Are you stuck in a rut like me?
I'm just gonna say, right from the get-go, what I'm going to say, probably won't be of any use to you.
It’s Tardy Tuesday already - an official day in my brain.
And I’m writing from deep Inner Winter.
I have my period. Day 3.
I’m travelling to be with family today - we recently lost someone - someone who’s been in my life since forever and I can’t imagine what its going to be like, to be in his home, without his booming voice, his giant bear hugs, his deep kindness, and his completely in appropriate comments that sometimes made me so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do or say.
I almost missed my flight.
I was so busy putting on a slowcooker dinner, making lunches and checking the kids were settled and writing them love notes, I left the house a whole half hour later than I had intended.
I haven’t driven as aggressively as I did today, since I was 16 - you know when you’re young and think you own the road, and can drive as fast as you like.
I asked myself as I waited in roadworks only 5 minutes into my drive - do you really want to spend the next couple of hours in a state of flight or fight…..? Turns out I did want to spend my time like that, because that’s exactly what I did. Can't argue with reality.
I rang my husband in my anxious state - another law-breaking incident to add to my list - to ask him to electronically check in for me, you know so the plane would wait for me. Turns out it doesn’t work that way. Fuck it.
As he was trying to do the check in, I started telling him how angry I was at myself.
WTF was wrong with me?
How come I can’t get a simple thing like - leaving for the airport on time - right?
Why am I always late?
What do I always think I have more time than I do?
I can’t even get to bed at the time I want to most nights.
Fuck, I'm Fucked.
I was furious with myself - I decided to have a mental breakdown at the airport if I didn’t make my flight.
Im not even joking. I began to imagine it.
Missing my flight would prove what a fucking failure I am. At my whole life.
I'm in Inner Winter and it's hard.
So to distract myself from my pain, and the annoying voice yelling at me in my head, I listened to a podcast while I drove. I listened to Wild Ideas Worth Living and randomly pushed at the buttons waiting for something to start playing. What I got was “How to be a badass at making money and go after what you want”.
Of course I did.
My main thought while I was driving (aside from what failure I am), was Faaaaaark if I miss this flight, I’ll have to book another one, I can’t afford to do that - I can’t afford to miss this flight!!!!!!!!
Also I had been listening to a couple of 20-something women talk the other day about how working out / drinking green smoothies / blogging + living alone, made them feel “you know, like, a total badass”.
I wanted to vomit, or punch something. Gosh I must be getting old.
The word “badass” is seriously overused. Like seriously.
Yes I’m snippy. I’ve got my period.
But despite the badass title - I listened in, because I love and trust the host of the show, her guests are always incredible people.
And she said a couple of things that got my attention.
…….Now, remember I’m in actual winter, and Inner Winter, I’m also travelling because a dear one, a larger than life one, a one I can’t imagine life without him in it (oddly - because I don’t see him that often these days), has left us. This is the time of death and birth.
Here’s what she said:
“What’s one thing that really scares you - and would dramatically change your life to do it?”
Well first of all, the only, and most interesting thing I could think of was - Quit Dairy.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I got mad at myself again. In this whole world - this whole universe - the hardest thing I can think of, that’ll make the most dramatic change in my life, is to fucking quit dairy products?!
I’m a Life Coach for goodness sake - surely I can be more interesting than quit dairy?
I hit roadworks again. You know, while I was driving in my car - but now that I read it back, a good metaphor too.
Inner Winter is like roadworks. Things go slooooooow. Even when you really want them to hurry up, you just want to get past the roadworks, past the shitty stuff, so you can get where you're going, you know, the real destination, but you HAVE TO go slow - there's no-other-option. You have to tear things apart, reconstruct, and build a new and much better track.
Despite this, I changed lanes about 150 times, trying to pick the fastest one. Trying to avoid the crap. I’d lost all my driving manners, I was beyond caring what other people thought of me.
GPS was on - I couldn’t miss the turn off.
I turned towards the airport, and just when it was in my sights - a tiny vehicle carrying a luggage trolly pulled out going about 20km/ph - I overtook about 6 cars and that luggage trolly, now unsure where exactly the airport was.
Don't worry - I bloody well found it.
Parked as soon as I could and ran in, found a man in uniform, checked in, and then ran to my car, as fast as I could in cowboy boots - I had to find the long stay car park, and then get back to the airport for my flight, which was boarding in 10 minutes
Turns out the car park is miles, miles, from the airport.
I park the car, and start running with my bags - of course it’s pouring with rain.
I see someone pull out in their car, and I (honestly I did this), I opened their car door as they stopped at a give-way sign, waving my arms and wildly asking them to take me to the domestic airport……they can’t, they say.
Where’s all my good Karma?
It’s like I’m in a bad dream, and my legs are so heavy with fear I can’t run.
I see a taxi - actually about 100 of them. I ask the driver to take me to the airport - Lucky I did this, because as it turns out I had been running in the wrong direction. He drove me about 1km and charged me $10 - all I could say was “Thank-you”. I wasn’t sure if I was getting ripped off - or if I even cared.
I could hardly breath by the time I got to the gate.
But here I am, sitting on the plane writing this.
I thought I’d be happy. Elated. Thrilled. Ecstatic. But I wasn’t.
There was still this voice in my head looking smarmy.
So I sat down. I breathed. I had the seat I had imagined in my mind, I was on the flight I had just driven like a madwoman to get to - you’d think that would make me happy……I started to read the inflight magazine. Earrings $109. Handwoven bag $340. Lampshade $412. Are you serious? Badly written travel piece. Images of some far off Island with “untouched” waters and lands……..Now I’m seriously pissed. Why are they continuing to show us images of gorgeous creatures and promoting the idea of “untouched paradise” when we all know the truth; The earth is in serious trouble - no place on this planet hasn’t felt the effect of us wanting more earrings and bags.
And I gotta say, going on holiday won’t help.
There’s nowhere you can go.
The devastation lives in us - it’s that voice in my head telling me I’m a failure and I need to quit dairy products.
The plane’s taking off.
I adore that feeling of take off - when you leave the ground and you’re in the air.
Since January I’ve been hounded by the inkling, that perhaps, I should become Helicopter pilot. You know, because I’m so good at physics and mechanics.
The man who has recently left our lives was a helicopter pilot. He was the most amazing man - He was the kind of guy who had stories that belonged in a book….....Stories like snakes coming out from under a seat, just as he was taking off. Rescuing men in the middle of the night off sinking fishing boats with a rope and a net, and being used as target practice was something that had happened more than once. His voice boomed. He laughed loudly and had no qualms about being who he was no matter where he was or who he was with. His light and heart filled up the room.
Am I living?
Will I have stories to tell? Adventures to remember? A life packed out with experiences that make my heart beat fast?
Or am I only thinking of Dairy Products?
What would be fun? What would be interesting? What do I really want to do?
My dad's a pilot, so I know a little bit about aircraft, I grew up sitting in cockpits, watching airshows, and being my dad's sidekick as he worked........but the smell of avgas makes me sick , the leather seats don't help, and if it’s anything less than perfect conditions - I'm reaching for the vomit bag.
Clearly I can't be a pilot.
“What’s something that scares you, that would make a dramatic difference in your life?”
And I think of all the things that scare me, and I realise I’m afraid of not having control.
As if I ever have control.
Why am I trying so desperately to control everything? What am I afraid of?
What could be possible if I wasn't scared?
The stupid part is - the harder I try to control things - the more tightly I hold on, the harder and worse everything is.
The more I avoid doing things that aren’t in my control, the scary stuff - the less fun I have, and the more feelings of failure start to creep in.
I wondered if he was ever scared?
Apparently it comes down to knowing your strengths and limits.
It comes down to self trust.
What am I going to do with my life, this one wild, and precious life?
What challenges me? What do I want to be really, really, really, good at?
What do I just want to try? What would be thrilling and terrifying? What leap of faith am I being asked to take?
But it's winter. So I'm going slow. Going to ground. Letting a new path move it's way through me.
There is nothing to do but be here.
When I'm here in my own winter, I can hear more acutely and I can see more clearly, all the things that are keeping me stuck in my particular rut. These ruts suck, they're painful and frustrating, but when I stop trying to claw my way out, and sit still, listening quietly - then I have a chance of seeing how I got there, and why I'm there.
Like I said - this is probably no use to you.
But if you're in a rut, in your Inner Winter menstrual season, or just having your own personal winter, don't rush it. You're supposed to spend some time here.
Write it down - you'll be surprised at the insights you get.
The painfulness is part of something you need. It's showing you how to move forward in a different way.
What keeps coming up for you?
Let me know in your comments.