I’ve been saying this for years: When you expand, you contract. When you open, you’re going to close. This is what I teach, this is what I know in my bones.
But last week after returning from an epic trip to Burning Man, I found myself in a familiar place: the crash after an epic experience.
Did I welcome the crash? Barely. Did I trust that this crash was part of the process? That going down was just as important as going up? Nope. My defended mind told me this: “Why did you go to Burning Man again? That wasn’t worth it. You didn’t have any fun. That experience wasn’t real. It’s time for you to move on and become a grown up.”
Notice how kind my super ego is to me 🙂
Why am I letting you in on this experience? Because it’s real, and what I stand for more than anything is vulnerable truth telling. You might have noticed that I didn’t send you an email last week. That’s because the lengthy email I did write you (which will be saved for another time) was inauthentic. Writing that email was an act of avoidance, denying what I was truly feeling in the moment because I didn’t want my community to see how weak and human I was.
What happened? I couldn’t bring my truth seeking, annoyingly honest conscience to press send.
So here it is. The ugly, naked truth. I was a mess last week! Because I got SO intimate with the mess, I want to tell you in real-time what I did in the crash so I could eventually feel like myself.
1. After a ton of resistance, I finally said YES to the crash. I said, “Hey you, crash that feels like sh*t, I love you, let’s do this right, hand it hand. I’ll get the Grey’s Anatomy loaded up on Netflix, and we’ll take this crash for a binge of TV without any guilt. What should we wear? Fuzzy socks and PJs? Fleece Blanket wrapped around us? Great. I’ll light us some candles and together we’ll tune out the world.” That. Was. Awesome. Because I gave into the binge without any guilt, I now feel fully satisfied and ready to take on the world.
2. On Saturday I got my first hair cut in six months, and even got some highlights! It was time for a shift, and hair certainly carries energy from the past. I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and walked out super happy with a semi new ‘do.
3. I saw my therapist/coach in person. I didn’t hide any of my feelings and just laid it all out there. After being heard, understood, and supported, I felt like a new person at the end of that hour.
4. Hung out with my amazing friends and held their 2 month old baby for two hours. Babies are the best medicine, EVER. Getting out of isolation was the ticket here. Sillyness and babylove was just what I needed. I also made sure to tell them the truth about how I was doing last week. My shame couldn’t survive when I gave it a voice.
5. Yoga. As soon as I sat on my mat last week I felt a sense of relief. I had a ton of resistance on the way to the class, it was hard to even put on my shoes to get out the door, but the feeling of returning to my precious body and giving it the stretching and resourcing that it needed helped me return to the present moment.
6. Got grounded in the truth. My ego judged my experience, telling me that I made a mistake in going to Burning Man, that I can’t handle crazy fun trips anymore, and that I deserve to be punished for taking that kind of time off from work. The truth? I had an awesome time at Burning Man, and I needed a little extra time to integrate my experience when I got home. I went down, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Our judgments cause the suffering. The truth sets us free. Instead of making myself wrong, I accepted where I was at!
7. Awareness. As soon as it hit me that I was in a “contraction” post epic experience, I had a big laugh. I always teach about these “down” states at our workshops and retreats, and I seemed to forget that I could experience these downs as well. My awareness around this state helped me arrive in the present moment without the worry and self loathing. With enough presence, acceptance, and awareness, my crash had the safe space to transform.
8. I went home to my parents’ house and got some precious family time in. I enjoyed time in nature, ate super well, and received love from my makers (including their furry pets!). We had some great conversations and I left their presence on Sunday ready to get my week started from a more grounded space.
There it is. The beauty in the mess.
When we accept where we’re at with love, compassion, and devotion, we realize that life is really just a practice of opening and closing.
What we choose to believe about ourselves in the close is what matters. Who we are in the transition between expansion and contraction is the miracle.
Enjoy the ride, sister. When you go down, just put your arms up and say, “Yes!”
Thanks for reading my truth, sister! I appreciate it. I hope it gives you permission to speak your own truth as well.
P.S. Stay tuned for a really cheesy story about a dance routine my friends I put together at Burning Man. Let’s just say I found my purpose, and it involves a Mop. Yes. A mop.