Laying my old self to rest
Goodbye old self. I carried you up to this hill today. I gently placed your tired body in this earth with your favorite possessions, thanked you for the time we had together, then sent you off for your eternal rest. Sometimes in our epic quest for transformation, we forget to make time and space to mourn the loss of who we used to be.
In our quest for change, sometimes we forget to mourn the loss of who we used to be
"What you resist, persists" - Carl Jung
As the seasons change and we feel the brisk air roll in, this is often a time when we turn inward and reflect on all that has come to pass this year and beyond. In that reflection, there is often pain. Sometimes, we don't want to go there. We don't want to relive those moments. While it feels good to move on, if we don't truly honor our struggle with acknowledgment, understanding and a sense of importance, we run the risk of banishing parts of ourselves to our shadow or leaving the wound open to return to for bouts of unwanted rumination.
Reflection = growth
This is an invitation to ask ourselves some reflective questions in order to transcend with lightness to the next level that awaits. Try meditating, journaling or talking to a friend about these questions:
- At this time last year, who was I?
- What other things were going on in my life at that time?
- How did it feel to be this person?
- How have a changed recently?
- What lessons can I thank my old self for experiencing?
My personal goodbye
For me, at this time last year I was recovering from the birth of my son and dealing with the chaos of having a newborn at home during a global pandemic. I was also simultaneously managing my daughter's first year of school as a remote Kindergartener. I was exhausted, clawing my way through each day having been up all night breastfeeding my son and trying my best to support my daughter in her little school corner in the the living room as she tried to stay focused on the day's lesson through her tiny screen. I was tired, I was mad at the world for not handling covid more responsibly, lonely missing the new mom groups I had planned to join and just plain overwhelmed.
As the months went on, however, I started to get more sleep and get in the rhythm of managing school, nursing, baby's naps, walks, preparing meals and getting things done around the house. As my son approached the 6 month mark, I felt ready to dip my toes into creating art again...but I was a little nervous. Luckily I had done the hard work the year before to start plowing through my resistance of creating art and had set up a little drawing table in the living room that was waiting for me to return to.
In January, I decided the only way I was going to force myself to show up consistently to create art was to give myself a set number of days to make art every day. I started with 30 days. If I could make 1 drawing a day for 30 days, then I'd have 30 drawings!! That sounded exciting to me. I chose to create on my iPad so that I could be mobile drawing with the baby in his room, on the floor, or wherever I needed to be without a big setup and mess. I started with a topic I was interested in, the gut microbiome and mindfulness. I made drawing after drawing each day. It was such a feat to finish and post the drawing to my Instagram each day, but it felt amazing! I felt productive, I felt like I had a vehicle to express myself and started connecting with others online as I slowly built a little following.
As day 29 approached, I declared I would go for another 30 day drawing streak and try to get to 60 consecutive days. As day 59 approached, I went all-in and decided 100 days would be an epic finish! And so it was. each day got easier, each day I learned to break my black and white thinking around what I needed in order to create. I found myself snagging literal seconds to do a couple strokes here and there with my Apple Pencil before needing to rush off to get someone a snack or busy my baby with snuggles. I was doing it. I was becoming the type of person who creates despite less than ideal circumstances. I was no longer mad at the world, I was energized. I was no longer lonely, I was feeling supported and encouraged, I was no longer playing the victim, I was working with what I had and what I could do and showing up in the way that was right for me each day, but always dipping a toe in that future direction.
I completed the 100 days and felt on top of the world. Absolutely transformed! So changed, that I mustered up the courage to invite other people to join me when I decided to take on the challenge again in June. I successfully ran a program that transformed other people's lives in picking a goal to do each day for 100 days and found my calling. The challenge ended in September and it is now October. I launched the pre-order for the affirmation deck that I created during the summer and now sit here looking back in awe. Did I really just do that?
It was so hard to get started. It was hard to stick with it, it was hard to put myself out there. I remember when I first started doing Instagram Reels to share my art and the challenge, I was so sheepish and low energy. Now, after practicing for almost a year, I feel like I really have a handle on it. I remember the panic during my first Zoom 100 Day Check-in not knowing how to do a break-out room and worrying how I would know what to say while being on the spot like that, but I got through it and the next time I was better. I remember trying to so hard to figuring out how to format the box for my affirmation deck in Adobe Illustrator according to the template the printer gave me, but forging ahead and doing it anyway. I remember messing up the CMYK values for my cards and the printer rejecting my files, but I asked for help from my community and so many answered my call! It was a real struggle, but yet a true triumph to get through this year.
Thank you old self
Thank you old-self for acknowledging that you were unhappy -that you needed a change and you needed support from those who loved you. Thank you for speaking up and asking for what you wanted even if you didn't know exactly what that looked like. Thank you for being brave and following your curiosity versus attaching yourself to an end result. Thank you for trying new things even though it was scary and you risked looking like a fool. Thank you for persisting and putting yourself first while delicately balancing your family's needs and letting what could be let go - go. old self, you were a true warrior this year. I'm a different person now in October 2021 than I was in October 2020, because of you. I'm putting all of your old things done to rest with you as I say good bye and send you off for your peaceful sleep. I treasure our time together however painful and I love you, always.
Take a moment to thank your old self for the journey it has taken this year. All the best to you as you continue the work that is changing your life.