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
Good Morning Sarah,
Is it just me, or is this creative self discovery stuff like a game of Jenga? I swear the more pieces of the story I remove, the less stable things become. I feel as if the blocks I have built my life on are teetering and on the verge of falling down. And as unsettling as that may sound, I am surprisingly okay with it.
This past month has been another big one as I uncovered yet another bit of my shifting foundation – how I cope in a crisis. My husband’s health had a lot to do with this latest piece. After seeing a doctor for some ongoing pain, an xray revealed he had a broken shoulder bone. What?! He hadn’t done anything to break a bone and as he worked on getting an MRI scheduled, I began my descent into the darkness (AKA: I googled it).
OF COURSE according to the internet, there are only 3 reasons one would come up with a broken bone out of the blue and one of those was….cancer. So yeah, I went dark, I began to worry and spend lots of energy on the what ifs of it all. I even made the mistake of reengaging in some of my old ways of dealing with this kind of thing – something I hadn’t done in YEARS. However, once I caught myself I was able to stabilize my thoughts, breathe and notice. AH. Yes. There it was, the way I cope with almost everything – worry.
Thankfully, over the next couple of days I was able to give myself some space around the worry (art making, good music, going for walks and writing) and some time to get curious.
Here’s what I found: At a VERY young age I began to use worry as a form of protection. My protection plan is simple – when I worry, I am in my head and I don’t have to feel the feelings. It’s a distraction from feeling vulnerable as well as allowing me to feel prepared in any situation. Because, yeah, I come up with plans. Plans on how to cope with ANY scenario.
The morning we were to receive the MRI results, I was relaxed and able to just sit with my thoughts and be still. I began listing the possible outcomes in my head, meeting each one with a calm certainty that I would be okay, no matter what. As I finished up the last scenario, I took a deep breath and felt calm and clear. This is when I heard my voice, only stronger and certain saying, “Try this one on for size. There is no broken bone.”
My entire body lit up. YES! I hadn’t thought of that one and I like it. I sat with that scenario for awhile and felt really good. Then, my brain kicked in and told me all the reasons that wasn’t possible – xrays don’t lie.
Except it was possible. MRI results? NO BROKEN BONE. HA!
I learned so much this month. I learned that I worry to feel prepared and protected and that I don’t have to go so dark so quickly, but if I do, I can meet it differently – with spaciousness and compassion. I also got to meet a deeper, stronger, less covered over version of myself who already knew what was going on (she was awesome). AND I learned how it feels in my body to receive the truth from within.
This work that we are doing is incredible. The more I do this, the more I love myself – worry warts and all.
Love and Thanks,