About 6 minutes after I published my last blog post, I received a message from Luigi, asking me if I would like to join in on the next day’s olive picking expedition.
Luigi and his family own the home where I am staying, as well as several olivetti (olives groves), and run a small delicious olive oil production. While I stared at the message for a bit wondering if he had possibly read my words, I could almost hear some top layer of emotional mud crackling away at the lure of some sense of community. I answered that yes I would love to, knowing that I was really responding to a much bigger invitation, one the universe was kindly extending, following my vulnerable exposition.
Then, within the next 12 hours, a few things happened, most of them having to do with responses to the blog.
First, I received quite a bit of emails from readers telling me that they could fully relate to the way I was feeling. Even though the topic shows up regularly in coaching sessions, the volume surprised me. Then, peppered through the responses, I was gifted some profoundly helpful nuggets of wisdom.
I will share some of them with you now, because they are so rich and because they have been so impactful for me that I am thinking they may touch you also.
The first one was on Facebook, by someone who knows me well. It simply said:
‘Perhaps look at the “shoulds” you have handed yourself.’ Well, this one annoyed me instantly, especially since I knew that I could not let it pass by unexamined.
Then, this one:
‘Dear Laura, what you feel reminded me of something I read recently: "Once freed from the cage, an animal finds itself alone, unsure of what to do, separated from a life and things that it understands. The sudden uncertainty can be paralyzing.” As you say, in a few days, you'll know! You'll settle into the new rhythm, peacefulness will come back and words will flow’ Whew.
And then, this:
“I think our minds are so accustomed to dealing with stuff, solving problems, making deadlines, communicating with people, getting things done...that when we find ourselves in heaven, we don't know what to do. Especially as someone who wants to write! There's nothing worse for a writer, than tons of free time. I don't know why, but that's how it is with me.
The greatest writers often wrote in the wee hours before their day jobs, or at night while the household slept, or on napkins, matchbook covers and so on.
If I were you (always easy to say!)...I'd forget about writing for now and just explore and enjoy, read, watch movies, eat, be on vacation! Writing is a terrible mistress!.. a joy and delight, but so persnickety, fitful, moody, petulant, evasive. Give her the cold shoulder for awhile and see if she comes muling back to you. Or give her twenty minutes a day, no more than that. Sensing she doesn't have all that much of your time to waste, she might start to spill. If not, good riddance. You can deal with her when you return to old redundant USA.
(meanwhile, just take notes!)”
All these words, their wisdom and the caring and thoughtfulness that were weaved through them, continued the crackling of the mud. By the time I went to sleep (in a huge fit of allergies), I was wide open. Let it come. I’m listening.
I woke up raw and naked in my heart. The sun started peeking over the hill framed by the big glass door in my room, and within minutes, my bed was soaked in bright warm sunlight. I closed my eyes, and deeply accepted the gift. As I recounted this moment on the phone a bit later, a loved voice said: “this is the universe greeting you. It will be alright.” Walking onto the balcony and seeing my beloved sea down below, I suddenly knew, KNEW that I was supposed to be there, right now. I knew that all this beauty and warmth were there to support me in passing an emotional kidney stone. I just had to let go.
So, while my mind continued to make a list of all the stuff I should be doing, my body just sat on a small chair on the balcony and did nothing. Pretty soon, my mind got bored and came to join us. The three of us just looked at the sea for a long time, quietly for the first time since I had gotten here.
Doing nothing. Nothing productive, nothing that would further my work nor enhance the world. Nothing.
Eventually, I felt compelled to get up and re-read one of the emails. The one that suggested that I didn’t write, that I just enjoyed. Then I went back to looking at the sea, moving strangely slowly. And that’s when my heart joined the party, and the tears came up.
I owed it to someone, to something to be productive.
Somehow, quietly, gradually and profoundly, I had bought into the agreement years ago that I owed it to ____________ to bust my butt. A lot, and without much of a break.
I think it started after my marriage ended and I refused to go out and get a “real job.” With three young kids to feed, I did all kinds of pirouettes to keep us afloat, while seemingly unable to sell my time doing something that numbed my soul.
And somehow, in doing so, I had signed a binding mental contract that said that if I chose to not suffer for the money I earned, then I would also never allow myself to fully rest. I had committed to a non-ending, exhausting debt.
How did I miss that? How did I forget signing this mad contract? I don’t know.
But all of a sudden, on this small blue balcony in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Life’s beauty and my friends’ love, the darn thing showed back up out of a dark file cabinet and grudgingly handed me a pen with which to write an amendment. Instead, not feeling 100% sure of what I was doing, I slowly tore it up and sent its pieces floating over the water.
Then I sat back down and waited to go pick olives.
Which is a whole other story.
Here's to feeling, here's to listening, and here's to healing.
And here's to loving support, always.
PS: This morning, I receive this:
“Wow. I’m getting touched. I’m getting triggered. I’m starting to feel something, and feel something that doesn’t really feel comfortable. And what this points to is the fact that transformation requires us to be okay with feeling our shadow….the transformation, and the embodiment of self, and fully embodied intuitive development isn’t going to come from just living in the love and light. It’s going to come from our strength and our willingness to sit in some of the shadow feelings and not shame ourselves or make ourselves wrong for being there and just give ourselves permission to have them and feel them….you are starting to tap into what was subconscious. It’s like a pocket of energy that got suppressed and is stored there in the body, maybe it’s been protected with a lot of different survival mechanisms, coping mechanisms, and now you’re in a container for healing…that healing is to move the energy out. It’s a block in the body. So the reason we don’t always feel good in healing is because sometimes in order to get to the other side of the channel in our body, to clear the pipeline, in order to get to freedom on the other side, is about going through the feeling and giving yourself complete empowerment and permission to feel it.” - Wendy DeRosa
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