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Feeling Like Dirt

Dirt The past few months for me have been a sort of hodgepodge of deadlines and projects and weird personal things like realizing that my younger daughter is going to college next year (COLLEGE! My baby!) and that she doesn't need her mother so much anymore. Compounding the situation,we've had lots of rain and cloudy, cool days and my heart is crying out for 85 degrees and sunny so I can sit on my patio and listen to the birds.

I've also had several profound reminders recently that I've been doing what I always do when I start to get overwhelmed, which is is to retreat deep inside myself where I don't have to notice that I'm overwhelmed. I can just slog through things under the premise that I have my act together. Which in many ways I do, but in many more important ways I don't.

The problem with this mode of dealing with things is that I end up feeling really alone and isolated and my feelings of isolation only reinforce the sense that I should stay inside my little hermit cave. I am also less into blogging and commenting and online socializing because of course that means coming out of my cave. And then I miss that sense of community, which further reinforces the cycle. . . well, you can see the problem.

So this morning I have time to breathe a little after weeks of competing deadlines and I come across this post by Havi Brooks who talks about how she's feeling like dirt right now and giving herself permission to do so. And I realize that right now I'm feeling like dirt, but have been trying to talk myself out of that feeling, which honestly only makes things worse. If you're going to feel crappy, at least don't add to it by beating yourself up for feeling crappy.

Why am I writing about this? Because I think a lot of us can get stuck in feeling like dirt and we don't have enough compassion for ourselves to just let those feelings be there for a time.  The combination of feeling this way and trying to make yourself NOT feel this way is a powerful recipe for personal and professional dysfunction. I've seen it in action and it's not pretty.

I also know that for myself as a learner, it's just as important for me to acknowledge and explore the emotional undercurrents that pass through me as it is for me to look at using a new tool or developing a new process. I'm reading Brain Rules right now and I can see so clearly how emotions and stress are as important to learning as anything else, but you have to know where you're at in order to move forward. And if I'm going to blog about learning and development, then I need to also blog about when things are NOT working, which right now, they are definitely not.

So suffice it to say that I'm feeling like dirt, but I'm cool with that, because this too shall pass. Plus dirt can be what makes things grow as long as you give it the chance.

Flickr photo via Teeny!


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Hi Michele,
Well, your "baby" may not be gone for good when she goes to college, and she will still need you. I'm still learning from my mother, but also from my daughter -- who just moved into an apartment in my age 33.


Thanks for this. Plant seedlings in your dirt.

Hey dirt girl. I've got a big virtual dirt moving digger machine over here....when are you going to come play?

Looking out of my office window today I can see blue sky and trees budding, and it feels refreshing!

I think the long winter has taken its toll on all of us, I haven't blogged in recent weeks either, I felt like I had nothing to say. I had to fly home to England unexpectedly last week, after my Grandmother passed (she was 93, god bless her), and with all the preparations for her funeral I literally did NO work for an entire week... and despite the circumstances, it felt GOOD, even as the mud started to slide.

Giving ourselves permission to sit in our crap and process it, is half the battle.

Great Post, As always Michele

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Betsy--agreed that they always need you. The question is do they WANT you around? :-)

Janet--Just looking for those seedlings now. . .

Christine--We definitely need to plan our trip. We just need to look at some dates.

Emma--I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother--so hard!--but I understand your point about enforced time away. Too bad we aren't better at just scheduling it.

Maybe its just the time of year, but this post really hit home with me (my son just came home from college for the summer, work & school projects blah blah blah).

Someone reminded me when my son (also my baby) was leaving for college that he had to push me away, because if he didn't I would never be ready to let him go. If you are getting to that place, you are doing it right! :)

Hi Michelle,

I'm not inside a cave as you are. but I can understand how you are feeling.

I felt like I was becoming a Luddite and losing a lot of interest in technology after being surrounded by fellow plane passengers who could not stop texting/twittering while the pilot was waiting for the mobile phones to be turned off before we took off.

I don't know why that left me feeling so depressed. But I think that we become too obsessed with technology sometimes to notice all the good things happening around us - like the lorikeets tapping against the glass door on the back verandah as they wait for their morning feed of sunflower seeds.

Cheers, Bill Oldham

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