Magic in the Meltdown
If today’s title caught your eye, you are in the right place—Welcome.
When was the last time you had a meltdown? You know, the powerless, ugly-cry, shut the world out because no one seems to understand how hard it is variety?
It felt as though your body was boiling over with frustration so much so that it had to find a release so naturally, the eager emotional wheelhouse got a proverbial hall pass and skipped town on someone else’s dime. It was a bender of a meltdown, remember?
In those moments, all I want to do is fix it, run, or somehow numb it in order to escape the tight and uncomfortable tension I’m feeling. It’s simply too much.
Days later and with time’s firm and steady grip around my limp hand, I realize something magical: there was and always is a clear way out. However, against my resistant heart’s desire, that magic occurs as we willingly walk through the pain, not around it.
I feel this sometimes when I can’t sleep. I’ve been known to struggle with insomnia. Sometimes there’s a reason for it, and sometimes my stubborn body simply won’t shut off.
You know what the most frustrating bit of this dilemma is? It’s not the actual inability to sleep; it’s the belief that I “should” be able to sleep; that I am somehow guaranteed this right without question. The entitlement trap is what gets me every time, leaving me resentful on top of delirious.
What I realize after those seasons of scant shut-eye pass is something pretty basic, yet poignant:
It didn’t kill me.
In fact, it gave me something to learn from, write about, and understand better in order to amp up my arsenal of sleep tools. (PSA: If you have trouble sleeping, let’s totally talk.)
Last week, I shared a very special interview with Miles Adcox, Owner and CEO of Onsite Workshops, a regular guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show, new Dad, among many other cool things. If you missed the episode, definitely go back and check it out, he delivers some brilliant insight in there for us.
I ask every guest the same question: If you could give your 25-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be? (For you millennials out there, let’s say 15.)
What he said was stunningly simple and so applicable to you and me: “It’s okay to not be okay.”
You mean, when I’m mid-meltdown of the century and nothing, I mean, NOTHING, looks as it should, it’s….OKAY?
I’ve sat with those words a lot lately, and they bring me continual peace. In my experience, like with the sleep situation, often it’s not the actual pain of the problem that is most piercing. Instead, it’s the belief that whatever is happening shouldn’t be. That, I believe, is the difference between pain and suffering.
Pain inevitably ebbs and flows throughout this life if we are walking around with anything vaguely resembling a heartbeat. However, suffering is the delicately crafted narrative we create about our pain. “I shouldn’t be feeling this way” or “my past was too much to bear.”
Curiously, life is made up of a 50/50 split of positive and negative feeling emotions.
Lately, I’ve been a student of this highly valuable process called unlearning: unlearning the entitlement stories, the fixing agents, the escape routes, and the harsh judgements that accompany my pain.
We spend so much of our lives trying to fix the flaws we think hold us back in life, and little do we know that the unlearning of these remedies will be the savior who picks us off that fast and broken road.
We must be the un-teacher of these numbing agents as we lean into the discomfort and tension of the moment.
After all, it very likely won’t kill us.
You don’t need fixing; you need to be understood. If we are constantly trying to escape ourselves and our pain, we will never get close enough to understand the root of it and answer its cry. We must gently, and with loads of self-compassion, listen and embrace the voice of our dilemma, whatever it speaks. This is the magical crossroads of our painful experience and total acceptance. Not only that but ironically, this is the surest route to our deepest joy.
Love & Gratitude,