Take what you need

Earlier in the week I felt the kind of sadness that feels like it’s crushing you from the inside out.

Nothing was particularly wrong; everything was ok except me.

I felt flat, like I’d let out a breath and couldn’t get it back again. Like everything was too hard. I was trying, I was trying so much and it just wasn’t working. I felt like I could break.

I’ll tell you how it turned out in a minute, but first I want to tell you a story about a woman making a fruit salad…. without having any fruit.

She wanted it. She tried. She read books about fruit salads. She meditated about the fruit salad. She was cheerful. She tried harder. She set goals. She knew she should be able to make this fruit salad happen – other people did every day. She tried even more to make it work. It didn’t work, and anyone can see why.

It seems obvious to say that you need the ingredients for what you’re trying to create.

It’s obvious about the fruit salad, not so much in our own lives. Every day intelligent people are walking around trying to make something happen without giving themselves what they need.

So back to me feeling like crap.

I tried everything. I was eating well, meditating, moving, reading great books, getting outside… but I wasn’t getting enough rest. It was only when I stopped all the trying that I realised I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t down, I was *exhausted*.

When something’s off in our bodies, other things feel off in our lives, and if we look hard enough we can always blame it on something outside of ourselves. Nothing works, and the more we try the more discouraged we become because we can’t make it happen, and it gets harder and harder to see why.

If you’re trying to make a fruit salad you need fruit. If you’re trying to make a healthy, happy life you need nourishing food, good people around you, things you care about, sunshine, movement, and rest – you need to give yourself permission to stop if you’re ever going to get anywhere.

Like thirst can disguise itself as hunger, exhaustion can disguise itself as anger, worry, anxiety, sadness, stress and little problems suddenly feeling too heavy to carry.

When I gave myself permission to really truly rest, do you know what got easier? Everything. The battles i’d been fighting weren’t won – they didn’t need to be – they weren’t even there anymore.

Maybe you’re tired too, or maybe there’s another ingredient missing in what you’re trying to create right now. Openly and honestly look for it – then go get it. You’d never kid yourself into believing you can make a fruit salad without ingredients, don’t think you can get what you want without giving yourself what you need.

fruitsaladCopyright Nirvana Dawson 2018

When you need to catch them

To all parents, but especially special needs parents, ASD parents, parents of the kids who don’t quite fit the mould, the anxious ones, the quirky ones, the beautifully challenging ones, the ADHD ones; this is for you.

In the moments when you are tired to your bones, when your eyes close as you take that deep breath, trying to steady your response to what has just been said or done, as though you can maybe just breathe deeply enough to undo it, remember;

Your child is not angry at you – they’re angry because in this moment, it is hard. All of it. Life. They’re directing their anger at you because you are their safety. That anger is hurt wrapped in overwhelm and they’re throwing it at you because they know that despite any of this you will catch them when they feel like they’re falling.

Often enough it will pass in a heartbeat, and you have all these years to practice bouncing back as quick as they can.

One day you might feel like you’re moving forward, the next you might feel like you’re going backwards – this is just your dance for right now. Sometimes the music is a little crazy but there are so many memories to be made on this dance floor and one day you’re going to look back on them and only see joy.

Worry about the future if you must, but pause long enough to blow bubbles, to play in the waves, to knock down sand castles, to drink hot chocolate and talk about nonsense. Your job isn’t to raise a perfect person, it’s to find the perfection right here, right now. It’s to make them laugh. It’s to find the beauty in their drawings or finger-paint messes and love them for their quirks not despite them.

Your child is not anxious at you – and sometimes there is nothing you can do in that moment to help. Listen anyway. Tell them you love them anyway. Get them outside. Build them a fort. Do whatever you need to do, because before you know it a day will come when that anxiety is a little less, and they wont remember those moments of stress, irritation or frustration – they’ll remember playing outside with you, or those amazing forts.

Don’t listen to that relative, that friend, that person on the street who tells you how it should be. Do what works for you and your child. Be unashamed of rocking the path that is just right for your child. Listen to them. Listen to them a thousand times over.

Your child’s joy does not need to look like anyone else’s. Don’t compare. If they are lost in the magnificence of pouring sand through their fingers for an hour then just keep the sand coming. Provide all the opportunities, but with the ease that they may not be taken, and thats ok.

Your child is not having a hard day at you – even though it impacts you, your family, the people you pass in the street. Your child is having a hard day, and you’re doing them the kindness of bearing witness. You’re listening, even in the moments you’d rather not be. You’re walking beside them as they feel all the things.

There is an enormity in being there with your child, when the emotions and challenges feel too big to hold, and just holding them. You’re doing it, and you’re doing fine.

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To the woman with the broken heart

I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. I’m sorry he left, but if he wasn’t going to love you with every fibre of his being I’m so glad he set you free.

You see you weren’t put on this earth by accident. Your heart isn’t one of the kindest, most genuine and loving hearts by chance. You weren’t put here to hurt, or feel alone. You are here to love and be loved, to laugh so hard you forget everything else, to help people, to discover things you didn’t even know you were looking for, to adventure. You were put here to have a life of stories, and one day you’ll tell the one you’re living right now… and it will have a happy ending.

There are so many things waiting for you. Friends who you haven’t laid eyes on yet, books you will get lost in, cats to purr on your lap, foods that wake up every single taste bud, and somewhere someone who’s heart beats in time with yours, who has spent his whole life looking for you.

Someone you can’t even imagine yet, but one day wont be able to imagine your life without.

Maybe you’ll meet him in the supermarket or a far off land, maybe you’ll bump into him in the rain, maybe you’ll find you share friends and recognise each other with a lightness that shows you that your souls lined everything in your lives up to bring you to that moment. And you’ll think “Wow. So this is what I was missing?”

He’s not the point though, you know that? The point is you. And in losing someone else you get to find yourself even more. You’ve known hurt before and you shouldn’t have to know more, but there are treasures in this pain right now.

Don’t regret one single tear you shed, because every damn one of them is a poem about how hard you love.

Don’t regret not seeing it coming because thats a testament to how beautifully you trust. Never stop.

Don’t think you’re weak for grieving this loss – it takes guts to feel so deeply.

Don’t think you’ve lost the love of your life because there is SO much life left for you yet, and there’s no way the best parts are over. You were put here for joy. It’s coming. It’s yours.

Know that it’s ok to love someone and still let them go. You’ll get there. There’s no rush.

It’s ok to feel broken, but know that you can’t be. You are strong, you are smart, and you got this. You really, really do.

Pour yourself a cup of tea tonight and sip it slowly. Feel the warmth as it fills you. Know that it’s going to be alright. That feeling might only stay for a moment today, and thats fine, don’t force it, because tomorrow it will stay for a little longer, the next day a little longer than that. One day the moment will come when you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried. When you know that not only are you going to be alright, but you are, you’re better than alright, in fact you’re better than you ever thought you could be.

This is your story beautiful friend, and I’m on the edge of my seat about what comes next as much as you are. Know that seat’s a long one. You have lots of us on your team. At the moment you probably feel anxious about what comes next, but sooner or later things are going to get better. That anxiety will melt away to excitement. The day will come, before you know it, when you can’t wait to see the next twist in your story.

Love to you always x

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