“I have hit a rough patch.”
Not only is that true for me personally right now, but it was a global theme in the questions that were submitted a few weeks ago, so I wanted to take advantage of the prevailing retrograde winds, and address this topic.
Life is a roller coaster. Sometimes we catch all the breaks, nail every triple lutz, and surprise ourselves with our own gold medal magnificence. And sometimes, life is like the walk in the snow and frozen-rain-coated woods I had with my dog yesterday. It was a dark comedy, with the two of us skittering along on the icy surface, breaking through to snowy mud, losing our footing, falling on our asses, and limping home.
Sometimes the rough patch might be:
- Having problems in a relationship.
- Feeling lonely or alone.
- Out of work, and struggling.
- Overwhelmed. With life, with kids, with work.
- Handling the complex childhood traumas that still impact us.
Oh, how I hate a rough patch.
The worst part?
When skittering along the icy surface, or slogging through the swampy depths, I forget that life was ever different. I forget that I had ever had a gold medal day.
Rough patches are like that. They wipe out reason, replacing it with a fog of endless darkness. Perspective is superseded by self-pity. And hope? Can’t even remember the feeling.
And it’s not like the problems that we have are exaggerated.
Not having a job, breaking up with your love, hating your work situation, feeling lonely, tough times with parenting, being triggered by the past–these are all serious issues. These are issues that are worth your time, your attention, your tears, your upset, your heartache.
The question is, how do we navigate?
I am having teen/mama drama right now. And it’s not just the teen/mama thing. It’s the sense that when my daughter is struggling, I feel like I am struggling right along with her. As women, we tend to take the vicissitudes of life very personally. It’s not just that “I hit a rough patch” in parenting. I go to “I am a bad Mom.” Which is precisely what I read in all your questions. It’s not just that you are between jobs right now; you actually think you are in some way disqualified or unworthy, or cursed. It’s not just that you broke up with your guy; you think you are unlovable. And so on.
So, the question becomes: how do we navigate through the rough patch? Since the choppy waters aren’t going away permanently, how do we make it through as gracefully as we can, so we can catch the next wave that comes for us? Because, as inevitable as rough patches are, the next wave is also inevitable. And we want to be ready when it comes. Another word for “rough patch” is reclamation.
That’s where the Tools of the Womanly Arts are so unbelievably useful. In fact, in The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program, we spend an entire weekend of the course teaching the skill of swamping well. This is the art of moving through the rough patches of being a woman with grace, and it’s just another way of celebrating the privilege of being a woman. Swamping is taking advantage of the darkness in order to make space for more light.
Here is a foolproof four-part system for moving through a rough patch…
1. Cry, scream, grieve, wail. Make some noise. When we stuff all of our intense emotions inside, we give them permanence. (Click to tweet!) Let your body move all that backlog of intense feeling out with sound and movement.
2. Do not throw a pretty dress and a smile on your rough patch. Play it up. If you feel sad, down, disappointed, wear it on your sleeve. I have a t-shirt that says, “psycho bitch from hell’ that I put on for special occasions. One of my mastery grads likes to wear a large black wide brimmed hat with a veil after a breakup. Live your truth on the outside and the inside.
3. There is an amazing exercise in all 3 of my books, called Spring Cleaning. Grab the book and do this exercise. It is hands-down the best way to move through your intense emotions in a powerful and deliberate way. Many Sister Goddesses, myself included, do this exercise every day. It’s a good way to keep current with yourself and release your deepest feelings.
4. I know you won’t feel like it, but this is the time to really pamper yourself. Use self-care like a machete to chop your way through the rough patch. A body scrub, a steamy bath, coconut oil and dressing like a rock star will begin to recalibrate the way you feel and bring you back to a sense of your own power.
How are you rocking your rough patches?
What have been the rewards of really surrendering to your deepest darkest feelings? How have the rough spots polished you into the woman you are becoming?
Let’s share together, and celebrate in the comments below. Because every time we have the opportunity to encounter a rough patch, we have the opportunity to transform into the next best version of the women we were destined to become.
P.S. Are you intrigued to see how the Womanly Arts can transform your situation? Are you feeling the pull towards Sisterhood and the Mastery experience? This year’s course starts March 29th and 30th. As you know, we only do it once a year, so if you feel intrigued and interested, let’s talk (212-787-2411 x1). Hannah and Lauren will help you see if it’s a fit (or not) and work with you to make the impossible happen (husbands, schedules, finances, etc.) if it is. I don’t want you to miss out, as I fully expect this year’s course to be full, with a waiting list, soon.