This post is in response to a request from some of my Facebook followers to write about this topic.
Dear Beautiful You,
Things haven't gone quite as planned.
You had a vision of what your life would look like by now ... a checklist of accomplishments to mark the successes, indicating that you're moving right along, just like everyone else. Some of the items on the list have been ticked off. Others, have not.
And then there are your dreams. The beautiful dreams you've held within so tightly, nurturing, only to learn that it's not possible for you to have what you wanted. At least, not in the way you wanted it. Not right now.
It doesn't feel fair.
You did everything you could to prepare for your dream. You studied how to get what you wanted. You listened to the experts, took care of yourself and created a vessel - a space - to delicately cradle this precious desire which has bled away.
The worst part is, you can't control it or fix it or get back what you've lost.
There's grief as you mourn what could've been. And sometimes, there's anger. An anger that slices through you - righteous and steely - pointed at the inequity of it all.
In your pain, you start to see there's a fine line between allowing it to swallow you and leaning into the hurt without being overcome.
When you're devoured by loss, you lay down your power and say, "I can do nothing. I'm nothing in comparison to this hurt." You shut down. Most of us do this at some point. It's almost a survival instinct ... a protective mode: Curl up, retreat, and wait it out.
But when you lean into your pain, disappointment, and grief from a place of awareness, of being alive, you're not shutting down; instead, you're acknowledging your grave loss with the strength to tell the truth: "This hurts."
The subtle difference between leaning in and being overcome with pain is knowing that pain is not permanent. Nothing is.
It's similar to when you work out and feel the strain of a muscle stretching in a way it's not used to. You notice it. Actively engage with your body and its experience; and while you allow your body to feel what it does without giving up or shutting down, it becomes more agile, stronger.
When you trust yourself enough to be vulnerable and tell the truth about how you feel, you move through the pain. It's a surrender to the truth of right now ... without knowing what the future holds.
But right now, the truth is that the dreams you held onto tightly have been dashed and you don't know what to do. How to move forward. How to construct new dreams.
Grieve your loss. Be honest about how you feel. Then, when the time is right for you, you'll discover a new version of your hopes. You'll find a way to achieve a semblance of what you had deeply wanted. Maybe you'll even remember an older dream that you had always wanted, but were afraid to go after ... and you find the courage to do it now.
Maybe it means further study or committing changes to your life. Maybe adoption or being the best Aunt that ever lived. Maybe it means a career change. Or a divorce.
Unknowns are challenging; but you don't have to know the answer right now. You will. When you're ready.
Until then, beautiful one, know that you are loved. And you will have new dreams that are just as amazing as this one was.
I'd love to hear what some of your deepest held dreams are. Please feel free to share.