There’s a New Character on the Scene

act

The Inner Bully, the scared shitless Little Girl; these characters appear so often their arrival is nothing special. They are the regulars in my inner dialogue. What I’ve noticed lately though is that there’s another character that’s appeared on the scene, almost without my noticing. The Inner Dragon, my strong and healthy self, is a character that usually takes a lot of effort to bring onto the scene. It’s usually a deliberate, conscious decision to try to coax the dragon out of it’s den to counter an inner bully rant or comfort the little girl who’s in the midst of losing it. However, lately there have been moments where the default voice in my head has actually been the dragon.

scars

It isn’t always during monumental moments. This past weekend I attended a dance workshop and I was nervous to participate in this highly improvised environment with others who clearly deserved to be there more than myself (according to my inner bully at least 😛). After one mini performance I heard encouragement and approval from within, a voice actually saying “Good job!”. A healthy, proud response to myself coming from MY head? Clearly my mind had been hijacked. It didn’t last too long before the bully chimed in and reprimanded me for having a positive thought about myself – but the first response, the FIRST, DEFAULT response was a positive one! The DRAGON was heard first. Reflecting on this now, I feel like my hard work over the past year is really starting to pay off, and simply put, it feels awesome.

I find the dragon voice coming through in other ways too. With all the difficult situations that are coming up in my life lately, the dragon has actually been the primary voice I’ve been hearing. Don’t get me wrong, the little girl has her moments and the inner bully can still be relentless, but the dragon is also on scene most of the time. I hear a voice within, declaring with quiet determination, “It’s hard. It’s impossible. You’ve got this.”

soareyou

I can’t tell you how meaningful it is to me to be able to keep this strength and power, even when life is chaotic and difficult, and giving me every reason to break down. I still get overwhelmed, doubt myself, and wish for different circumstances.. but beneath it all, despite it all, I’ve realized I now have this unshakeable belief in my own resilience. “I’m standing my ground, while the earth shakes”. (Mary Lambert; Assembly Line)

survive

Over the last year the voice of the dragon has gone from a guest star (who I’d have to pay big bucks just to show up for a 5 minute part) to a regular who’s starting to steal the show. I never would have imagined this a year ago; it was hard work and it continues to be hard work, but wow is it worth it. To all the aspiring actors and actresses in all of you, I repeat…

“It’s hard. It’s impossible. You’ve got this.”

 

No, I’m not ready for Christmas.

And I’ve never meant that more.

Sure, there’s shopping left to do and gifts to wrap, but that’s not even the half of it.

I know that even when I put the last piece of tape on the final present (.. I don’t say bow because my craft skills are so limited they can’t even exist in the hypothetical), there’s going to be a part of me that still won’t feel ready for this.

fragile

Life is fragile. Although it’s always technically true, it vibrates in my heart this year like a second heartbeat. This is an important Christmas; for my family and for my husband’s, and there’s so much I wish I could do, but even Santa can’t make my wishes come true.

I can’t make their illnesses go away. I can’t get my Mom back. I can’t stop her from disappearing from us. I can’t give my Dad (FIL) more time. I can’t be two places at once. I can’t stop the guilt. I can’t make it easier. I can’t stop the disappointment that I’m not watching my own kids open presents. I can’t stop the guilt I have about not making my Dad a Poppy. I can’t stop the sadness. I can’t stop time.

This is hard. This is going to be a hard Christmas.

I’m going to have to sit with this. Make peace with the chaos that will be there. Accept the pain that is inevitable. Accept that there’s no way to make this perfect, or even okay.

stronger

Accept that it will be painful. There will be guilt. There will be sadness. There will be joy. There will be frustration. There will be mounds and mounds of love. And I’m committed to feeling all of it.

Taking it one breath at a time. I won’t just let it happen to me, I will intently live every moment of this Christmas with whoever I’m with at the time. I will feel whatever is there, without judgement (and when there is inevitable judgement I will try to let that be there and hold some compassion). This is my goal for Christmas. It’s a huge undertaking, but it is doable. Making the most of it, knowing it will never be enough, and just letting it be.

play

I can be authentic. I can be compassionate. I can take make every opportunity to fiercely love everyone around me. I can be present and mindful. I can make space for the grief and sadness, as well as the joy and love. I can hold them. I can soak up every moment. I can laugh and cry with them. I can accept that pain and sadness and frustration and guilt will be a part of my Christmas. I can take advantage of every moment I have. I can make a conscious choice to be all in. I can live my values. I can give as much love as humanly (or dragon-ly) possible.

I can live the hell out of this Christmas, even though I still wish I was holding different cards.

I’m sure there’s a lesson here…

nature

I went walking in the woods today. The air was chilly and the ground crisp, as you would expect for December, but it was perfect because I needed to be there. Navigating around roots and mossy rocks I found some stability. The woods always have a way of grounding me, at least for the moment. I engage with the beauty, trying to stay mindful while thoughts still jumble around in my head. I hug the tree trunk in front of me and let tears fall down my cold cheeks. It holds me; supportive and strong.  As I grasp it like it’s my lifeline, I look up and see it’s empty branches.

protect

I think back to my hikes months ago when I couldn’t even see the sky through the thick ceiling of foliage. And then, the beautiful leaves that painted the sky and littered the ground with a beautiful myriad of color. And now, empty branches.

enchanted

I used to think of autumn like an ending, a colourful finale. The leaves displaying how beautiful death can be. Today I rethink this.

The tree is still alive.