A few days ago I woke up and it took me a while to "get up and go". I sat at the edge of the bed - paralyzed - in reflection of the magnitude of loss and the heaviness of the weight of responsibility to help. I called a friend in Mexico - Pattie.
"It's not like the starfish story. You know, it's just not the same when it's real people and not starfish. And there are so, so many."
I languished about mansplainers and can'ters and spotlight stealers. And we laughed about how some folks underutilize certain pronouns and agreed that there are big problems in this world that leave us bemused but greywater shouldn't be one of them.
Pattie saves the day - all the time. Not only because she makes me laugh like no other, but because she is the most incredibly resourceful human ever. Within 30 minutes of hanging up the phone she texted me the Department of Health's publication on greywater AND a model of a portable shower.
And the days went on, yada yada, and then I had a meltdown. In my driveway. I don't think it was very loud, but I do live in a quiet neighborhood and my neighbors may have heard me. I decided at that moment to give myself a time out. In the car. Alone.
After about two minutes it got pretty lonely in the car, so I texted Shelly.
This is what I love about Shelly. She is my witness. If you know me, you know that I always refer to Oprah's last show when she said, "Everyone deep inside wants to know - do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say matter to you?"
Shelly makes me feel seen and heard and like what I say matters. She is the only person who leaves a comment on every post I've done. When I taught a workshop on communication she came - twice. And then she advocated for me to teach another workshop for HGEA.
And as I sat steaming mad and crying alone in my car - she was there. She let me be ugly and type the word hate and there was no judgement or attempt to fix me. And when I sent her a video of Master Shifu and finding zen, she texted back that she loves Kung Fu Panda too. I mean, come on - if that isn't empathy - then what is.
Truth be told, when I sent out my #sos text to Shelly, I also sent one to Stacy. She is my postpartum sister. If there was a theme song for the kind of friend she is to me it would be Sara Bareilles' Brave. What I so appreciate about Stacy is - she never feels like she needs to help me see the bright side of things. She just says things like, "That really sucks." and "Don't kill anyone sweetie!"
Stacy is a healer. She is like a good witch with her palm scanner that makes evident all your deep, dark, secret places of pain and then unfolds a bag with a plethora of potions. She introduced me to Copaiba and Rose has an essential oil for literally everything.
Before my dad died - he was my person. When I had a series of days like the ones I've had this week, I would drive over, plop myself near his feet, and have an ugly cry. And sometimes he'd say something really sensible and I'd be angry that he wasn't taking my side and being mad at the person I was mad at - but most of the time he'd just listen and then raise his eyebrows, make big eyes at me, then shrug and say, "Well, what you gonna do about it? You can't control everything."
God - I miss him.
He wrote me this note when I was living overseas in Australia.
Here's the thing. Everything I am writing about is a sign of burnout, mixed with a splash of PMS. It is a sign to pause - but not to quit. It is a sign of a soul crying out for gentle care and noticing.
Dear Tired Ones,
When you are facing burnout or PMS or a little bit of both, surround yourself with laughter, and witnesses who overflow with empathy, and good witch healers.
In her song, Held, Natalie Grant wrote, "This is what it means to be held - How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved - and to know that the promise was when everything fell we'd be held." Let your people and your providence hold you.
Remember your roots. Remember the words of your parents. Feel your sheets. Listen to music without words and let your spirit create song. Breathe in compassion for your ever problem solving mind and your broken heart - and with every exhale, reconnect with your zen and accept once again that you can't control everything.