Inside: Today, precisely when I needed them, I received 7 little love notes that remind me I am loved, held, and I am seen. I’ve included a few referral links to books you might appreciate.
The past couple of weeks have been rough. Or, if I’m telling the fuller truth, the past couple of years have been rough.
There are many beautiful moments mixed into the hard. Like playing with my new goofy kitten who I already adore. Or sitting in the bright November sunshine pouring in through my unwashed living room windows. Or, the gift of being reminded that I am loved and seen and held.
Panic set in for me a couple of hours ago. I live with regular panic attacks since a traumatizing car accident and the death of my son three weeks later. I notice them getting “better” but I’m a long way off from healed or recovered or through. However it is that one qualifies learning to live and breathe and wholly thrive again after losing their own child.
When my body and brain tip into panic, my cognitive function slows down. Sometimes it feels like writing or talking through molasses. My tongue is clumsy, my mouth dry, and I stumble over all my thoughts and feelings.
What’s also true and amazing, is that in the midst of some panic attacks, like this one, though not all, my inner voice speaks louder than ever or rather, I am able to hear.
My fearful, worrying brain is quieted and I can hear my strong, brave, calm inner self speak. Some days I call her Spirit, or Intuition, or Gut.
In the midst of my panic this afternoon, my inner voice said: “Hey, Krista, have you noticed that you’re receiving a whole lot of affirmation today (my top Love Language, by the way)?” And it struck me that, indeed, I’d already received several heartfelt, beautiful, life-giving messages today and I hadn’t even noticed the pattern before that moment.
I gathered together the texts, email, and voice messages that had come in since morning and wrote down a quick recap of each, and I marked the approximate times they were received. I was shocked and also awed and delighted to see seven little notes staring up at me.
Seven little but mighty reminders that I am loved. And held. And I am seen.
This reminds me, too, that as much as my whole mind and body and spirit have been rocked in the past two years, some of my beliefs and hopes uprooted, my body and brain inflamed, and as much as my favourite saying these days is “I don’t know” and if you try to force me to decide if I believe in God or a good god or not, my rage and anger at all the pain and injustice in this world will be my only response.
Yet maybe there is something good and bigger than I can see and feel in this season, holding us all together. I’m wholly uninterested in debate on this point and I only share because my mantra for the year is truth-telling and because I want to be real about the impact of trauma and what it sometimes looks and sounds and feels like to be human in this messy world.
This might help another hurting human. And it will serve as a reminder to myself when I forget.
7 Little Love Notes that remind me I AM SEEN
6:01 a.m. an email from K: “Thank you for being honest and open, for saying all the words that I couldn’t come up with on my own, but identified with so deeply as soon as I heard them from you. Thank you for making me feel welcome and a part of your smaller teaching groups. I felt seen and heard. Thank you for walking with me through a very difficult year of transition and giving me tools to assist my healing and growth that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to you and for you, and wanted to be sure you knew that.”
6: 55 a.m.a Vox from Z: “Maybe you can feel a little buzz in your body because I’ve been thinking of you all morning…I was thinking about who was the first person to see me and really accept me for who I am and this made me grateful because this is how I feel about you. You see me with what I perceive to be my flaws and imperfections and you show me how my flaws and imperfections are really strengths. I imagine that’s how you make a lot of people feel.”
8:54 a.m. an IG voice message from B: “I’m thinking of you and just wanted to send a quick note to tell you that: ‘I’m thinking of you’… Giant hugs.”
9:33 a.m. a text from A: “I love your ability to set boundaries for yourself that prioritize your well-being and that of your family. I know this has been a hard-won thing for you. It’s good for me to witness.”
10:30 a.m. a word of affirmation from G: “I heard you on your call yesterday; you are a great speaker. I’m not very good at saying things like this out loud but even when I don’t say them I’m thinking them.”
11:30 a.m. in an interview with H (a paraphrase): “It was you who wrote ‘we grow roots of self-awareness and self-compassion that keep us rooted when the storms come’ (and this has helped me).”
1:45 p.m. a text from R: “Thanks for modeling self-love, self-awareness, self-compassion AND kick ass contribution to the world. I like who I am and you’ve given me courage to say that out loud.”
Now, of course, I’m eagerly open and watching for more love notes. (EDITED to add: within minutes of publishing this post I discovered one more beautiful message in my inbox and I want to capture it so I can look back and remember! At 3:09 p.m. T sent a message & gift saying simply “I see you. I believe in your work.”)
Actually, maybe there is already an eighth. In this moment, I realize that I sent myself a love note about an hour ago when I chose self-compassion over productivity and never disappointing anyone else. In that moment, I reminded myself that I had given enough and had permission to rest.
I don’t really care right now who or what motivated these love notes. The gift is that they came. And the gift is also that I heard them. The gift is that these people I call friend or husband had the courage to act on what they heard and send the love note in the first place.
And the gift is that these 7 (or 8+) notes are little but powerful reminders that I am loved, held, and I am seen.
*I’ve condensed or edited these notes for privacy and length
NOW WHAT? I hope you enjoy my conversation with Heidi Barr and Ellie Roscher, authors of the new book 12 Tiny Things, about learning to listen in, bravely responding to what we hear, and some of the small ways we’re building intentional lives.