We yearn for the catharsis.
That feeling of release and flow. The build-up and sweet relief.
But we often miss an essential step to make the relief reality.
We don’t let ourselves have the breakdown. We don’t allow the vent. We don’t allow the melting into a puddle. We deprive ourselves of the most important piece of the process of transformation: release
Instead we spend most of our time and energy running around trying to keep all the shit together, ours and everyone else’s, and that becomes all we ever experience. That becomes our life. Living feels more like survival.
Clinging, grasping, CONTROLLING. Hoping it all doesn’t fall apart in our hands. When all we want is to let it all go, if only for a moment.
And it’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot.
We make ourselves responsible for ending poverty and sexism and racism and get a healthy dinner on the table and make the sale and sign the client and open the door and pull the chair out and hit your PR and design a creative masterpiece and get all As and dress the kids or decide not to have another one or admit that none are possible and go to church or meditate and clean the house and make arrangements for mom in the assisted living facility and make sure your suit fits right—oh dang, it’s a little snug and the wedding’s tomorrow—and get people to use the right pronouns and raise contributing members of society and volunteer for the PTO and do the laundry and pick up the dry cleaning and get your eyeliner perfect and WHOOPS! forgot to add the fabric softener and try to read Oprah’s latest book club pick and avoid red wine this week...
and we rarely give ourselves a chance to feel overwhelmed by all of it.
We rarely allow ourselves to surrender to it and allow the breakdown.
Because maybe we wonder if we’ll ever get back up and if the tears would ever stop if we allowed them. We worry what we’d have to admit to ourselves if we gave ourselves a chance to really think about it.
But the beauty is, the breakdown is the very thing that allows us to be there, in that moment, to feel the flow of all that energy as it moves through us. The pent-up pressure of being imperfectly human.
The breakdown gives us a moment to be with mercy and grace and the magical miracle of resilience. Isn’t resilience really amazing? How we bounce?!
And not all of us can go on and on and there are one or two or several million of us who do stay down. Because their bounce wore out. But that’s really ok.
But yours hasn’t yet. And allowing yourself the breakdown means you love yourself enough to fill up the gas tank for another go at it. Another attempt. One more shot.
Catharsis, that sweet relief we crave, only comes when the process of releasing isn’t blocked. When it isn’t avoided or thwarted or denied. When the wall falls.
Could you allow yourself to have that?
To hold yourself in that totally human place of fragility and bravery.
To sit and take a few deep breaths.
To grab a tissue and have a good sob.
To cradle the stuffed animal you cherished as a child.
To rock yourself a few times.
To ignore the phone ringing.
To breathe in deeply and cough because you don’t remember the last time your lungs filled like this.
To shudder as the all the anxiety and fear and pain and frustration leaves your fabulous but fragile human body. We’re mere thin skin over sinew, after all.
To sit there and witness that you’re still here. And your chest, you can feel the elephant isn’t sitting there anymore.
You’re ok. It’s ok.
Catharsis. Sweet relief.
Off you go, again.