Archive for crisis

Oct
09

Getting through a “Long Siege”

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Eleven months ago from the time of this writing, I lost my mother, and became co-executor of her estate.

It was the beginning of a challenging season in which this unwanted, intrusive, part-time job of settling a very messy estate gobbled up time, energy, and resources, and triggered a lot of apparently unhealed “heart issues” concerning my family.

I think of these past months as “the long siege” during which I was fighting to keep as much of my own life as possible from being devoured.

Perhaps you can relate? Maybe you’re going through, or have gone through, a season of illness (your own or a loved one’s), or  unemployment, or divorce, or the loss of a home, or a bereavement, or . . . just this global pandemic, for instance?

The life you once knew is gone, and you are scrambling to move ahead, not just tread water.

How do we get through such times, which can amount to both a trauma and a crisis, and come out not only intact, but perhaps even somewhat healed on the other end?

One thing that turned out to be completely necessary for me was learning to let go of my high standards for certain things.

To get through any crisis or “long siege,” you need to let some things be “good enough,” or even to die, so that other things can live and flourish.

So I did an audit of the different areas of my life. What was most important to me, that needed to be prioritized in order to be preserved? (My morning and evening rituals, healthy eating, healthy relationships, my business.)

What could I let go of, or adjust the standards of? What does “good enough” look like?

Also: Was there any area in which I needed to raise my standards?

Turns out, there was: Self-care. I had to let go of the self-neglect that came naturally from my upbringing, and really instill in my heart that if I didn’t take care of me, there would be no “me” to take care of everything else.

I also made my spiritual and healing practices a priority. The two or three days I missed them, I really felt it.

I evaluated my resources and the current reality of what I was dealing with. I adjusted my housekeeping standards, and my expectations of my husband, myself, and my business.

In each area, I defined what would be “good enough” and let go of my former standards. (Or tried to; I tend to be an idealist and perfectionist, so this was not easy. The alternative, though, was my old pattern of pushing, which I knew would destroy my health.)

It was a painful but necessary process. It’s humbling to admit that you can’t do everything you thought you could or should be able to, that you have actual limitations, some of which weren’t there before but now must be acknowledged.

The gift from my long siege was it helped to clarify my true values, showed me patterns from my past that still needed healing, and clarified the boundaries that needed to be in place.

One of the most helpful things was to remind myself that this is “just for now, not forever.” There will come a time when the crisis will be over, and then I can reassess and re-calibrate. Lowering my standards “for now, not forever,” for a good reason (to preserve my health, relationships and business), helped me feel proactive and in control of at least something.

I also knew I couldn’t get through this without the support of other people.

I leaned on my husband, grown children (who were all wonderful), best friend (the only one who knew all the gory, blow-by-blow details that I spared even my husband), and several support groups of friends who prayed for me.

Are you going through a particularly challenging season, even a “long siege” of your own? (In some ways, who isn’t these days?) Perhaps doing an audit of your resources, redefining “good enough, for now not forever,” and reaching out for support from others will help you get through it as well.

Next time, I’ll talk about “when the long siege is finally over”–how to heal and reclaim your life. (Because, thankfully, that’s what I’ll be able to do as of next week, I hope!)

And if you would like help in any of these steps, I’d be happy to come alongside you for that support. Check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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