to stop; cease moving, operating, etc., either permanently or temporarily.
My life has been in a state of halt for nearly seven months. This lines up exactly with the birth of my second son. While I have been functioning and keeping up with my numerous daily responsibilities, I have only been doing that – functioning. I have not been thriving. In fact, the things I thrive on have halted. My writing. Music. Meaningful connections with friends and family. Time in nature. Time alone. I’m not pointing a finger at my child(ren), nor am I trying to complain. I’ve simply not done a good job of keeping up my end of life’s bargain. I’ve too easily sacrificed my need for wholeness and connection for the sake of keeping up the appearance of a life that is moving forward smoothly.
Recently, I opened up to a friend about this halt in my life. I shared how most days I cry. How I haven’t had an hour alone with my husband in 7months. How I have irrational fears. How lonely I feel. After letting me go on and on, she finally asked, “Why haven’t you called me?” There was a long pause. I didn’t have a good answer. Why hadn’t I called her? Why hadn’t I called anyone? Finally, it came to me, I just didn’t want anyone to know how inadequately I had been keeping up. For fear of judgment, I kept all these feelings to myself. In doing so, I created an inner environment full of rattle. You know the rattle don’t you? The constant noise of, “do this… go there…fix that…the dishes aren’t done…she said what…there isn’t enough time…I’m so tired…leave me alone…I’m not good enough”
After this conversation, I realized yet one more thing about my recent life – rarely do I fill it with meaningful conversation. Often, my interactions with others are quick, functional, and consisting of niceties (or complaints). Without meaningful human connection and conversation I had created an isolated environment where it became all too easy to get further and further down the rabbit hole. The rattle became deafening.
Since opening up to my friend, I’ve been able to share with other friends too. None of their responses have been of judgement. To the contrary they have been of support, of empathy, and of deliberate action to create meaningful connection. Also, since sharing my vulnerabilities and identifying the areas of my life that were halted, the light is shining back in again. A reader of my blog reached out to ask where I’ve gone, she misses my writing. Opportunities to sing are coming my way again. I’ve connected with some of my dearest friends, whose curiosity of the world matches my own, and we’re deliberately seeking knowledge together. Snowmageddon and the polar vortex (I live in the Midwest where winter has just plain sucked) have stopped long enough for me to get out into the woods! No more halt. I’m moving forward again. Thriving. It’s almost as if God was just waiting for me to crack so that she could fill me back up again (good one, God).
What I’ve learned from this experience is that if you ever find yourself in a state of halt you have to declare it. You have to find someone you trust and say it all out loud. Not as complaints, but as pure unfiltered vulnerability. The kind of openness that leaves you feeling lighter once you’ve shared. You might not get answers or a fix, but you will get space. The kind of space that then allows for the good stuff to come back in.
What brings a surge of energy to your heart?
What makes your eyes glint with tears of wonder?
What makes your soul beat?
Tell me about these things.
Tell me like a child would.
Deliver your message with passion
don’t worry about making sense.
I will be able to feel the sense of it – if it comes from your heart.
Tell me what you’re terrified of.
If it helps, I’m terrified too.
You can cry.
Crying alone is a release.
Crying together, we heal.
You’ve worked too hard to hold the trappings of your perfect life together.
flailing about at the whipping ends.
Trying to gather them up
in hopes no one will notice.
Instead, I want to notice.
Because your tattered life mirrors mine.
Your tattered life is of the best you could do.
Show me that the best I could do is ok too.
Then, I can stop trying so hard.
Then, I can visit once again with what brings a surge to my heart.
A glint to my eyes.
A beat to my soul.