I grew up in a “shake it off and move on” culture.
When you are in survival mode, the cost of “sitting in the fire” or “sitting with it” is a luxury and a privilege that is often not possible to give space for.
Yet as I have learned the past few years after getting breast cancer, “shaking it off and moving on” is not exactly that.
It’s parking it, setting it aside and hoping that it does not come back full force in the future.
So throughout the 9 years after diagnosis and countless of treatments, I have been learning to give space to what is happening.
This might mean missing appointments.
Opting for care and comfort, especially on the times when something surface that needs grieving, that needs processing, that needs time to flow, and to move inside of me.
In those moments, I have learned to give myself grace.
To settle the voices that say, “I am disappointing others.”, “I am not being reliable.”, “I am not being resilient.”
In those moments, the questions that I settle with are:
What do I need?
Who can I ask for support? for comfort? for holding space?
What can I let go of, say no to, or set aside, to give myself space to process?
I am aware that my ability to ask these questions and to choose the actions that can support me are part of the advantages that I have in life now.
That I work for myself and have collaborators that can understand if I shift my time and focus.
That I have a community rallying behind me that I can share what is going on with me and ask for help.
That I have a loving partner whose arms I can rely on as I crumble in tears and uncertainty.
For me to be able to “sit and process” I have set the following for myself:
the capacity to tune in and sense what is going on inside of me
the awareness of when to pause and pivot when needed
cultivated quality relationships that I can rely on for support
work with people who understands the need for space
All these do not come easily.
It took years to nurture, to cultivate, to amplify.
It also took years to commit to all these with CARE.
Not just for myself, but also for those around me.
My ability to “sit and process” is not only mine to keep.
My ability to “sit and process” is a community process.