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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

How are You Doing with All This?

Earlier this week, a friend texted me and asked, “How are you doing with all this?”

Thinking she was referring to some of the offerings I’ve prepared and offered through my coaching business, I replied, “Good! I like to have/develop outside my day job.”

Then I realized she meant the Supreme Court confirmation. The election.

Ohhhhhh that….

I understand why people are gripped by fear – we’re living through a pandemic that’s forcing us to pull in our proverbial oars. To sit with ourselves. There's an election and people on both side have feelings. Strong feelings.

On Sunday evening, I participated in a class on Zoom offered by Regina’s Connection. A silver lining of the connection is that we’ve figured out this Zoom stuff and I can participate in an offering by Regina although I’m now residing in Virginia. And – without struggling to find a place to park my car in downtown Hudson. Regina presented on sacred space, grounding yourself and boundaries. Following her presentation, I’ve been organizing my office, again, this week.

And I came across a notebook on my bookshelf. I hadn’t seen this notebook in a long time and yet it looked familiar to me. I opened it today and it was documentation of the darkest period of my life back in 2006. Documentation that a therapist asked me to keep and I had what they refer to in AA as, "the gift of desperation" so I did precisely as he'd suggested. The year before, my bestie had been diagnosed with breast cancer. When she told me, it was a gut punch and I knew then that it wouldn’t end well. Anxiety nipped at my heels and soon consumed me. I slid headlong and fast into a deep, dark depression.

That notebook I found – well, it held some darkness.

And it held some light – some hope.

I nailed that meditation thing. Because it saved my fucking life. The consistent exercise part? One day, I'll nail that too. Maybe.

This afternoon, after I came across this notebook, I received an alert that Anne Lamott was live on Facebook. In a way, she too saved my life. If you go to her Facebook page, you can watch the video. Anne was the first example of vulnerability I'd seen - she was messy and raw and real and sober. Today Anne said, "I think God loves real." Preach, girl. And I was all of those things back in 2006. Raw messiness can make some people uncomfortable and some people will pull away from you. Those are not your people.

In 2007, I blew up my life the following year. I walked away from that starter marriage and packed little more than the lessons I'd learned and they were abundant.

When I got out of the grip of anxiety/fear, depression, I was never going back there. I built a tool kit - sacred space, meditation, self care - and it's the life raft that I bob atop when times are turbulent. I cultivated a tribe and I'm very careful about who I let into my circle. I built my resilience muscle and when my friend died in 2011, just as I feared she would, I flexed that sucker and didn't slide back into the grip of depression. I thought about cursing the universe, but didn't. I dug deep into that tool box. And today, my tool box is as much about what I do as what I don't do. I don't watch the news or look at polls. I ask myself, "What can I do about this?" And I vote and I donate and set up an appointment with a gay friendly attorney so when/if my marriage is no longer recognized at the Federal level, at least I have a will and an advance directive and Andrea can get into a hospital room should I find myself in one. I do as Anne Lamott suggested today, "Keep coming back to where our feet and butts are." And I stay in that space - that moment. I didn't live through 2006 to let Donald Fucking Trump live in my head rent free.

I watched The Haunting of Bly Manor this week (Andrea's been away) And in the final episode, the narrator says, “… and there was peace. At long last, deep within her heart. There was peace. And that peace held for years – which is more than some of us ever get.”

Why am I sharing this - all of this - the notebook from 2006? Because I have peace deep within my heart and it's held for years. And you can too - no matter what's raging outside - come back to where your feet and your butt are.

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