“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them- that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu.
The beginning of the school year, the unofficial end of summer, the beginning of a new routine, the end of others. For many families I work with and with whom I am connected personally, the beginning of September inspires so many feelings that we often do not acknowledge or allow ourselves the space to feel. This week is exciting for some, dreaded by others, avoided, or just pushed through by many. This week I have seen parents take their babies to school and say goodbye and try not to cry in the car. I see you. I see your struggle and I feel your struggle too. You may have watched everyone post online their family “1st Day of School Pictures” and for some of you this is sad. Some of you have tried to have children or have lost a child and this week with everyone focusing on their children, you may feel a flood of emotions and no idea what to do with them. I see you. You may be a parent who drove your child to college and feel a sense of loss that seems indescribable. I see you. Maybe you are a parent of a senior and this is your last first day and you know what this year holds, or think you do, and it’s overwhelming. I see you.
If you are tuned into the state of our country’s decision making around immigrant children, you may be asking yourself what this will mean for these children for years to come and what this will mean for us as a country and a community. Some of you may feel real and true fear that something bad will happen to your children as they attend school this year. Maybe your child is just starting middle school or high school and you wonder “how the hell will they navigate everything?”, “should I buy the bullet proof binders?”, or “will they make friends or be accepted” I see you. Fear of what could happen, anxiety about what will happen again, unrelenting cycles of worry keep many people trapped in a place where feelings are too overwhelming to feel. We must acknowledge all of these complex and messy experiences and really feel with honesty and bravery.
Susan David’s amazing TED Talk: The gift and power of emotional courage explains that In a survey conducted of 70,000 people, she found that one third of people either judge themselves for having so-called “bad emotions,” like sadness, anger or even grief. Or actively try to push aside these feelings. She states that “normal, natural emotions are now seen as good or bad. And being positive has become a new form of moral correctness.” We must begin to look at the world and experience the world as it is vs. how we wish it would be. We must allow ourselves the gift of acknowledging I do not have it all together, I dislike change and wish to avoid it AND I cannot. Brene Brown stated that “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness”. If this week, this world, the times we live, and/or the pending stress of another school year has hit you aside the head and knocked you down and you don’t know where to go next: Acknowledge it. Sit with it and do not avoid it and pretend it’s not there. Stand in your truth, life is messy, emotions are inconvenient and necessary, and the only way truly out is through!
“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.” – Brene Brown