It is so true that until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you have no idea what it’s like. You can hypothesize and surmise, but you really have no idea. Even when that “someone” is you.
It’s easy to say what you “would” or “wouldn’t” do in a situation prior to living it. But the truth is, you haven’t a clue. Until we are faced with a situation, there isn’t a way to fully understand how it feels for all the senses and all the emotions that arise. We often surprise ourselves with our reactions to occurrences in our lives. For what we consider the better and the worse. We can’t be sure how we will process information until the information appears right in front of us.
Such an example crept up on me recently. Amidst all the chaos and rubble of what had become my current life situation – let’s call it an “opportunity for growth” and “trying on new glasses” to shed some positive light on it – some surprising feelings made their way front and center. Feelings – and thoughts – that I never really even considered. There was even a touch (okay, maybe more than a touch) of rebellion and resistance.
It’s truly a gift to be able to watch yourself – your emotional and mental processes – as they are born, but through the eyes of an observer. A non-judgmental one. Without getting attached to them. It’s awe-inspiring really. The thoughts and feelings are born, and quickly they look for something to latch onto… To feed and nourish them so they can grow. If they can’t find a way to foster their development, they inevitably die off.
THIS is the place that determines everything. Whether the storm will pass by quietly, or cause massive destruction. As our stories manifest new sub-chapters, it is our decision to either accept what is as it is and let it move on (or die) or to welcome them as new truths (thereby feeding these babes to grow into reckless monsters).
I chose to embrace my little baby demons with love. I understood them, where they came from and why. Without judgment or attachment, I gave them a wee little kiss – a thank you for allowing me to see – and set them free into the abyss. Far, far away from me, that is. (I will add here that they later returned at my most vulnerable state to test me, again).
What monsters were I birthing, you ask? Ah. Good question, indeed. Attachment and meaning. I was mourning a loss. Something I felt was “mine.” Something I gave meaning and substance to.
Recent events left me without “ownership” of the “home” I was living in. I was “supposed” to be an owner of this place. I spent time, money and tons of energy building it into what it is today. Time was spent planning the colors, picking out the floors, the appliances and so on. Love decorated it and made it warm and cozy for the children. At the end of the remodel and move, I was happy with what was created. What I had a hand in creating. A lovely little nest for the little ones.
You can imagine my upset when suddenly that was all taken from me. Well, I didn’t imagine I would feel that way. I had no idea that I would actually mourn the loss as though it were a good friend. But thinking about it, it was. It provided us shelter and warmth. A place to express creativity. Share memories. A place to be together. A safe haven. Something stable in an unstable world.
It gave me a sense of ownership and pride. Look what “I” did. Look what’s “mine.” Losing that entitlement left me feeling really empty and grasping for something to possess. Something to “have” for my children. Something to make me feel important. No longer being owner totally changed the dynamic. I didn’t want to make it pretty anymore. I didn’t want to spend more time and love on it because it wasn’t “mine.” This is where the rebellion kicked in. Then a little resistance followed (this is referred to as bargaining in the typical phases of mourning, loss and grief).
As I watched all of these thoughts and emotions swirl around frantically, desperately seeking a host, I kept myself removed so I can learn. About myself. About loss. About life. About processes.
While I am sure it’s totally normal that I had to grieve what once was, what I thought something was (the meaning and identity I gave it), and the hope for what it would be, I never expected to feel all of that.
Through a very painful experience, I was able to understand myself better. So, I allowed myself the necessary time to mourn what was no longer and to accept the new. I learned about parts of me I didn’t even know existed! And in doing so, I now have a better understanding of people as a whole.
We are creative. Very creative. You may be surprised by what comes up during trying times or new experiences. There’s a whole big world out there (inside of you) that you don’t even know exists. And if you aren’t even aware of all parts of you, how can you know what is inside another? Let’s be sure to try lots of shoes on before we discount them or label them.
As for me? My mind is wide open. I can say with confidence that I don’t have any clue how a shoe feels until it’s on nice and snug and I have spent some time in it. Walking, running, playing, relaxing. Good quality time.
I’m about ready for a new pair now. The last left me with blisters ;)