Every day I'm so thankful for Fred Rogers and the way he taught me that talking about things is okay. And I'm so thankful for the ways I've learned to figure out who I can trust with those truths, even when the figuring out is bumpier than expected.
I posted the above words on my Facebook page last week. I'd stumbled across this quote and felt a surge of gratitude for Fred Rogers and all that he taught me. I used to watch him twice a day as a littlg girl. And one of the most important messages he gave me that I want to get out into the world is that we can talk about anything. That we need to talk about the things that overwhelm us and cause big feelings. That it is okay to talk about them. And that we can give ourselves the gift of seeking out the people who will help us learn how to share those feelings.
Over the last few days, I've been thinking about how important it is to create safe space so our loved ones can feel like they can share their feelings. When I write the words, "I really want you to know you aren't alone over there" in my newsletters and here at the top of my website, I deeply hope you feel that in your bones and you reach out to those who love you when you need them.
But I also want to admit that it can be hard to create this safe space sometimes, especially with those I love the most. My own feelings get messy and in the way and some days I'm just so tired. And it can be hard to ask for help, to risk the vulnerable feelings that come with saying, "Things don't feel okay right now."
This is why I turn to my practices in the midst of the messy that a day, a life, can bring.
I practice taking five deep breaths.
I practice feeling supported by the earth by standing outside barefoot, noticing my senses.
I practice connection by texting a trusted friend to say, "Today is really hard."
I practice releasing stories that no longer serve me to trees above me.
I practice feeling stronger than my mind tells me I am by standing in warrior pose with my feet firmly planted and my arms open wide to all that is to come.
So that when someone I love needs that safe space, I have enough reserves to realize it and say, "Do you want to sit down for a minute?" or "What do you need today?" or "What can I catch for you?" or "Do you need a glass of water or maybe even a hug?"
I practice so that I can be supported by myself and realize when I need support too.
I practice so that I remember that it's okay to tell the true stories.
And honey, if you find yourself not sure what to do as you read these words - maybe you feel alone or unsure of how to create that safe space or you feel overwhelmed at the thought of figuring out a practice - try bringing your hand to your heart and taking five deep breaths.
Just start right there.
I'll be over here breathing too.