Are you feeling all over the place?
Sad then happy?
Relieved then scared?
Perhaps one day you feel hope that things are going to turn around, and then the next day you see the news and feel that horrible anxiety all over again.
We can all agree this year has been a DOOZY.
Election week in the US was like an insane reality show, and while there was celebration and hope, it appears the characters are digging in to create the most drama and damage they can.
I have felt myself go from elation to hopelessness within a second.
And as we head into winter, how do we stay afloat?
And not just in our lives with our work, but in our hearts?
How do we nourish our creative force while the world around us continues to spin in chaos?
I’ve always said my favorite time of year is from Halloween to New Year’s Day. It starts with fun costumes and ends with joy and celebration for a new year.
But, last Halloween was rough.
I had just started a new protocol with supplements and changes to my diet, and was starting to feel better after only having two good days in September. October was a real improvement with 13 good days, but most days I had a migraine and low energy.
And I love Halloween. Especially in my new marriage. We had really outdone ourselves with fun couples costumes that included dressing as Shiva and Shakti, and then Khal Drogo and Khaleesi from Game of Thrones.
As most of the world around us went to parties, dressed up, and had fun, I stayed home and went to bed early. With my migraines, there was no way I could handle the lights, loud music, or crowds that would just overwhelm my system.
After spending the Halloween before dancing all night at a party, this was a stark departure.
I did what I needed do for my well being last year, although my heart deeply missed all the fun.
As Halloween approached this year, it was clear there were not going to be any parties, for a much different reason, and the irony was that I was actually feeling better.
I wanted to celebrate.
I wanted to have fun.
But I was struggling with how.
And my husband sent me a link to this magical place called Longwood Gardens. He’s actually wanted to take me for three years, and when I saw they were open on Halloween, I had an idea.
What if this was how we celebrated Halloween?
So, I grabbed my red wig and bat earrings, and off we went, making a two hour road trip to spend Halloween in a very different way.
My husband had been to Longwood Gardens before and had raved about it, plus all the photos on the website were stunning, but I wasn’t prepared for what being there actually did.
It energized me.
I felt SO good.
And while my health has radically improved since last year, I still have symptoms, and sometimes they come on very quickly.
But not in the gardens. We walked through an enormous conservatory filled with every plant imaginable, vibrant flowers, and running streams. We witnessed one of the largest pipe organs in the world and delighted in the spooky tunes playing just for the season. We watched a fountain show to music, and walked through a meadow path viewing birds and still pools.
And I realized what was helping me so much.
It was all around me. And in such abundance.
And I began to reflect back on these last two years, since my migraines began, the pandemic, and my miscarriage, and what has been my lifeline through it all.
I have spent more time outside staring at the sky, taking in a flower, watching a bird hop on the ground, than ever in my life.
As I experienced debilitating pain, disappointment, and panic around my health and wondering if I would ever feel well again, every time I sought out beauty, and every time, it helped.
Because as I took in the flower, or the sky or bird, I was reminded of something far larger than me. Something larger than my migraines, low energy, or loss.
That somehow, even in the midst of such chaos and pain, there ALSO existed beauty.
It was there all along. It never left. And seeing beauty each time brought me back to a place of hope, knowing that if the world can burn and still bloom at the same time, so can I.
I can have good days and bad. I can have low energy AND be healing at the same time. And perhaps, the headaches ARE the healing.
They can happen together.
I just need to be reminded.
Before leaving the gardens, we came upon a huge tree house, and I ran up the steps to see a wooden dragon standing guard at the door. I remembered how two years ago, I was dancing all night at a party dressed as the Mother of Dragons, having no idea of what the next year would bring.
And here we were.
Me with the dragon.
When I lost everything back in 2013, I felt like my whole life was burning to the ground, and it was a dear friend that reminded me of the beauty in the fire. She called me a Phoenix and helped me re-frame what was happening to me into even though I felt like I was constantly burning to ash, I continued to rise.
They were happening together.
And watching my first marriage burn was what allowed me to truly learn what love is and find a life partner who actually wants a family.
Watching my career burn allowed me to release my fear of my audience and find my voice as a writer.
Watching my home burn allowed me to leave a toxic environment that was making me physically sick and finally feel space and ease in my body.
The fire has become my friend. For the first time in my life I was actually walking THROUGH it, after decades of avoiding it.
Destruction and creation.
So, I took this picture you see above, grateful to see my friend. Grateful to be with the dragon. And grateful for the journey.
One of my favorite teachings is,
pain in inevitable, but suffering is optional.
The reason this is so profound, is because it places the power back in your hands.
This year has tested us in ways we’ve never seen in history. The constant onslaught has been relentless, which is why it has been so paramount to actually USE it.
Meaning, to really take in what is working in your life and what isn’t.
If something is burning, was it working in the first place? What can be created from the ash?
Trust me, I wish I could wave a wand and end your suffering. I wish I could hug you and hold your heart. But, what I can do is remind you of your power.
I can remind you OF your heart.
Remind you of your vulnerability.
Remind you of your humanity.
And remind you of beauty.
It’s still there, and while some days, it may feel so far away, come back to what helps you connect to it.
Put down the news.
Turn off the noise.
And look at the sky.
Expansive and endless.
Much like the possibility of your life.
The beauty of your precious human life.