They say confession is good for the soul. I’m not sure who “they” are, but my soul needs some good and I need to confess a few things. First of all, I’m terrible at blogging. I had all these big ideas about tapping into my midlife awakening and my creative celebration of my 40th year, regaling my audience with meaning filled stories of life and self discovery. Truth is, I haven’t felt very creative. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been celebrating. I’ve been making changes in my life that have propelled me forward, moving me closer to the life I really want to be living. And, I have discovered a lot about myself along the way. I just haven’t really figured out a way to write about it with any regularity. One of my discoveries is that I’m the kind of writer that writes when I feel compelled to get the words out of my head and heart and onto the page. It’s why my last post didn’t really fit into #FeastingonForty. I needed to write it, though.

Honestly, a good deal of what I feel compelled to write about these days doesn’t seem to fit into my blog series idea. But, then again, maybe it does… Part of the intention behind #FeastingonForty was to engage in my life in new ways. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve been that person who has been more of an observer in life than a participant. I even figured out how to make a career out of it. But, that doesn’t really fit anymore. It isn’t enough to keep a safe distance from my own life. I need to fully engage, to take some risks and to embrace this one wild and precious life.

My dad died four and a half weeks ago. It was an event for which I had prepared myself inasmuch as anyone can. He was 85. He had end stage coronary artery disease. His health had been steadily declining for the past 3 years. But, the thing is, I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared at all. My role in life has been to keep a safe distance, to maintain control, to keep it together. When I got the call about my dad, every ounce of control was relinquished to some force outside myself. There was no way to distance myself from the pain of what my family was experiencing. I could not keep it together. It was brutal. The whole experience was brutal. And… I discovered something new about myself. Sometimes the experience of pain is the best reminder that I’m alive.

It might sound crazy, and perhaps it is a little unconventional. But, through the intense emotional pain I’ve felt over the past few weeks I’ve realized that, as frightening as it may be, I really do have the freedom to let down my armor and allow myself to engage fully and wholeheartedly in my life – both in the joy and pain of it.

I’ve been saying that a lot, I know, but I have a different experience of it now. It’s been a while since I’ve allowed myself a really good cry – and not just a good cry but a cry to which others bore witness, a cry that heralded my fragile humanity and intense vulnerability. The grief over my dad’s death unleashed something within me that had been trapped inside for some time. My usual sense of control abandoned me, and my zipped up emotions spilled out in almost violent ways. And in the process I realized that I. am. alive. And, I have one life – one wild and precious life, and I get to choose how I live it. We all do. That’s the power of awakening (and apparently confession).

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