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Being Present for the Whole Beautiful Catastrophe

By Julie Ann Cairns | Abundance

Nov 25

Sometimes I sit down to write my blog and I honestly don’t know what I’m going to say. And yet, I take a deep breath, and I tune in, and something comes to me.

I’m not sure that’s what’s happening today. There’s no fountain of inspiration that I’m drinking from. I have no platitudes to spout about Thanksgiving or Christmas or any kind of holiday spirit.

If anything, I feel like pointing out that those blankets had smallpox.

This is where I’m at right now: I’m feeling low. It’ll pass. I know it will. And it’s shown up right on cue, just in time for the holidays.

It’s not a time of year that I have happy associations about. My parents drank a lot, and during the holidays it seemed to ramp up. That was generally a one-way ticket to crazy drunken drama town.

All that is over now. I’m safe.

(I don’t drink often, and even less during the holidays.)

I’ve had therapy. But you know, PTSD is a funny thing. It’s not like it really goes away when all the triggers are still there: the music, the decorations, the expectations, the “not sure I want to go to this” invitations. Triggers are triggers. And mine dance to incessant, annoying Christmas music. Even though I know I’m safe, my nervous system hasn’t quite got the memo yet.

Hence, my writings during the holidays tend to be more about how to survive them. Like this old post on 5 Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On These Holidays

It doesn’t seem to help me to fight what comes up for me during the holidays. Or deny it. So I just recognise it, and know it will pass… sometime after the Boxing Day sales.

In the meantime, I rest and I take good care of myself. I don’t expect myself to be riding on a high at this time of year. “I empty my cup into the crucible of sorrow, and breathe in the fumes of knowing.” That’s a line from a poem I wrote once.

There’s a tenderness in the dark well, in the crucible of sorrow. There’s a wisdom. An empathy. It’s not to be feared, or run from. It’s a great teacher. And I’m grateful for the lessons. I try not to wallow or slip into depression – so daily positive hypnosis meditations and getting outside for a bit each day is good. It’s a balance of allowing and processing, without fighting, but also not giving up or feeling helpless. Because it will pass.

It occurs to me that the symbol we use for the heart is two symmetrical curves bowing in opposite directions, and meeting in the middle. Why is that the symbol we use for the heart, and for love? Is it because a fullness of heart holds everything – both sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, in equal measure?

Recently I was co-facilitating a mastermind session on financial freedom and abundance with my good friends Jeff Walker and Ann Wilson. Someone started to ask “but if the purpose of financial freedom is so you can be happy…” and Ann jumped in right away to nip that idea in the bud.

“I don’t think that’s the purpose of financial freedom” said Ann. “No, no… Financial freedom doesn’t mean you’ll always be happy. It means, however, that you can be present. For all of it. For those you love. For what’s really happening in the moment. For the good, for the bad, for the joy and the sorrow and everything in between. When you have financial freedom, you can really BE THERE for all of it. You have the freedom to be truly present. And that’s a precious gift.”

As she said that, I heard myself exclaim “Whoa.” Because that was profound, wasn’t it? It clarified something. Abundance is, for me, not about collecting stuff. It’s about having the freedom to be more present in my life. For all of it. For the whole “beautiful catastrophe.”

What does abundance represent for you?

As always, scroll down and let me know in the comments if this post has helped you in any way.

To YOUR Abundance,

Julie Ann Cairns

Julie Ann Cairns

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