Today I shared a green juice with one of the leap takers featured in The Leap Stories series. Within five minutes of starting our catchup, she was in tears. Because she’s walking away from a business she leapt to create with her energy, creativity, money and love, to take another leap and relocate overseas for a sabbatical with her family.
Her leap away from the very thing she created, to honour slowing down and appreciating this season of raising a young family with her husband, doesn’t come without grief. The kind of grief that knows you have to let go of what was, to create a new is.
It can be painful to pivot. It’s scary to undo what you’ve fought so hard to construct. To realise that what we create isn’t necessarily permanent. And to wonder if we can do it all over again if we so choose.
The conversation centred around the struggle between how to maybe keep part of what she had created ticking along and managing it remotely from the other side of the world… because she could (she’s a smart cookie), AND needing to unplug from her current life. Each time I asked her why her and husband wanted this sabbatical the tears returned. The head was saying ‘you’d be crazy to walk away from all of this.’ The heart was saying ‘you need to walk away from all of this… at least for now, for a while.’ The ego was wrestling the soul.
Grief doesn’t just show up when some-ONE dies. Grief is part of being an evolving human, and can show up when ideas, expectations, dreams, relationships, hopes and the approval of others dies. In Rising Strong, Brené Brown identifies three types of grief:
- Loss: losses within us that reach beyond awareness, as if we’re missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone;
- Longing: an involuntary yearning for wholeness, for understanding, for meaning, and for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we’ve lost;
- Feeling Lost: having to reorient ourselves to every part of our physical, emotional, and social worlds, sometimes even changing how we think of our identity and ourselves.
I think my friend is experiencing ‘feeling lost’ grief. Leaps involve grief, because we need to lose who we once were, to reinvent. We need to let something die, to make way for something new. You don’t get to write a new story by constantly re-reading the last one.
The tears kept resurfacing through out conversation, and she seemed surprised and even a little embarrassed. I felt honoured that she sought me out to talk about what was going on, and then safe enough to let down her shield. I felt privileged to have another human allow her whole heart in our conversation. Tears are never weakness – they’re a signal that something important is happening and needs to be taken notice of. These tears signalled a new level of deep understanding about herself that put to rest previous ambitions and aspirations, to replace them with higher order needs of fulfilment. She is growing.
Grief deserves your attention, and is worthy of your care. When grief is in town, the messy middle we find ourselves in often means it’s just day-by-day life for a while. Naps and rest and meaningful connections help restore a tumbling heart when it’s working hard to make sense of a situation. A green juice with a kindred spirit helps too.
Ironically, just before my friend joined me at the café, I noticed these plants on the wall near where I was sitting. And when my friend arrived, she started telling me that she’s bought many plants into her home recently, and her young sons all wanted one in their room. Some of the café’s plants look young and have space to grow in their pots. Others look like they need a new planter to keep growing, even though they might love where they are right now. They’ve out grown their location. If they stay where they are they’ll become pot bound and stagnant. And that is something that is truly worthy of tears. xx