I don’t know if it is true for you, but whenever I do not want to face up to something, I get super busy. The problem with being distracted by too many to-dos is that what is truly happening to me physically, psychically and/or emotionally is that swept under the rug only to emerge later—usually in a crisis situation. I began to notice this right after our oldest boy, my step-son, passed away from injuries he accrued during a motorcycle accident. My family and I were stunned at first—immobilized. Then shortly after the memorial service I found I was filling up every minute of my day with errands, projects and impossible deadlines–anything to keep me from experiencing the full impact of what had just occurred.
Loss often does bring forth a sense of zest—a period of over-activity as a way to bring more “life” into an existence that feels like death warmed over. And this is all well and good unless it keeps one not attending to their sorrow. Luckily, I recognized what was happening early on and did what I needed to do—nothing. I purposefully went on long walks, meditated and listened to orchestral music with my eyes closed. I built an altar in Ryan’s honor filled with flowers, seashells, poems, photos and remnants of past gifts he had given me. I keened, I rocked and swayed to the music of my tears, I prayed for his soul. But mostly I had whispered conversations with him, asking that he say hello to all my previously deceased friends and family and give me the strength and inner peace to live with his loss.
Even now some nine months later I have the overwhelming sense that I have taken on too much. And when I do, I immediately stop what I am doing, have a heart to heart talk with Ryan, and wait until I am in a quiet place in my heart—where I can make sense of the pull of being overly busy to the point of distraction and unease. I sing, I dance, I go for walks—anything to bring myself to a place of stillness, groundedness, centering.