I’ve noticed a funny pattern. Being on vacation opens me up emotionally. I can sit, doing nothing. And then the tears will come. Deep tears. They aren’t sad though. It’s simply that my body and soul finally have a moment to express themselves. Gone is the routine. Eyes open. Phone on. Teeth brushed. Rush. Rush. Rush. Kids to school. Then to work. Work. Work. Work. Rush home. Kids to bed. Eat dinner. Talk to husband. Watch TV. Sleep. Repeat. No room for feelings, no time.
So I’m on vacation. I’m sitting on a beach. Listening to music and reading a book by a neurosurgeon about his own mortality. And I cry. I cry and it feels good. Because it feels good to feel.
What happens to the feelings I ignore on a daily basis? What impact do they have on me? A year ago I got my answer. In my case they turned into a nodule (lump) on my thyroid. And it isn’t small. And it is still there. A daily reminder that when I forget to feel, there are consequences.
I’m lucky. In my case this three-centimeter companion I have isn’t cancer. But it isn’t going away, and so here I am. Sitting on a beach, writing about my feelings, trying to enjoy my vacation.
Thankfully a lot can change in a year. I now write about my feelings on a daily basis. I read and share the feelings of my tribe. Together we are feeling our way to a fuller happier more whole existence.
Which leads me to why I’m writing this post and posting it today. Valentine’s Day is one that for many of us simply reflects back our loneliness. Whether we are in relationships or alone, it’s a day that boasts the kind of hyper love that always feels out of reach and only destined for others.
I’m here to let you in on a secret: when you feel your feelings, and honor them, that love is within reach. Your own reach. Because it is something you can give yourself each and every day. This is what it means to love yourself. To choose yourself. To honor yourself on a daily basis.
For me, self care is my gateway to self love. How I commit my time and energy is in a direct relationship with how I feel about my life and myself. For example, the vacation I’m on as I write this.
I’m on the beach. I’m watching the shore. I feel words that need to be said and I’m expressing them. In this case, to you. And this is how I heal the literal lump in my throat, the one that turned my world upside down for a few days while we waited for the biopsy results.
I take this vacation without guilt. My work can wait. My kids are in good hands. My routine will be there waiting for me, whether I worry about it or not. The thing that will be different when I go home is me. Because I will have felt the feelings that needed to be felt. I will still have some sand on my skin. I will have the songs in my ears and the wind on my back. I will have enough to remind me of my ME, my unburdened most beautiful and most authentic self.
I spoke to my mom today to ask how my daughters are since she’s taking care of them while I’m away for the weekend. She told me about how they used flowers pots to create a nook in the backyard where they can read books. She said, “It was completely their idea!” and of course it was. Because they are four. And they are still their untarnished, purest versions. They are full of good ideas and confidence and light and feelings they are feeling in real time.
My job is not to crush them. To help them preserve their ME, to nurture their ideas, to witness their feelings and create space for them to dance with them. To teach them that self love is sacred, and self care is survival. To show them they are born whole and all the love they need is within their own hands. To model for them what it means for a woman to choose herself, each and every day.
So happy Valentine’s Day. From me to me, and I hope from you to you. This year I hope we all choose ourselves and feel all the love we need.