power in what we give meaning to.
The meaning I gave myself around that moment with the crab was this:
I am not alone and everything is getting better every day. I am much stronger than I sometimes give myself credit and I needed to be kinder to myself. So what if the trip hadn’t quite been what I’d envisioned, so what if I felt weak for falling apart, so what if I wasn’t able to break a smile in two days, so what that I felt all this pain. It will pass. I am okay and I’m in a beautiful and magical place to top it all off.
The next few days were a little brighter and lighter. Kyle Cease likes to add ‘and I love that’ to the end of a challenging feeling, so if you feel lost, say, ‘I love that’. I’m lost and I love that. I’m terrified and I love that. Once you move out of resistance and into love, that emotion or crippling feeling can move and release through you. Try it. Whatever you’re feeling right now, at this moment, say it out loud and then add, and I love that. Say it again a few more times until you actually believe the weight of those words. It’s sort of freeing.
I had a crap few days in a magical place and I was all by myself and I loved it. I’m still here, I’m still standing and I’m open to more magic coming my way.