Sometimes our hearts ache from all the triggers in the world. We feel inundated by bad news and impossible challenges. Our bravery wavers, tiredness overwhelms us, and the bad-ass nature of our personalities — that part of us willing to fight — needs time to rest and recover. We need a respite, a brief rest from challenges.
I’m having that kind of time. I feel weary, worn, and wounded. There’s no safe space, no place to turn away from the anguish of how life and love get violated. (I get melodramatic when I need a respite.) It’s a huge relief to hunch my shoulders, wallow in grief, and embrace suffering. I don’t care to summon up one iota of positive thinking.
We respond to cries for help from others; this is our time to nurture ourselves. By the way, if you don’t feel crappy right now, save this blog for a time when you do. When you're ready to accept my invitation, give yourself permission to take this kind of a break:
Ignore the news. Shun social media. Turn off your devices. Take only emergency calls.
Find a sanctuary where you can neglect the needs of the outside world, and where you can be however you are.
Sit in a comfortable chair.
Allow self-pity to soar. Let tears flow if they’re available. Don’t be neat.
It’s tempting to figure out the exact situation that put us over the edge, but it’s not a requirement. Appreciate the full breadth and depth of your distress without trying to fix anything. Simply observe your inner world and respect it.
There’s positive energy to touching into pain — to grieving loss of freedoms, friendships, and false promises. When we respect our feelings instead of pushing them away, feeling bad starts to feel good.
Witness how you are and how you’re not. Notice the rise and fall of emotions and their intensity. You may be angry, irritable, judgmental, uncaring, passive, frustrated, sad, hostile, even resistant. Watch your emotions shift as you observe them. (Mine started with resentment, then frustration. That shifted to anger, then blame. Now I’m judging myself for blaming others. Finally I’m losing interest in all of it, and oh, there’s some calmness arising. The intensity of the emotions has diminished. It’s more like a mild bad mood. So I’m watching that.)
Tune in to you. Observe everything. Change happens as you do.
A respite interrupts pretending you’re okay when you’re not.
A respite stops you from pushing your mind and body when you’re out of gas.
A respite allows you to acknowledge the truth of how you’re feeling.
A respite keeps you from acting out inappropriately.
A respite puts you in touch with you. Who is more interesting to watch than you?
Sources: The Wave Work, Lissa Rankin