Caring about people, being an empath, takes a lot of worthwhile energy. Offering one's time, input, listening skills, thoughts and ideas can be as draining as it is rewarding. But it's how I was raised and how I always have felt- think of others - how your behavior and choices impacts those around you - for good or for bad, with the focus being on encouraging the good. Then I experienced tragedy. And all the rules went sideways. I lost my husband suddenly in April of 2017. Our children were 7 and 5. After that, there was no energy. There were no coherent thoughts about myself never mind anyone around me. Except of course my kids- but even that was down to bare essentials. At that time saying no to commitments, requests and favors became crucial, required, inevitable. It took every ounce I had to stand up and hug my kids - there was no brain power or momentum available for more than that. I was supported by those around me in such a way that saying no held no repercussions. Our loved ones were so kind with their invites and offerings but I wasn't available to accept anything in any shape or form. Within this change of saying no came a freedom. A sense of empowerment. An angle of self care I had never experienced.
Fast forward as we approach six years since losing Tom (a hard sentence to type as it feels like just yesterday).
This coming June will be two years since I opened a brick and mortar shop I named TomandChickpea. And now, I am realizing the beauty of saying yes again. Yes to meeting fellow artisans. Yes to meeting more and more people within the community. Yes to hearing, really Hearing what people say to me. The shared experiences and mutual understanding. Learning about people's stories. Everyone has a story. Yes to being open to how we all heal and cope separately - but also to the idea of how we can heal and grow Together.