How do you know if you're living up to your potential?
Well... would most folks who know you say that you're a good person? That you have compassion in your heart and kindness on your mind?
Who cares if you're LATE accomplishing the goals you've set for yourself?
Sometimes the best thing to do for yourself, is to remember that you need care too.
We all need time to rest, relax and rejuvenate for the next thing on our plate, whether it's about to be Monday again and we're starting the grind all over for the millionth time, or whether we need a project brake to help our voice become fresh and new.
"AAAAAAH! Whoooooooooooo..... okay, I can breathe through this.... this is fine... the pain will stop in just a moment..." Oh my heart -- the thudding pulsed in my ears.
Tears sprung unbidden to my eyes with the effort of biting my lip so I wouldn't moan in public.
"Oh no. Do you want some ice?"
"Sure, actually. Yes. Thank you so much!" I gasped out.
"I'm going to get you some ibuprofen."
"Oh gosh, that's really kind of you, thanks," I replied.
N and L were so sweet to rush over to help me.
Only I would completely bump my foot with a broken toe on the corner of the counter as my 2 year old rushed by, in an effort to avoid him stepping on said foot.
My hands were shaking as I hobbled over to the table with my plate of food. Sinking into the chair, I took a deep, cleansing breath.
"Darlin', how're you doing?" J asked, with a serious look on his face.
"I'm fine. I'll be fine, look, I'm eating," I mumbled back at him. He'd noticed my hands, trembling.
"Your blood sugar is low because of the pain and adrenaline, isn't it?" he murmured, his whiskey colored eyes peering down into my face.
"Yes," I conceded. Shoving a bite of vegetable sushi into my mouth, I began to try to focus on the salty, crunchy and creamy mix, instead of the throbbing tingle in my foot.
" 'CADO. Want more 'cado, peas!" My youngest implored me, his big brown eyes melting into mine, as his chubby little hands tried to slide my plate out from under my fingers.
"Okay Boo, hang on, I'll give you the whole top of this roll -- see? All avocado."
" 'Tanks Mama," he beamed at me.
"You're welcome," I said grinning back at him.
"Hey Mom, I'd like some chips please," S said politely, glancing longingly at the counter where the chips and salsa had been set out.
"I'll get it," said J.
"What do you think guys," I asked, "is this a tasty lunch?"
"YES!" was the unanimous reply. The boys were flushed and happy, though moments ago they had been shivering with delight, or perhaps from being too cold in the pool as the breeze picked up, and the rain began to roll in.
I fielded several well-intentioned questions about why I wasn't wearing an immobilizing boot; why I hadn't brought crutches with me, my answers all boiling down to the basic reason that I'm stubborn and I thought my foot would cramp in a boot, and that my gait was close to normal as long as I was careful with the way I put weight on my foot, and a boot would change that.
As for the crutches, they bruised my hands and my ribs, and as far as I was concerned they were simply replacing one uncomfortable inconvenience for another.
We finished our lunch and went upstairs to warm up, dry off, and pet L, N and J's dog Rey.
We read books and the kids played. We ate dairy free ice-cream, and I forgot about my foot for a while, as I was watching the little ones interact.
These summer days go by so fast; August is just around the corner, and before we realize it, it will be fall again -- my favourite time of year, but this year, very bittersweet.
My youngest will be starting school with his big brother, and for the first time in what feels longer than five brief years, I'm going to have days where I don't have my little shadows in small and smaller. In fact, they're more medium and small, going on big and bigger.
No matter what your inner voice screams, you are amazing.
Sometimes resiliency is a, 'fake it until you make it,' scheme, and sometimes you have to admit that you need help, because faking it simply isn't working.
Remember, despite your perhaps thinking you've already dealt with, processed, gotten past or through something, the universe has a way of bringing that old crap up again to remind you of a few things:
Firstly, that you shouldn't forget the lesson you learned through the hardship.
Secondly, there may be something you're missing that you need to deal with.
Thirdly, maybe things feel too familiar for a reason, and that's something to be aware of and keep in mind.
I've been struggling with a few things lately, that I truly thought I would never have to deal with again. In addition to that difficulty, I have quite recently had a new negative pattern pop up its nasty little head.
I did something that I don't often do: I asked for help and support. I admitted that I was not okay, that I could not handle my situation without help, and that I needed more support than I was currently receiving.
Sometimes keeping things to yourself is not the way to go.
Having said the above, if you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or other difficulties, asking for help can feel like an impossible task.
I am very lucky to have people in my life who love me enough to comprehend that when I'm emotionally or physically struggling or exhausted, that I need the reassurance that the person checking in, or asking how I am, really and truly wants to know my answer.
My partner understands this, and will press me to divulge all information and encourage me in a supporting and sustaining manner. If I am unable to deal with something, he helps me take the first steps.
Not everyone has someone in their life who is able to do that.
If you see someone struggling, or having a difficult moment, ASK THEM if they need assistance -- be it a close friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.
The number of times I have checked in with someone crying, or downcast --- and I'm talking about strangers on the street or outside my normal circle of friends and acquaintances, is TOO MANY to count.
Sometimes, all a person needs is a hearty meal to feel okay again, sometimes it's a hotline referral, or a simple handshake.
Sometimes it's a greeting, a smile, a cookie and an, "I see you and acknowledge your pain and your existence."
I try to carry snacks in my car, not just for myself (HANGRY is not a laughing matter, and low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can be scary) but for the homeless too, or anyone really, who could use a small act of kindness to remember that they're not alone, if only for a moment.
I'm rambling today, but my point is: ASK for help if you can, and try and have compassion enough to realize that sometimes it's not possible. Sometimes you have to remember when you yourself ARE OKAY, that someone else isn't, and they need you to instigate.
For anyone struggling with a longer, deeper, or more inescapable issue, please know that I send you love and support. Life isn't easy, and whatever you're dealing with, I wish I could take your pain and suffering away.
For now, I want you all to know that I am doing very well. My issue was quickly resolved before it became a permanent or much more scary fixture in my life, because I had the self-awareness to ask for the help I realized I needed, immediately. While I am still staying aware of my self-care patterns, and checking in with my center every day, I remain vigilant in my compassion and message of love and light.
Please, take care of yourselves, and if you can't, I hope someone sees you and is able to reach out.