I’ve been deep in planning (for a few months) which as most of us know is code for de-cluttering, reorganizing, getting clear and making changes.
What I always forget is that sometimes deep planning necessitates grieving and letting go. Those sticky emotions take time. In my opinion more time than I wish them to take. I’m an action-taker and that’s my comfort zone.
Recently I said good-bye to a dear friend who has left 3 children and a husband after a brief terminal illness. She was a high school friend and the one I would run to when I ran away from home after a teenage fight with my mom. Her illness and passing re-surfaced much emotional residue from that time in my life.
On the “heals” of her death was the realization of how much I am still grieving the closing of my music and movement school
(2 years ago this month)
and recognizing how much I miss the community I had created over 2 decades with the children and moms I used to see weekly.
Truly feeling how different my life is. Much less busy-ness. More quiet time. A little more lonely time. Less dancing, singing and full-on play.
It’s just stuff, right?
I had an enormous collection of instruments that were designed and specially created for young children. I’ve been selling the instruments and movement props over these few months and every time I watch someone walk away with “their” loot…I go in to shock and it takes me a week or two to un-numb myself.
These photos show a fraction of what was there. There was another whole storage area I don’t have pics for.
There was a vibrant green entrance, a waiting area, reading nook, kitchen and administrative office too (not shown).
While I didn’t close Musicalia simply because I was exhausted (‘cause I was REALLY exhausted) my energy level was a factor in the decision. I was ready to stop hauling equipment, managing hundreds of people, administration, support staff and working 18 hour days. I was ready for a life with less of a load.
It’s been 2 years since the closing and I am finally beginning to notice a positive shift in my energy levels. I can stay up later. I can read and study and take in new information. I’m not drained and exhausted all the time.
I’ve had forgiveness work to do around the drama with the landlords of the building I was renting during that time.
They raised the rent by over 30% in one year after I had invested tens of thousands of dollars renovating a slum-landlord-type space.
They decided now that it was so lovely (and had a heat pump, new floors, lighting, new walls, new bathroom, security system and thermal security window treatments and EVERYTHING was to fire codes) it was worth more so they wanted more. I rented + renovated the space thinking I’d be there for at least 15 years.
Pursue legal means? It would have defeated the purpose of being able to afford the space and keep doing the work. In the end, I decided to look at the good that could come out of closing the chapter on two decades of my life.
I had dreamed of having more time for my husband and friends. I thought about what I could do with this new chapter coming. I could start painting again or I could create a new business…maybe an online business. I could work less, carry a lighter teaching load in some other way and maybe have a day or two off every week.
Then, I watched my entire life’s work be sold off…
Then, I watched my entire life’s work be sold off, stored and otherwise gifted to organizations in my town. It felt as though my own child had died. I still haven’t been able to part with all the puppets. I have hundreds and hundreds of stunningly beautiful puppets. I know they’ll have to be sold too. Sad.
I still teach but only part-time and not groups only private lessons and not in my own studio but in children’s homes. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’m not letting go so easily? I do need a reliable income as after I’d closed the school, my husband informed me our finances were not what I had been led to believe. More grief.
All this grief takes time to sort through. Sometimes I think I’m okay. It’s been 2 years, right? Should be getting over it by now… and then I meet a parent of one of my students on the beach while I walk the dog and I end up in a puddle of tears while they tell me how much they appreciated what I had built in the community.
In fact, the tears have been streaming the entire time I’ve been writing this post. I walk away from the writing and then come back to write the next day and it starts again.
Too much grief
I know this is where my writer’s block was stemming from. Too much grief.
It is so much easier to step into a new life, to keep stepping out, keep working, continue building my coaching practice and doing real world things with real people. Take action in the direction away from pain.
Too close to sadness
Writing brings me too close to my sadness. It requires a kind of engaged stillness that releases pain and I don’t really want this blog to be entirely about pain. I would like to write about something other than pain and yet this is where I seem to need to be right now.
I enrolled in a grief course last fall. In Second Firsts I learned that actually stepping into a new life IS the way out of grief. I don’t think it’s really worked for me the way I had hoped though. The sadness is obviously still there inhibiting me and moving away from it seems to magnify it somehow.
How to embody sadness
Lately, I’ve decided to embody the sadness. Let it really rise up. Let in inhabit my whole being and BREATHE it in.
This morning I woke up in the clutches of ‘something’ so I just lay there and I breathed and watched as the numbness and grief and immobilization of my body gradually rolled away until I felt lighter and clearer.
Then I was up out of bed to finish writing this post. Something I haven’t been able to do for months. So thanks for reading:)
And if you’re interested in a little more….
In the spirit of stepping forward…… forgiveness is my speciality
I’m almost ready to launch Forgiveness House. It’s a 5-week Online Retreat for women. It’s one of the areas of life I REALLY know well. I started having dreams (literal nighttime dreams) about it in March of of 2013 and knew right away I was supposed to create this. I’ve been following spiritual breadcrumbs ever since.
I know I’ll be able to help women who want to create more vibrant lives and I’ve been supporting women in this work for almost 30 years.
This new program is an extension of what I’ve been doing naturally most of my life.
Do you know someone who may be interested? Please pass this info on. I’ll be keeping the price point very low (around $250 and will include a 1:1 session with me) for this first round.