"It's Right Here!"

January 1, 2018

I hang out with amazing women.  

   

This isn’t an accident or merely “good luck”.        

   

I have a criterion for my closest girlfriends.    

 

  • They need to love beauty and be creating it consciously in some aspect of their lives.

  • They need to be doing their own inner work. 

  • They need to be a willing partner in our relationship, (which often means calling me on my bullshit and helping me grow into a better human).

  • They need to love laughter as much as oxygen.

 

My friend Jacky can check off all these boxes and more. 

 

She’s one of those women who has it all—beauty, intelligence, talent, humour, and a kind, open heart.

 

Since we haven’t seen each other in months, we made a date to connect before Christmas.

 

“If I’m not home when you get there, just go inside,” she texted.  “I’ll leave the door unlocked.”

 

But when I tried the handle, I couldn’t get in.

 

I set my baskets of goodies down on the porch and made my way around the house.

 

(And let me just pause here to say, this isn’t the house of Jacky’s dreams).

 

My friend’s in a transitional time in her life.  She’s mid-way through a conscious, respectful divorce from her husband and is successfully co-parenting their children in the most loving way I’ve ever witnessed.

 

For the last 3 years she’s lived in a unique neighbourhood of townhouses in order to be close to (she calls him her Wusband) while they create a new life for their family—together but apart. 

 

This neighbourhood has provided a stable home life for her and her boys while things get sorted out, but renting has had its challenges.  To date, Jacky has moved into 3 different townhouses in as many years.

 

So when I found her backdoor locked, I checked her address on my phone.

 

Nope, I was at the right one.

 

I began making my way around her townhouse, navigating a downward slope through a skiff of snow in my patent-leather high heels.

 

By the time I made it to the front door, I was chilled to the bone.

 

And the effing thing was locked.

 

I spiked my way back to the warmth of my car and sent her a text.

 

“I’m sorry,” she texted back.  “I’m almost home.“

 

Then, only a few minutes later, “I’m here!  You can come in now.”

 

I went to the porch and saw that she had taken in the baskets of goodies.

 

I opened the door and SURPRISE!

 

Two strangers were sitting on the floor of the kitchen, going through my things.

 

I stared at them in shock and they stared back. 

 

“I’m sorry,” I sputtered, “I’m here to see Jacky.”

 

The lady looked back and forth between me and the goods spread out on the floor.

 

“We thought this was for us,” her daughter said, “We couldn’t figure out who left it on our doorstep.”

 

“Am I at the wrong house?” I asked in confusion. 

 

But how was that possible?  I looked at the number on the door again.  No, this was Jacky’s number. 

 

“Jacky used to live here,” the lady said, stuffing my ballet slippers back into their silk bag while her daughter tried to put the presents and food back into the basket.

 

I stood on the porch, cold and baffled.

 

Could you give me her new townhouse number? I asked.

 

“Oh, she just lives right over there,” the lady said waving her hand in a general direction.  “She’s really, really close.  It’s easy.”

 

I could feel an old shame start to rise in me.  Navigating directions has never been easy for me.   What seems like common sense to most people is very convoluted for me.   My brain rotates everything again and again.  The more people try to explain it to me, the more confused and flustered I get.

 

“If you just give me the number,” I said.

 

“But she just lives right over THERE,” the daughter insisted, pointing in a completely different direction than her Mom.

 

I pulled out my phone and called Jacky.  She laughed.  “Oh honey!  You’re at the old townhouse.  If you just come down the hill . . .”

 

“Could you just give me the house number?” I asked in a strained voice.

 

I could feel the tears rising.  I was cold and embarrassed and confused and the night had gone to shit so fast my head was spinning.  And now I was talking to my dear friend in a sharp tone.

 

I wanted to run to my car and go home.

 

“Stay where you are,” Jacky said.  “I’m coming to get you.”

 

And just like that, she was in front of me, all warmth and green eyes, leading me to her new townhouse. 

 

I followed her inside, engulfed in a black cloud of shame. 

 

“I didn’t put your new house number into my phone,” I told her. 

 

She was breezy about it, trying to lighten my mood.

 

But I couldn’t pull out of the tailspin.

 

It wasn’t just the fact that I’d made a mistake and triggered an old, painful story.  It was that I hadn’t been able to PIVOT—to laugh with the strangers in the house, to laugh at my inability to navigate, to just love myself and life as it is without struggling to make it different.

 

I’m normally so good at that!

 

And now Jacky was witnessing me in full-on meltdown mode.   

 

I tried to compose myself while an inner voice scolded me for not handling things better.  

 

“I’m sorry, Jacky,” I said, coming clean.  “I’m caught in a shame-spiral right now.  I just need to sit down and center myself.”

 

“Oh sweetie!” she said, opening a bottle of wine while I sat and took a few breaths.  “I get it.  You just do what you need to do.”

 

She tidied the kitchen and then, after a couple of minutes, sat down so she could be close to me.

 

“You know, I’m not good at navigating either,” she said.  “I always forget where I park my car.  This one time I lost it in a parking lot at a mall.  I was too embarrassed to hit the panic button so I just kept wandering around, pressing the open button on the remote, hoping I’d see the flashing lights of my car.”

 

She stopped for a moment and took a sip of her wine.

 

“And then this weird thing happened,” she said.  “Every time I hit the button, I’d hear a man’s voice.”

 

“It’s right here!”

 

I’d hit the button again.

 

“It’s right here!”

 

So I began walking toward the sound of his voice.

 

“It’s right here!”

“It’s right here!”

“It’s right here!”

 

When I got to my car, an older man was standing beside it.

 

He asked me if the car was mine and I told him it was.

 

And he said, “I just knew some gal had forgotten where she parked her car and I told my wife I was going to stand right here and yell out until she found it.”

 

She laughed at the memory and took another sip of her wine.

 

My eyes welled with tears.  I could feel my shame slipping away, my heart opening in gratitude.

 

Because we all get lost, don’t we?  We all get disconnected from our worth, our light, our joy.  Thoughts of smallness can pull us into the shadows so fast that it’s hard to find out way back to our center.

 

The voice of the mind can be so noisy, so cruel, so harsh, and so mean. 

 

Shame disables us, interfering with our sense of direction.

 

But there’s always the voice of the heart calling us home.

 

“It’s right here!” the voice says, trying to guide us inward.

 

“It’s right here!”

 

And it always is, the tenderness of grace at our center.

 

I’m often humbled by how much love there is for each of us when we allow it.

 

So please don’t let the bumps of life block that flow.

 

If you ever find yourself (like me) caught in a tail-spin of shame, don’t try to act like you have it all together.

 

Pretending to be perfect is a sure way to lose your connection to love.

 

It's better to acknowledge how you really feel, (like I did).

 

When you expose your shame to someone who will meet it with kindness, it releases it hold.

 

Brene Brown says that EMPATHY is the antidote to shame.

 

And if you don't know someone like Jacky?

 

Well, hon, that's when YOU need to step in and act as your own best friend.

 

Just take a breath and connect to yourself, right now, in the present.

 

The old painful story of shame isn’t real.  It’s from a past that no longer exists. 

 

And your heart will guide you back to the truth if you let it.

 

Your light can never be taken from you, my darling.

 

It’s always, always right here.

 

 

Sending you so much love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS.  Brene Brown says that shame needs three things to grow: secrecy, silence, and judgment.  So let's be kind to ourselves and others, okay?  Let's douse shame with empathy every time it flares up.  This is how we change the world. 

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