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Practicing what I preach.

10-04-2018

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I’m practicing what I preach. Big time.

What I’m practicing is something you’ve heard me say a million times: “seek and create pinpricks of light.”

I wrote the note to you (below) a week ago, but I realized today that I forgot to hit “go” on posting it. (Sigh)

I felt compelled to still post this for you because it is a message that is so central to what I feel can help us stay connected to ourselves and others, especially when things feel dark.

At any given moment, we all know someone who is lost in the darkness. It might be ourselves. It might be someone we love dearly. It might be a colleague or acquaintance.

A single pinprick of light can change everything.

💥💓💥

{Here’s what wrote to you last week…}

These last few days I’ve been kinda lost in the dark.

The story is too fresh to say much about right now. But the broad stroke if it is that I had a big dream for years and years. And last year I decided to actually do everything I could toward that dream. I worked my butt off. I put months and months of my heart and soul into it this past year. Many my close friends were on that journey with me, helping me and cheering me on.

And you know what? It happened.

The “yes” I’d been working for and imagining arrived on my doorstep late last week.

But you know what else happened? Almost immediately, it became apparent that I have to turn this opportunity down because of an impact it would have on someone I dearly love.

It feels like someone handed me a big beautiful, gaily wrapped gift box and I knew what was inside and couldn’t wait to open it. But then, it was whisked away before I could even unwrap it.

Do you know what I mean? Maybe you’ve had this experience in your own life?

I guess I wanted to write to you right now, while I’m in that raw, sad space of loss. I feel heartsick. I’ve let myself feel all that sadness. (I’ve been crying a lot!) And yet, in the midst of it all I also have been gathering those pinpricks of light and holding them close, letting them do their magic of breaking up the sadness with moments of well-being, joy, and gratitude.

(Just as I was writing that sentence, my friend Linda sent me a text that said, “Grief mixed with gratitude is a tricky one, isn’t it?”)

If you’ve listened to my story of deep depression from nearly thirty years ago, you’ll remember that it felt like an iron wall closing in around me. But just one tiny pinprick of light in that wall changed everything. It was no longer pitch black. I suddenly knew it wasn’t solid, like I had thought. That experience changed everything for me going forward. I’ve felt the shift countless times when it felt like everything was lost in the dark, but then a tiny light appeared.

These last couple days, most of those pinpricks of light have been friends, like Linda, who have held this with me and helped me process it all. I always love and appreciate my friends, but during difficult times it is so easy to see what lifelines they are. I reached out to a lot of people and every one of them showed up with such love and care. One friend called out of the blue. He didn’t even know what was going on, but said he just felt strongly that he needed to connect with me.

Also, my teenage son reached out to me with such kindness and love — and that is a moment I will always remember. That is a pinprick of light that will shine for me as long as I live.

Those pinpricks of light were also my cats. They’ve been curling up close to me at bedtime and offering their comforts. The pinpricks of light were those two doves who hopped across the deck of my studio yesterday morning. And the fat crescent moon last night, glowing brightly.

My beau, Ian, took me to street fair/carnival and we stood for a long time watching children’s gleeful faces on the teacup ride. Sipping coffee from my favorite orange mug. Taking a hot bath with lavender Epson salts. A slice of lime in my water.

The other huge pile of pinpricks of light — can you have a pile of light?— has been my 54-54-54 Kindness Project, which I am in the midst of. (Every year I write as many letters to strangers as how many years I’ve lived.) As you might guess, with every letter I pen to someone who has cancer or whose loved one has passed away or who is lonely beyond belief, puts my own situation into perspective. More importantly, writing those letters plants me in love. Each letter is a doorway to open-heartedness and humanity.

I’m not really sure what else to say about this. I just started writing this morning, without any clear direction. I think I wanted to reach out to you, like I did my friends, because connection is always what fuels me. It makes me feel more human and more alive.

💥💓💥

I think what I most want to say is this: never ever underestimate the power of showing up for someone you love. Every friend who has been helping me through this has offered the biggest, best gift possible: their time, attention, care, and love.

And secondly, never underestimate the power of turning your attention to the light when you are in the dark. It is so hard to do, but it is everything. We don’t have to be afraid of the dark. No matter how impossible it may be to believe it, we can find moments of light. And those moments of light are resting places. They will always lead us home.

💥💓💥

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,
xo Sherry

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