I have a confession to make – I willfully skipped last month’s blog post. I felt a little guilty but, truthfully, I just couldn’t do it. When the beginning of May rolled around, I was too self absorbed in my ‘stuff’ to feel capable of sharing, so I just… didn’t. And now, having reached a place on the other side where the ‘grass is so much greener,’ I recognize that it served me well to allow myself to whole-heartedly experience a momentary, good, deep wallow. I see it this way – I had to drop the veneer and allow myself to feel miserable in the short term to discern what the next steps were to clean the slate, clear my attitude, and prepare for the next leap forward in personal, professional, and social growth. As cliché as it sounds (forgive me), a month out I can look back and see that it was another unplanned caterpillar-to-butterfly episode for me. I like the idea that we don’t have a circle of life, we have a spiral. You will notice the spiral as you come through places it feels like you’ve been before. Recognize, however, that each time you do, the environment or circumstances might be the same – but you’re standing on a different plane. If you think of it this way, you can start to be equally grateful for both the familiarly good and the familiarly bad, because they signify that you’re getting ready to cycle up yet again.
If you’ll humour me, I wanted to take this month’s writing to share what I learned over a month-long process of digging up demons and putting them to good use. For what it’s worth, here’s my 2-cents on…(insert drum-roll)…How to experience a productive, purposeful wallow (aka a slump, a psychological-physiological-energetic bump in the road, a good old boohoo session):
#1 – I was present:
I didn’t try to hide from it. Yes, I put on my game face when it was needed (that’s just part of being an adult I think), but I didn’t shy away from ANYTHING just because it was unpleasant. I used to be a bottle-up-er and can attest that it turns into a game of whack-a-mole, i.e. you succeed at beating an emotion down with your mallet only to have it pop up again just out of reach. I’m now a believer in the ‘timed wallow’ (a strategy that works for me but might be dead wrong for others). Even facing irrational negativity, I let myself be absorbed by it for a set amount of time – say 1 hour, or even ½ a day – during which time I can prod it, explore it and even feed it if that’s what’s necessary. And then, when time’s up, I know that I need to get rational – will it matter in 6 months? Is there another side to the story? Can I learn something (hint- you can always, ALWAYS learn something or it wouldn’t have happened)? I boohoo-ed more times than I’ll admit here – privately and even semi-publicly. I trust (because I experienced it) that that cleansing was just a physical manifestation of the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new process that was going on inside.
#2 – I didn’t structure it:
Along with not hiding, I also didn’t mastermind the process – who am I to think I’m smart enough to try? At the end of April, I set an intention to willingly do whatever it took to grow out of the stagnation I’d been in. Oooh boy! In hindsight, the journey took me about 10 days on the way down and 3ish weeks on the way up (until I was back to feeling like myself again). Even in the discomfort, I chose to give myself the grace to let ‘it’ unfold however it would. You know that old adage, “he who doesn’t learn the lessons of history is condemned to relive it”? Well, each day was becoming my history and I wanted to do it right the first time. Behind the discomfort I maintained an underlying curiosity. I did what my heart and my instinct said it was time to do – even when that was to ‘skip a day’ (I think some call it a ‘mental health day’) and stay in bed from dinner Sunday until breakfast on Tuesday.
#3 – I didn’t hold it in:
I’ve extolled the virtues of journaling for many years, even while claiming ‘ but I’m not the journaling type’. Guess what, now I’m the journaling type! One particularly vehement journaling morning (among my first half-dozen), I titled the page “WHY DO I TOLERATE” (with many exclamation marks and much underlining) and then went on to brain-dump all the less-than-good thoughts, habits and behaviours I’d been allowing myself to get away with. It didn’t feel good. In fact it felt really bad, but it just needed to come out. And once it was out, I could see it rationally. And I could start making the decision to make changes.
#4 – I leaned on people:
This one has an obvious tie to not holding it in. I went to the people I knew would support me. The people who are not only for me, but WITH me. They gave me a compassionate ear, a rational sounding-board for my irrational self-talk, a hug, a treatment and positive leveraging. In one case, a friend set off the tear-waterworks just by saying ‘we see in you what you can’t see in yourself right at this moment.’ I think I’ve said in this space before that I used to see vulnerability as my greatest liability and I now see it as my strongest gift. Going it alone is tiring. Inner strength is essential. But leaning in doesn’t preclude leaning on.
As to what the end result of this whole uncomfortable expansion process has been, well… many fold. Let’s just say I’m now ready to GO! The first way you’ll see it is the unveiling of my new Care that Comes to You program. Have you heard about it yet? It’s a way for me to bring the same quality care you’d get by seeing me in clinic, out to all those people who are too busy ‘life-ing’ to look after themselves as consistently or comprehensively as they’d like to. I’m coming to you in the convenience of your home or office. You can get more information here.

Get wellness advice delivered right to your inbox.