One of the unique aspects of our online program, The Walkabout, is the ongoing correspondence Sarah Oblinger and Stephanie Gray have with one other as they commit to being real, vulnerable and open using art, movement and words to meet their daily lives as they naturally unfold. Until now, this has been exclusively for Walkabout participants. However, because of the profound shifts they have felt in their own lives while working this program, they’ve decided to publicly share their correspondence here monthly. These letters are for any of you on your own self discovery journey. We hope you will follow along – with a knowing, that you are not alone. And if you are looking for more engagement, we’d love to have you join us in our Facebook group HERE or sign up for your own Walkabout with us HERE.
Good Morning Sarah,
Happy Easter. Happy Spring….and Happy April Fool’s Day!
It’s been a challenging month and I have come to the conclusion that I have been through a big squeeze – an unrelenting pressure brought about by the harder, less enjoyable events of life – that began in February and is just now easing up a bit
Last weekend I had to euthanize my 18 year old soul sister cat, and my 15 year old, best friend dog companion – on the same day. I won’t go into detail, but I will tell you the pain has been intense.
AND I will share that an hour after coming home from the vet, I found myself in the studio, working in a two hour process art session with a dear Walkabout member – a woman I love and trust. I could have cancelled however, after talking with her, decided to continue. I figured some studio time would be good for me to release what I was feeling…and it was, sort of.
The pain I was feeling was so fresh and ridiculously exquisite, that no amount of painting black and staying present seemed to be helping. I cried a bit. I painted. We shared how things were going for us. And I knew it wasn’t enough. I needed to get primal with my grief, alone and for as long as I needed.
I continued to stay present in the studio, with the feelings and the paint, all the while noticing the pain in my body building (I had one of the worst pressure headaches of my entire life). I could function and create and feel sad, cry a bit….but it wasn’t touching what needed to happen. So I just continued to be with the incredible pain and pressure in my body.
When I was able to be alone with my sadness, I collapsed into the waves of disbelief and pain and wailed and screamed and just hung out on the floor with it all for awhile. And as unbelievably difficult as it was to experience….it was a million times better than trying to keep it all together and manage my “grief experience”. When I came up for air I realized how much better I felt in my body. The headache was gone, replaced with fatigue and a numb, gray sadness that flowed throughout. Relief!
I guess I am sharing this with you now to say, wow….how on earth did I live my life stuffing the feelings down in an attempt to manage it all and avoid the pain? No wonder my body and nervous system need some TLC!
What I know now is that it’s much healthier for me to feel the feelings….and I mean really feel them for as long as I need, without telling myself the story of the sadness over and over. Doing this creates room for more experiences and feelings to arrive.
That evening, I found some room for roaring laughter with my husband and then some more tears along with, you guessed it, Netflix, chocolate and a glass of red wine.
This morning, I woke up with prayers of gratitude.The ups and downs of life are just that, life. It’s not all roses and blue skies and that’s okay. I can experience joy in the midst of grief and grief in the midst of joy. It’s about how I choose to meet what comes my way.
THANK YOU Sarah, for helping me to discover another way of meeting my life.