“I don’t know how to do this,” I remember thinking as I walked through every painful step of letting my cats go (both my boys passed five days apart).
But my inner voice was always clear in response:
“Yes, you do; you just do it.”
And so I did.
I took the next breath and followed it with the next step.
I did the really hard things, one at a time.
I sobbed through some and shook through others.
My voice cracked, my heart raced, and my head spun.
The pit in my stomach persisted.
And every time I thought I didn’t know how, I proceeded to do it.
There’s no easy button for these experiences we walk through. There’s no bypassing or avoiding until the circumstances change.
There’s just doing it, even when you’re certain you can’t.
Even when you have to peel yourself off the floor over and over again.
I trust myself to do hard things because I’ve proven that I can. Because I understand there’s no getting to the other side—really, truly, cleanly—without going right through the eye of the storm, and I know I’ll always be better for having done it. There’s no feeling healed and whole without first surrendering to the agonizing heartbreak, the gutting grief, and all the messy emotions these experiences have in tow.
I’ll never choose the false comfort of storing heaviness in my cells through avoidance over the painful freedom of processing them in real-time. I used to stuff and bypass, and it almost killed me. It colored my life with anxiety, heaviness, sickness, and dis-ease.
I’m hurting, but I’m peaceful and free.
It’s excruciating, but I’m actively healing.
It’s unsettling and destabilizing, but I’m steady in my trust.
My heart is shattered, but I still feel my joy and delight.
There will always be more hard things to do and face and feel our way through because this life is messy and other people are constantly crashing into us. Death is unavoidable and change is inevitable. Nature wrecks havoc and times are constantly changing.
But what I know to be true because of the work that I’ve done is this: there can be more ease and peace inside the chaos. Healing can happen more quickly and seamlessly. Life can get better and better.
It begins with facing what’s hard and what hurts.