by Cyndi Benner, MA, LPC Trauma therapist at Inspire
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ability to hold loss and gratitude at the same time.
I have noticed the growth in myself to hold seemingly contrary emotions simultaneously. I remember being so rigid and committed to whatever emotion I was in. Even stuck, really. Not knowing that I could have nuances to that emotion or opposite emotions with it. Everyday, I am aware of both feelings of loss and feelings of gratitude.
I miss so many things.
I miss human touch. Whenever I used to walk with my friend we always greeted each other with a hug. Now I just pass her on my walk and although we stop to talk, hugs are impossible at six feet apart. I had a haircut scheduled for the end of March that was postponed. The human touch of skilled hands like a hair stylist, a dentist, a masseuse, or an acupuncturist feel like luxuries I never thought I would miss.
I was listening to a client discuss the sadness she feels about a cancelled vacation. I could relate to her. I cancelled a vacation that I had been looking forward to for many months. Although compared to losing a job or a loved one, it is a much less significant loss, still, it is a loss none-the-less. I am also missing the ability to plan. I hadn’t realized that I plan as much as I do. I plan small things, like my next yoga class or next dinner date and I plan big things like vacations – which I am doubly missing. I have discovered that I like daydreaming about the future.
Now, life is so uncertain that thinking about the future feels like a luxury.
And I am also aware of what I have felt grateful for these past few weeks.
The opportunity to slow down. I am not talking about the absence of responsibilities. The cooking and the cleaning is never ending. I am talking about mindfulness. Because life is so uncertain. Because I am noticing my own fears surfacing. I have been more intentional with being present in each moment.
When we are in our fears we are in the future. When we are in our gratitude we are in the present.
Sometimes it looks like watching and listening to the birds in my yard while I’m throwing the ball for my dog. (And isn’t it wonderful this pandemic is happening in the spring? The flowers are blooming and the birds are having a party!). Sometimes it looks more like making more space in my life to journal or explore creative outlets. (Let the house collect dust!). I haven’t even used a half a tank of gas in the past month and I don’t miss it!
Not every moment is magical, but there is time. Time for my daughters to have long conversations or resolve conflict. Time to learn a new card game and make a new recipe. Time to have a nap or have a burst of energy to organize a neglected area of the house. Time to call an old friend that I know is also sitting at home.
My heart feels full just reflecting on these simple rewards. And yes, I do miss planning or having vacations. But I never knew how rich the simple pleasures of singing birds, or family walks could be. When life gets back to normal, (and it will get back to normal someday) I don’t ever want to miss the simple rewards in my life.
I think I’ll keep choosing slow when the world gets fast again.
Cyndi is “trauma certified” by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA). She brings clinical experience from the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. Cyndi holds a gentle and safe space to heal from traumatic experiences, troublesome childhoods, anxiety or panic. She loves to empower women to find their voice.
She helps women, moms, young adults dealing with trauma, anxiety, panic, women’s issues, parenting, health concerns, and faith. She’s currently offering telemental health services and has openings for a few new clients.
To inquire about scheduling with Cydni, call (847) 919-9096 ext 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org