All I was doing was standing–literally just standing on the paved path of the Northwest County Rail Trail–and I felt and heard a POP. Pop and then crushing pain as my knee gave out. What? I’m finally well enough to walk in the woods and now this?!?
Oh the parts of me flooded my mind with chatter in waves of anger and shame. What did I do wrong? This isn’t fair!! What are other people going to think?
Thankfully, I had enough Self to take a deep breath, to tell my parts that I would attend to them later, to ask for help, and to go to the Osteopathic Urgent Care. According to the doctor, it is likely that I tore my meniscus and may need surgery. This information only riled the parts of me more. Negative Nelly started yammering in my ear cataloging the list of losses and in injustices of 2020. As she listed moment after moment, I knew I needed to sit with myself.
Nestling in my meditation chair, I had two dueling parts–Negative Nelly and Sunshine Sally. Both wanting to protect me from the raw pain and grief of this moment. I took a deep breath, settled into the support of the ground and floor, and placed my hands on my heart and belly. My polarized parts softened and allowed me to comfort them. Then, the waves of grief crashed inside my heart and mind. I felt my body release as learned to trust the waves of raw emotion. I felt held by Self and Spirit. And in that moment space was made as my clarity, curiosity, and creativity emerged.
It’s true, I thought, 2020 has been a year of tremendous loss and grief. My 2020 vision board and word of the year have long been discarded. But I’ve deepened my ability to trust the wisdom of the Spirt. Both are true.
Holding the both/and of 2020, my mind started to revisit the wilderness journey of the year. The adaptations and pivots came so quickly that I haven’t had time to really honor them–or the resources within and around me. As a sense of gratitude and appreciation filled me, I thought of a practice that I learned in 2019. The Reverse Bucket List.
The Reverse Bucket List is a practice to help you honor the many unnamed and unrecognized times and places that you adapted and changed over the year. Rather than looking forward at what you want to do, you look back to honor what you’ve done. You make a list of the many, many issues and challenges you faced. Now, for those of us with strong evaluative or perfectionistic parts, we may be tempted to judge, rank, or quantify this list. If that part of you speaks up, I encourage you to thank it and see if it will go have milk and cookies while you make your list. The list is to name and claim and offer a sense of gratitude to your Self for being with you throughout the year. It is a practice to help you honor the both/and as well as to recognize that grief and gratitude are sisters who live in the same house.