When You Can’t Fix It
I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been coaching my beautiful clients, creating content, and being with my family. I’ve been writing, but mostly for myself. A couple of months ago I felt a need, like we all do from time to time, to back off from social media and inboxes. Back off from being seen and heard. For a closeted introvert (faking it in an extrovert’s world) this wasn’t too hard. I turned my attention to just listening. To hearing and tending to that voice that lives deep within. I learned there are things in my life that needed my attention. I learned that in some cases, some deeply painful cases, there are just some things that I can’t fix. Despite the fact that this feeling made me want to throw-up, it was a lesson I had to learn. That lesson didn’t take the pain away. It reinforced it.
Hearing With Your Heart
I am an empath. Now for those of you who might think that identifying myself this way is some hippy-dippy, magic, witchy type of thing, THANK YOU! It really isn’t. An empath is someone who can feel other people’s emotions, sense what they’re feeling or thinking, or can feel the energy of other places. We are the people who tell you when something doesn’t feel quite right, or when doing something that may sound “meh”, is actually going to be off the hook! We can read a room like nobody’s business; and tell when someone’s up to no-good from a mile away. Our kids never get away with anything and they’re often empaths too. I usually consider it my super-power. Until someone I love is hurting. Then it’s torture. Then It’s TORTURE….especially when I can’t fix it. There’s more of us than you think. You may be one and simply don’t know it. We are sometimes referred to as HSP (highly sensitive people) or having a 6th sense. We hear with our hearts.
Live It To Give It
I took an oath when I entered The Martha Beck Institute. One of the vital core principles of being an MBI life coach is “live it to give it.” This means that I use the tools I’ve learned on myself, in order to show up clean for my clients. I do this everyday. I have set very specific boundaries for my empathic spirit, in order to stay calm, peaceful, and free. However, when someone I love is in pain, and I must accept that they are the only one empowered to dissolve their own pain, well then all bets are off when it comes to “living it to give it” and boundaries. Fortunately I have an amazing life coach of my own. Ellen at Winged Heart Coaching gets me centered, grounded and back on track.
When I’m In Pain…
During these times of stress, anger, anxiety and deep deep pain acquired by loving hard, I have learned a few things. Behold, my list of Things I Do When I’m In Pain.
- Cry. Sob like there’s no tomorrow. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for many of us who’ve been through it, accessing tears can be difficult. I recommend listening Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work,” “To Sad To Cry” by Sasha Alex Sloan, “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright, and so many more. Email me (ElizabethSmith7@outlook.com) and I’ll send you a playlist. Just getting it out will make you feel better.
- Breathe. Just breathe. Try to inhale for a count of 6 and exhaling for 7. It sounds very easy, but when we are in crisis and pain our breath becomes shallow. Keeping your breath even really calms the nervous system. Breathing is a meditation that helps to cleanse your mind.
- Keep a routine. Speaking of calming the nervous system, keeping a routine is particularly helpful with this. When the body knows what to expect, soon the mind shall follow. If for right now your day is consisting of just making it through tomorrow, routine is very important and should include lots lots LOTS of self care. Check out my Ultimate Self Care list. Do what you can. Then do it again tomorrow!
- Move. Even if it’s just a little. Even if it’s just from your bed to the mat. Even if it’s just savasana (corpse pose) or balasana (child’s pose) once you get there.
- Watch your low-quality thoughts and limiting beliefs. If your thoughts are ruminating about things from the past, predicting things that could go awry in the future, or placing your own meaning/story on what other people are feeling or thinking, then you have limiting beliefs and thoughts that are not serving you. The fastest way to relief is working through these limiting beliefs with a life coach, or check out Byron Katie’s The Work.
- Have compassion for the other’s involved (Hard), and compassion for yourself (Harder), and don’t take it personally (Hardest). When you’re going through the worst of times, the darkest nights of your life, I can guarantee you that whomever else is involved did not say to themselves, “I’m gonna do this to really screw over the person who loves me most.” If you have been wronged, or are loving someone who perpetually wrongs themselves, understand that YOU are not even in the equation. The pain that’s caused is a side effect of their own pain, self-medication, or trauma. Love them anyway. Love them hard; forgive them fast; with a round of compassion and self-forgiveness for everyone.
- Scream your fucking head off. You can do this into a pillow, but I truly recommend just closing your bedroom door and letting loose. If you’re not into loud noises then shake. Stand up, with your arms to your sides, and shake your whole body from head to toes. Both of these actions create an intoxicating and healing vibration inside of your body. A powerful release that will instantly make you feel better.
- Ask for help!!! This universal issue does not discriminate between genders, economic status, sexual orientation, sinners or saints. We all like to offer help, and no one wants to ask for it. When you have reached that dark place within you, that place that you can no longer reach with words, that space inside that is nothing more than anxiety and twisted confusion , you will understand the exhale that comes from asking for help. It will take your relationship to a truer sweeter existence. A space of vulnerability, softness and light. Your days of silently saying that nothing is wrong will be over. You will be heard. Talk to your lover, your friend, your therapist, your Anonymous group, your mom, your brother or sister. Just be heard.
- Know that this too shall pass. I believe the saying that “All good things must end” was created so that we would be able to recognize the sharp difference between the vast array of amazing and beautiful things that happen in life, and those absolutely suckish things that occur in between. Perhaps your at a point where it seems like your jumping from ditch to ditch with nary a joyful moment in sight. I would offer that to some extent we create some of that misery through our thoughts (see #5), but if this is the case please hang on and remember that this too shall pass.
- LAUGH your head off. I recently took stock of the fact that I had not laughed, I mean really deeply belly-laughed in longer than I could remember. I was with my sister, Adrienne, recently and we were having this conversation. We were at a remote beach in southern California, just meeting for the day. We took a beach walk and came upon an old Rapunzel castle (yes, this is an actual thing). We were having this deep conversation about recognizing joy when it happens, and we happen upon this beach castle. We want to investigate closer, but the ocean is fierce this day. We wait for the chance for the water to subside away from the ocean wall, and run. The waves were too fast for us, and we get clobbered by the water. We both are drenched through our clothes, and laughing hysterically. I laughed my head off. The key is remembering those moments of joy, and holding onto them until the next one; and then the next one. Eventually you’ll be able to string them together like precious pearls. Pearls of Joy!
I hope that when you’re in pain you’ll try one or two, or ten of these tips. I hope you’ll offer them up when you know deep down in your soul that someone you love is suffering, and you can’t do anything to fix it. Print them out, leave them by your bed. Add your own. And if you can’t work it out yourself I’d be honored to walk you through it. If you know someone who is in pain right now please send this along to them.
(This list was created as a nod to a tool from Danielle LaPorte’s podcast, With Love,Danielle)