I wrote this about a week ago but haven’t posted it yet because it felt really fragmented and not done. I just listened to a great interview of Vanessa Van Edwards and vulnerability was a topic that kept coming up. Vanessa talked about how scared she was about her upcoming book launch. I feel the same way about every post I do on here. Her 3 truths she shared were “Vulnerability is sexy. Own your weirdness. Your confidence is contagious.” Although I feel like these pieces of my story are worth sharing, I look for imperfections and convince myself not to post. (I have more drafts than I do published posts 🙈) Tonight, I realized that this blog will never take me anywhere if I can’t get over that. I hope this inspires you to do something you’re scared of too! In the spirit of this post, today I am for the strength to be vulnerable.
I am writing this on a plane to Baltimore to celebrate my Papasan’s life. He passed last week unexpectedly. The emotions come in waves. One moment I’m sad and crying and the next I’m laughing about a memory then things are normal for a while. The tears come out of no where. I am overwhelmed by the love and support from those around me.
Everyone keeps asking me if I’m “okay” and I can honestly say that I am. Normally, these intense emotional events spin me out of control and have a major effect on my anxiety, but all of the work I’ve done with mindfulness and spirituality has helped me give myself permission to just be. I keep second guessing it because I am so used to fighting a battle inside and projecting an “I’m great!” image. But I actually am “okay”. I am feeling a lot of sadness and grief, but that’s okay. There are moments when it’s hard to be at work or around friends, but that’s okay. Feelings of guilt pop into my mind, but that’s okay. I’m feeling everything as it comes with no expectations or timelines for myself.
I follow a lot of inspirational, motivational, self care, etc. accounts on social media and a quote that is always popping up is “Interrupt anxiety with gratitude.” I think we can apply this to any tough emotion that we experience. Let yourself feel what your feeling, fully. THEN interrupt it with gratitude. Look around you and be specific about what and who you are grateful for. You can make a mental list, journal, say it to yourself, whatever… just do it! This shit works – seriously – take it from me, a textbook emotion bottler.
I’m coming off of a pretty rough winter. For various reasons, I was dealing with a lot of stress and anger. I would easily become frustrated when my go-to, feel-better things weren’t working. I was sick with a cold off and on for a few months and felt very disconnected from myself, my body, and those around me. I took this as a sign that I needed to make some changes that were more major than just working out and eating right. I needed to nourish my soul and make my mind a more hospitable place.
A friend at work suggested I read Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s been recommended to me many times and I knew I needed a change so I finally did it. I think everyone should read it but if you’ve ever identified with my struggles with mental health, you need to read it (or listen to the audiobook like I did). I’m not exactly sure how to sum it up but Tolle basically takes the teachings of Buddha and applies them to modern challenges. The main take away is that all experiences happen in the now and worrying about past/future just takes away from experiencing the present.
Be present. The easiest way to start is next time you’re listening to someone, be fully there, and listen without the intent of replying. Express gratitude. Say “thank you” but in specific ways. Hug extra tight. Love hard and don’t be afraid to express it. Make the most out of today, because now is all we really have. That’s what’s going to change the world.