As many of you know, my sweet dog-ter, Xena, died three weeks ago. And while she was 14 and had many health problems, I thought she would be with us for at least several more months. I was (and still am) in complete shock and complete sadness that she’s gone.
In this time of grief, I’ve learned so many things about myself and my life and my friends and my world.
I believe that there is a beautiful gift in every experience. I have always believed this. And while my heart has been completely broken open – because my heart has been completely broken open – I feel like I’m seeing everything more clearly. I feel like my senses are more connected. I feel like I’m able to step out of myself and look in and be able to find the gifts.
And while there are so many that have come from this sadness, the one that holds the most weight for me is learning that I can show up as myself and still be loved.
I’m used to being the strong one. The one who inspires and uplifts and supports and loves and helps and shares. And honestly, I just didn’t have it in me to do any of these things over the past few weeks. It was all I could do to get up each day and maybe take a shower. Maybe not spend the entire day crying. I couldn’t imagine writing something inspiring or sharing a piece of soul art on Facebook. I just couldn’t. It wouldn’t have been authentic.
And that’s the thing – I never want to show up from an inauthentic space. And so when I was feeling sad and in my deepest grief, I thought that I maybe just shouldn’t show up at all. I figured that I would just bring everyone down – that no one would want to hear how sad I was or how empty I felt.
But something inside nudged me to take the risk and share my truth anyway. And so I did – on Facebook, here on Soul Speak, and in private emails.
And in doing so, I received such a beautiful gift.
In all of my years of being the strong one and inspiring and supporting, I rarely allowed anyone to support me back. I rarely allowed myself to receive love back. I rarely allowed myself to accept another’s gifts.
And, in this space of my heart being broken open, I didn’t have the strength to push love away. And boy did it come pouring in. I didn’t have the strength to deflect it back to the giver, and boy am I thankful for that.
I allowed myself to show up authentically. And in doing so, I received the gift of love. So much love. From all of you.
Your love poured in, and it continues to pour in. Your prayers, your cards, your gifts, your loving words, your energetic support. All of it. Pouring into my heart and helping me get through each day. Knowing that I am loved. Exactly as I am.
You have shown me that I don’t need to do anything or be anything in order to be loved.
I don’t have to write a stellar post in order for you to love me. I don’t have to inspire you in some way in order for you to love me. I don’t have to give something away in order for you to love me. I don’t have to be positive and have a smile on my face in order for you to love me. I can simply be me – wherever I am and you will still love me.
And that feels amazing.
So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am taking all of your love into my heart and allowing it to mend the break. And I’ll remember this gift the next time I feel that I need to show up a certain way or say a certain thing in order to be loved. Because I’ll remember that the best gift I can give to you is my true self – inspiring or withdrawn, happy or sad, giver or receiver.
You have shown me that I’m loved so deeply – me. Not me the inspirer or me the teacher or me the writer. Me. Just Jodi.
And I thank you for that. So, so much.