My training as a Grief Recovery Specialist began with the desire to jump off a moving bus.
When I first discovered the training program, the philosophy and the training dates, it felt right. Although decision making does not come easy to me,* the move to book the course was one of the easiest and quickest decisions I’ve ever made. It was The One. The course was even offered during a week where my children would be traveling, so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty for leaving home. It was meant to be.
When the coursework arrived, I paged through the Grief Recovery Handbook and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everything in the book resonated so soundly with my beliefs regarding grief. I couldn’t wait to gobble up the book and get to work.
As the mother of two young children, I don’t get much time to read. I got through as much of the book as I could before leaving on the course, but I knew the bulk of the material would have to be read en route. Luckily, I had a full day of travel planned, including a 2-hour wait at the bus station and a 3-hour bus ride from the airport to the hotel.
It was on this bus ride that I got to the meat of the book, and slowly began to realize that this journey of being qualified in grief recovery was going to involve Me. The Real Me. And the Real Me was going to have to work through her own shit before being able to help anyone else.
My gut reaction? GET ME OFF THIS BUS.
Sounds dramatic, I know. Believe me, I’m not the dramatic type (unless I’m actually on stage in a costume).
The thought of wading through the muck of my previous losses was nearly enough to send me straight toward the bus driver, asking for him to abandon me at the nearest possible public bathroom.
I am so, so glad that I didn’t do that.
Please hear me out: the power of the pain you have inside can be so intense, and your resistance to it can be so strong, that it could knock your socks off. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a loved one die, have gone through a divorce (or the divorce of your parents), moved across the country as a child, or your dog ran away. It adds up. It hurts. And it doesn’t go away on its own.
This pain goes with you everywhere. It speaks for you when you get in an argument. It makes you cry at movies. It fuels your anger and impatience when your child refuses to brush their teeth. It causes you to overreact when your spouse makes a simple suggestion or your boss gives you a deadline. It gives you anxiety that you can’t explain.
My question for you is: what pain are you toting around with you, day after day? What’s your “emotional baggage”?
What is the thing that you would be the least willing to explore for fear that it would be too painful, too uncomfortable, too big or ugly or shameful to deal with?
Which person, event, regret makes you want to pour a drink, go on a shopping binge, or numb out on your phone?
EVERYONE is walking a journey that involves both pain and pleasure – that’s life. Chances are, you have a few – or maybe several – painful experiences that are still causing you anxiety or resentment, but you simply aren’t willing to “go there”.
I know I wasn’t.
But I did.
But I did.
*I am a chronic overthinker and I drive myself nuts.