I am writing this week to continue a theme I began to write about 2 weeks ago – relishing in the space we have to live. Two weekends ago we sent our Old German Shepherd and treasured packmate – Brosef on. When we had made to decision that it was time – I recall telling my partner – “OK let’s try to do it Friday afternoon and maybe I can take a half day off from work.” This all seemed like a reasonable thing to say until I realized my partner was angry – “You are planning to take a half day off from work on the day Brosef will leave our life forever!?” It was a startling moment when I noticed the stark contrast between what our society would say is OK – a half day off from work is A LOT isn’t it?! – versus what felt right for me and my family. So I took all of Friday off and blocked off the whole weekend to celebrate, to mourn, to be with Brosef for his death and take all the time we needed.

This continued a theme that began days earlier when my therapist pointed out that moving to a new place was a big deal and that I could expect it to take TWO YEARS to settle in. My factory default setting thinking – that I could make it go faster and be settled in in under six months – stood in stark contrast to what she was pointing out as reality.

These happenings combined with the delay in the sewing apprenticeship program, which won’t begin until the end of the summer, is forcing me to examine the pressure we put our ourselves to get so much done – to pack so much in that we squeeze out time for Life – a.k.a. the things that are truly important and meaningful for our lives. The big transition of moving, the passing of a loved one, the emotions around having much-anticipated events taken away from us again by the Covid pandemic all this requires space in our lives to be and to feel. So I used these latest developments to get real about taking the pressure off so many parts of my life. Really examining choices that I am making to pack more into a week, into a day into an hour – and really going to town trimming out everything that is not actually necessary.

And something very interesting is happening. I find myself with space for creativity and joy and happiness. (Oh yes I realize how sad this sounds – but it is important so I’m going to share it in case you are finding yourself stifled by a giant todo list). The odd thing that I realized was happening is that I had put so much on my plate that I had ground myself to a halt energetically – I just wasn’t able to move under all the weight. Showing up each moment and catching myself before I put more on my plate or say yes or volunteer for others to put more on my plate – is allowing me to make different choices.

I find that this compassion for how overwhelming life can be and how much we can actually handle before we get squeezed into stuckness is extending to my partner and others in my life. The more compassionate and better choices we make for over selves – the more we are able to cut each other slack and not jump to point out something that we want or need them to do right away – when it is not something that actually must be done right away.

I write this to you today because it is only after coming through todo-list-itis (or at least in recovery) that I am able to see how incredibly important it is that we make space in our lives to live. Yes the climate is in an untenable state – with have huge social issues to solve, and the transition from our old ways of doing things to new ways of doing thing is monumental and fatiguing and even so – if we don’t make space for life we will not get where we need to go. We will not make the shift because we will have squeezed the movement and connection out of our lives.

I hope this brings you comfort and solidarity in your efforts to make space for Life. I am cheering you on. The more of us that are doing it – the easier it will get. Stand in your truth.

Go, fight, win.