Notes on Courage
Inner work for outer action.
In episode 2, I have two stories to share about how I've befriended my fear and learned to discern real vs perceived threats. In either circumstance, courage is what's needed to make a decision that will expand your life rather than restrict it.
If you would like to have a conversation about the content of today's cast, I invite you to join me over in my private Facebook group: The Resilient Soul Sanctuary. It's a safe space, where you can share your own reflections and start a conversation about how courage shows up in your own life.
Before I leave you to it, I wanted to let you know that CourageCast is now available on iTunes and will soon be on Stitcher too! If you like what you hear, I'd appreciate a review!
I get that being a police officer is hard work - I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that. I also believe that most officers do the best they can with what they have. I think that is true for all of us.
Here's the thing:
You make mistakes, just like the rest of us.
You have implicit bias, just like the rest of us.
You are trying to survive, just like the rest of us.
My first vlog (what a horrible word), is a story from my Soul Camp experience a couple weeks ago! Since I loved the experience SO MUCH, I also wanted to do a quick plug for Soul Camp West, which is happening at the end of October in California. Tickets are still available and if you use the code LINDSAYSOUL you'll get a 20% discount!
I've been wincing a lot lately. Sometimes when I'm laying down, and sometimes while standing up. Other times, the sharp pain that shoots through my back is tied to completely random movements.
Finally, after much procrastination, I went to the chiropractor for the first time in way too long. I told her my "spot" was acting up. This spot in my lower back, just to the right of my spine, that feels like a ball full of sorrow.
Since my back brace came off seven years ago, I've done my best to ignore that spot. It's been this elusive pain that seems inescapable. During this first visit in way too long, the pain was as tricky as ever-- the questions of, does it hurt now? as my body is shifted and contorted, so often answered with no.
How is it that this pain can cause fleeting moments of crippling discomfort and then disappear in the presence of a doctor? They always say they believe me, but sometimes I feel like the girl who cried wolf. So I've spent the last seven years chalking it up to life. Accepting that a certain level of pain is just what life is like now. Penance, perhaps.
This time, when I went to the doctor, they had a new scan machine that showed how my vertebrae were zigzagging down my back. 150% one way, 200% the other--like a pin ball pinging off the sides of the machine. Official diagnosis? Your back is jacked up! (I love my chiropractor for her formal style and unwavering professionalism, it really makes for a much more pleasant experience!)
It's nice to have some validation that the pain is clearly real. I've got this image on my fridge as a reminder that I need to care for my back as much as I care for my heart.
This time my pain feels different. It's alive again, in an excruciating way. There are memories attached with this pain. The physical sensations and the limitations.
I'm pulling out the adaptive moves I learned so long ago. The log roll has been helping me out of bed, and there are some really smooth moves to help with getting dressed in the morning. I'm trying to keep from sitting too much-- which means make shift standing desks and evenings laying on the couch.
I'm trying really hard to care for my spot-- which amounts to some ill placed bones and a sprained muscle (or two).
Since my brace came off, I've spent so much time trying to heal my heart so I could seize the day, that I've neglected a critical element of life--a body that feels good. It's actually a really amazing thing to feel present enough to want a body that can help me live this extraordinary life!
So I'm seizing the pain right now, in order to truly live life to the fullest. Enough with feeling like I'm ninety, at least until I am ninety. (Later than that will do too!)
I'm going to leave you with a post from my old blog. I wrote it as I was transforming my brace into something worth keeping, titled Healing Embrace. Healing is truly a state of embrace--pulling the tough stuff close and giving it all the love you can.
My mom said “get rid of it”. How could I do that? This object represents so much.
Pain. Anger. Tears. Restriction. A bulls eye—a target. Baby steps. "You’re still wearing that?" Security—I am safe in this shell. Healing.
Instead of creating a burden for the earth, with something that will never decompose, I transformed it. It’s still a work in progress—just like I am—but it will tell my story, in ways my words may not.
It's been 7 years since the fall. Since the ground fell out from beneath me and the world changed.
My life changed.
Each year, the anniversary hits in a different way. The first few years were a tidal wave of media requests and interviews. I told my story then because I didn't want people to forget- I was terrified that people would forget. That the day-to-day monotony of life would overshadow the gravity of what happened on Aug. 1. That the lives lost and forever changed wouldn't matter any more- at least until something else fell down.
The story I told then was calm and lifeless. I was a robot, a ghost, a shadow of my former self. During those years, I felt fleeting moments of life, but mostly I felt dead inside. Unable to feel the emotional weight of what happened or grieve the loss of those I never got to meet.
Each year, I thought I was better. Heck, six months after the collapse I thought I was better! The interviews I gave have become markers of time on my healing journey. A journey that included the insistence that I was better- until I finally was.
On the 5th anniversary, in 2012, I finally felt the full weight of the fall. I walked out onto the Stone Arch Bridge until the new, glistening, though apparently already in disrepair, bridge was in sight and began to sob. Anyone who knows me well, knows that public tears and Lindsay have never mixed (this is the girl who sat through Titanic without shedding a tear)- but on the bridge that day, surrounded by strangers, I cried the tears of mourning, grief and loss.
Popular culture would like us to believe that we are "better" when the tears stop falling. I started a new stage of my healing journey when the tears started to fall. Don't get me wrong, I cried many, many ugly cries during those first five years. Tears of anger, frustration, loss, insecurity and loneliness, were a regular part of life. What was different in year 5 was that those tears had dissipated.
There was finally room in my heart and my mind to grieve the wholeness of the day. The new tears helped lift some of the weight of the fall and gave me the wings to fly.
Last year I tried to focus on flying. I wanted to change the story, to focus on life and joy again, rather than sorrow. My organization, courageous heARTS, made it's public debut with a film screening at the Riverview Theater. We invited an Academy Award winning artist to screen her film and hosted a private reception in the mansion of one of Minneapolis' famous families, the Pillsbury's. (I still don't know how that happened, but it did.)
Though amazing, last year's flight was bitter sweet. Pangs of sadness filled my heart throughout the day and I felt ill equipped to attend to them. I tried to honor them briefly during my few private moments and quickly moved back to joy and life.
I thought I was fine.
I had been living out my joy, my dream, my meaning- no days had been lost to tears or anger or disconnection for a long time.
I was "fine", but I've come to understand that these anniversaries weigh down my heart. As much as I want to fly joyfully into this life I've been given back, my heart still feels the weight of the fall.
This year, there's no media and no launch. Just me.
I plan to sit with the tension between falling and flying. Try to find the balance I need on this day, at this time.
I will embrace the solitude I craved last year. I will visit the river that used to haunt me. I will treat myself to simple pleasures. I will breathe deeply and reflect. I will grieve and release more of the weight.
At 6:05pm, I will be sitting in a tattoo parlor, finally embracing the magic of that day and the part of the story I shy away from telling. (Another story for another day.)
As I continue this journey from falling to flying, I am grateful for everyone who has been with me throughout the years- in mind, body, and spirit. Solitude has been my solace these past seven years, but I'm working toward connection.
One of these years, on Aug. 1, I'm going to plan a party for myself. We'll celebrate life and flight.
About the blog:
This space holds thoughts and ideas generated from my personal journey of healing and recovery from trauma, co-dependency, and white supremacy culture. Opinions are entirely my own.