When You're Face Down

and you get your ass kicked.

I’m sorry I don’t have a more polite way to describe this, although perhaps ‘kicked in the teeth’ would work. You can decide what fits.

One thing about me that most people know if we’ve been close for a while: Don't lie to me. Don't tell half truths, don't be anything less than boldly transparent or I feel blown back by betrayal.

I stand for truth and transparency and have been deeply betrayed so I am also keenly aware of the triggers that run alongside my values.

So this past week when I was lied to I felt blindsided and betrayed. I was questioning my relationship with these people. When I pointed out the lies, there was no ownership. All of this just adding to my hurt. I asked for space to see what I needed to move forward and that was met with more defensiveness and extreme discomfort.

I cried more than I have cried since I can remember. I felt like my heart weighed 1000 lb and no matter what I did, I seeped sorrow and loss.

In my brokenness I leaned into my integrity and while I was still spitting the grit from falling flat on my face, I didn't do what seems logical or listen to the roar of my gremlins, when I’m feeling vulnerable: I listened to my heart.

My heart was what was producing all the tears. Normally I feel angry which helps me to move forward and not get bogged down by emotions I’m not comfortable with, two of them being grief and sadness. I didn't grow up with these. We moved on quickly. Back to work and school. No time for those feelings.

So I gave in, let the feelings move through me. I cried and I felt tired, I felt such betrayal and longing to be seen, heard and honored, fully knowing that may never happen.

The heart knows what we need we just so often don't heed its leading because it feels awkward, painful or even weird, but it’s where our truth lies and without its compass in a storm we are very likely to get off course.

I reached out to my people. I didn’t poll people to see what they thought, I reached out to a few people, shared my struggle and they loved me through it. They saw my pain, without judgement and honoured my wounds.

I meditated, journaled and prayed a lot. We can’t trust ourselves if we don’t know what's going on inside of us so I made extra time for quiet. We also need space to process and these practices provided that.

I trusted my truth, I looked back at my core values and defined even more clearly what they meant to me and the behaviours that supported them. This helped me stay grounded in why this infraction hurt me so much, but also what I needed to clearly communicate so we could rebuild our relationship and regain trust.

Transparency was the value that was violated for me. I define transparency as extravagant honesty; volunteering the truth.

This week I refined it further, it means telling the whole truth and I added to that the saying “what people don’t know won’t hurt them” is a flat out lie, so I added to the definition that ‘if you know something that could hurt me-tell me’. If it hurts me or not, at least I won’t be left in the dark or feel like I’ve been duped.

I filled myself with truth. I listened to audio books about the science of how we rise from a fall. I love Brene Brown and I may need therapy for this, but when I miss my mom, I listen to Brene as she’s science and sass, just what I need. My mom was more sandwiches and love, but I’ll take what I can get. She reminds me to keep moving and where I need to focus when I feel kicked down. Her book Rising Strong helped me so much this week.

I joked earlier this week, as someone in a support group that I facilitate asked me what I do for self care, that I was high maintenance and while it’s not true in the conventional sense, it is so true for me in other ways. I have a huge toolbox of resilient tools, many that I practice daily, and bring them all out when I’m struggling.

I also spent my time counting widgets. What’s that mean? I was too spent to do challenging tasks so I dove into simple tasks for work, that required some attention and that basic rhythm soothed me.

I got creative. As the week went on and things were not getting much better I asked myself what I needed and I wanted to be creative. Not paint a picasso or anything, just simply making some simple Xmas cards for my clients. It was relaxing and joy giving and brought me home to myself.

I reached out and texted others that had been struggling, to let them know I was thinking about them. We are never the only ones struggling and to use pain to reach out to others, there’s is a blessing to them and gets us moving past our own navels at times.

I also stayed working. I LOVE working with my clients. It’s such an honour and so grounding. I would do this work for free, it fills my soul to the brim so I relished the time with them.

All of this reinforces to me that the universe is oddly kind amidst the greatest of aches and there is no failing, only learning. That hearts heal, that relationships change, that to truly live is messy, gritty and painful but that’s what I deeply long for and that eventually the sun comes up. I just need to wade deep into truth, lean into love and to be open to see joy be sprinkled into the hardest of times.

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