Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the amount of decisions you have to make? Have you ever thought, if I have to make one more decision I might completely shut down? I've been there too. That place where even the simplest decisions, like deciding what to eat for dinner becomes challenging. During a recent conversation, a friend asked me if I'd consider using the word "and" instead of "but" in my speech. With the switch of a word, I felt liberated.
One of the many blessings I received after having Adeline was seeing the world from a new perspective, which I wrote about in my A New Perspective section of our story. My world now includes infinite possibilities. I have more choices. I don't have to follow a specific path or roadmap; I get to create my own.
Sounds great, right?
It is and I'm grateful for an open heart and mind, yet I'm also realizing the ramifications of unlimited choices. Having a multitude of choices does not necessarily make for a happier person. In fact, it makes for a very confused and conflicted human. Which path should I take? How should I feel? What should I choose to do next? Some of the opposing forces include:
- The conflict between being a genuinely happy person and yet embracing grief. At my core, I am a happy and optimistic person. I struggled the months after Adeline's death because it felt strange, almost wrong, to continue to be a happy person. I'd constantly be asking myself, "Is it was ok to be happy? Can I still be happy person even if I lost a daughter?"
- The desire to want to "move forward" and yet the need to stay with the grief. Sitting with my grief felt like sitting with Adeline. The only way I could find her was to be with my grief, so I didn't want to move out of it or to move past it. She was in the grief.
- The uncertainty of how to speak about Adeline with others. How do I find balance between wanting to acknowledge Adeline's existence and being comfortable with taking in whatever reaction I might receive from others?
As I began to see all the possibilities/choices, I became overwhelmed and felt as if I was playing tug-a-war with my heart. I felt like I had to choose to be one way or another.
Why should I have to choose?
Why can't it be “AND” instead of one or the other? Can I be a happy person AND live with grief? Can I move forward AND stay with the grief? Can I speak about Adeline AND be comfortable with the fact that some people will be uncomfortable?
Allowing for and the acceptance of the joining of forces has created more space in my life. Possibilities can live in my head and heart simultaneously. I live with all the possibilities and allow the right ones to find me at the right time, in a more organic way. This simple shift helped ease my anxiety around feeling conflicted and allows for a more natural flow of choice instead of feeling like I'm backed up against a corner. I feel like I'm in an open field and I am free to roam in whichever direction my heart leads.
How you create more space in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
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