Have you ever had a dream that didn’t work out? We all have, I know. Maybe it’s the big job offer or promotion, the marriage that ended, the fantasy trip you wanted to take, the financial success you hoped for, maybe it’s ________. You fill in the blank. I used to think it was that very moment when you found out your dream would not come true that was hard. You know, that anxiety ridden moment when you didn’t know what you would do next, or the following few moments when you were so embarrassed or ashamed that you had even dared to try. That really present moment when the reality of not getting that thing you wanted sooo much becomes fact. It’s not coming.

The things we say to one another at those times usually leave me empty. It will all work out, you’ll know better next time, you are better off without this, it wasn’t you – it was him / her / them, their loss, you will find a way to make it through this – you have done harder things.

I have been blessed to learn some pretty good coping skills and I’ve learned how to move through those big moments. I breathe deeply, go to that still place inside myself, where I know I am enough, and allow myself to grieve in whatever way feels right. I pull out down comforters, chocolate, lean on my support system, spend time in nature and let life get soft. I know what to do then. But what often gets to be so hard after we have absorbed the reality, the place where I, and many others, find it so difficult, is in the regrouping. I don’t want to find a new dream, plan, strategy, outcome. I want what isn’t coming. I’m invested in a dream that is not going to materialize. Right?

This is the process of regrouping. This is a very humbling place where we remember the importance of courage and being brave, about letting go of the need to get it right or perfect, about stretching those coping skills into bigger skills, about allowing what isn’t coming to not come and creating a space for what is about to be; learning how to expand our hearts to be open enough for the sadness AND the process of healing, and maybe even some excitement over what could be right around the corner. This is the exercise of expanding rather than contracting. It’s often instinctual to contract around pain but this simply makes our life only full of pain. Rather, opening and expanding allows us to have room for all that can be woven into our story. It makes room for the complicated and the messy and will help you grow.

Maybe this is easy for you, it seems to be for some. It isn’t for me. This process requires me to stop and learn more every time the life lessons show up. I will always be learning. And, that’s so okay. This isn’t a skill anyone ever masters. Some life lessons come wrapped up with pretty bows. Some don’t. Some life lessons are hard, they bring tears and bitter disappointment. When the regrouping is hard, when it feels overwhelming, go easy on yourself. Let it be what it is and focus on being open to the beauty that will show up. Do what you can as you can and let that be enough. We aren’t required to get this perfect. Learn what is to be learned, grieve what is to be grieved, expand rather than contract, make space for the complicated.

You are courageous,

Rosemary

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