Before I begin, I would like to say Happy Pride Month to all of the LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving readers/listeners in the 30+ countries my blog/podcast has reached thus far! I am deeply grateful and appreciate you for letting me encourage and amuse you with my reflections during my healing journey.
Now that we are filled with so much gratitude, let’s dive into the reflections for this week:
ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS
The past two weeks have been filled with lessons on Endings and Beginnings. So much so that one of the videos that is now in heavy rotation with my colleagues and clients is one entitled A Meditation on Endings. Check it out if you are in the midst of a transition of any kind.
Whether we are talking about endings/beginnings related to a job/project, health or relationships; endings and beginnings require our attention. However with the constant distractions, we may not give the proper time to acknowledge, celebrate, or mourn situations that end, begin or that we expect to happen but do not (Nancy Schlossberg calls this a “nonevent”). Examples of a nonevent are the job offers we expect, but do not occur; the child that was expected to be born, but is not; or waiting to be asked out on a date, but they ask Marcia instead (Brady Bunch reference).
What I am also reflecting on is the very human response to harden from these experiences. We can become guarded, if you will: Protecting our mind, heart and resources.
Can you relate?
Yes! The situation ended! Whether it was an unhealthy relationship, moving from one state to another, or the end of cancer treatment. However, there is always a tiny voice in our heads that asks:
What if this move was a bad idea?
What if this relationship is like the one before it or worse?
What if the cancer returns?
I don’t know about you, but even as I give praise for all of the blessings I have experienced, there’s a part of me that says, “I don’t care what happens, I am not going through THAT again!”
And it is in those moments when I begin my job as a bricklayer and begin building walls around my heart, my health, my family and my business.
Whether we are talking about endings/beginnings related to a job/project, health or relationships; endings and beginnings require our attention. However with the constant distractions, we may not give the proper time to acknowledge, celebrate, or mourn situations that end, begin or that we expect to happen but do not.
Taking refuge behind walls has become commonplace during this pandemic. Clearly, there are times when it is wise to have healthy boundaries (BTW, I am still giving folks air hugs…stay away from me!). In addition to healthy boundaries that could be developed, sometimes our hearts harden a bit and we lose our ability to be gentle with ourselves and others. I would like to share a recent experience of my (re)learning to connect to my gentleness for your consideration:
TRY A LITTLE GENTLENESS
During our family therapy session, my daughter and I re-learned how important gentleness is to us in our ability to end difficult conversations and begin to transition to a point of psychological safety. After a difficult conversation, our therapist gave me a small tube of lotion and asked me to lotion my daughter’s hands.
Sounds easy enough right?
So I, being a Black mother who has navigated personal and historical trauma; having been raised by a Black mother who navigated personal and historical trauma (and so on), went about my task. I proceeded to apply the lotion to my daughter’s hands with such vigor and purpose that the top two layers of her skin were likely being rubbed off. Our therapist, seeing me go into exfoliating mode, said one word to redirect me: “Gently.”
At that moment I thought “What? This is how I’ve always…ohhh. Got it.”
My daughter of course looked at me in that moment to telepathically communicate “See, this is EXACTLY why we need to be here!”
My eyes softened and so did my grasp. I focused on rubbing my daughter’s hands gently and communicating, without words, that everything was ok. The hard part was over and healing begins with acts of gentleness.
I am sharing this experience with you because we live in a world that is constantly training us away from our gentleness. Think about the last time you heard one of these (or similar) sayings:
- “You need to develop a thicker skin!”
- “You have to be ruthless in this field/role!”
- “We go for the jugular in this family! You better get used to it if you want to be successful in life!”
- “Mama said knock you out!”
Ok, so the reference to LL Cool J’s 1990 album was a bit much, but you get the point.
As you reflect on the previous messages, how many times have you been told to be gentle with yourself or with others? Have you ever been told to be gentle in relation to ending/beginning experiences in your life?
Whether you are a graduate who is transitioning from one learning environment to another; someone with a new work opportunity (even if you are newly “liberated” to explore other endeavors); or a shift in a relationship with a family member or intimate partner, how might you be able to add gentleness to your ways of engaging in the world?
No matter what we have heard or what we have experienced, let’s not let anyone or anything rob us of our ability to be humane to one another. AND, even if we have hardened our hearts or ways of engaging with others in order to navigate our circumstances, we can find our way back to being intentionally gentle to those who matter to us while creating rest for our souls.
I thank God for your healing, thriving, loving and liberation! Looking forward to continuing on this journey with you!