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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dara

Dear Solitude and Sanity,

Where are you? I moved to Ashville to get closer to you, yet, somehow you have not felt in reach. Things keep moving fast, faster, and even faster. Not at the mountain Asheville pace (a more methodical, prettier mountain viewed, crisp aired, stop everything to hike organized pace) but at the South Florida crazy pace.

When we moved from Florida to Asheville, we got COVID, and it was the middle of a pandemic. We moved here with the intention of a more nature-filled, softer life. After my husband's career ending accident, my grandpa dying and the pandemic, I wanted to take on “meaningful” work that felt important. To get to connect with people differently but at the same time having my private practice. The mountain air also inspired me to start new projects despite my best efforts to slowwww down!

It started off balanced and sane. But somehow the intensity monster snuck in through the cracks of my imbalance–and found me. It is the same monster when left unattended that turns me into a MOMster. Seething in its intense attitude and screaming to myself in Satan's voice, “never good enough, never enough” and then acting irritable, impatient, and snarky with my family.

You know the drill, you take on a little and then doing anything less than ridiculous amounts feels weak. It is like trying to convince yourself a 3 mile run is considered exercise after you ran a marathon a few weeks ago.

My business did not happen by accident. I manifested it. My book coach, editor and literary goddess friend, Lesley, keeps telling me to only put out and say in the world exactly what I want or…The whole be careful what you wish for thing begins to happen.

Let’s be realistic–I wanted more, but how much more? My mind logically said to slow down, but my actions sped up…finish the planner, finish the book, do more work in the nursing homes, keep your private practice thriving, be at every soccer practice, do everything more, moRE, MORE–BETTER.

I kept hoping it was like a boomerang and the more I pulled back the more taut it would get to propel me forward. But this time was different. I got scared, scared it would pull back and break…

When clients describe this conflict, they describe it in the same way I felt. Scared to move and make change, yet scared to stay still and for nothing to change. I tell them it is growing pains and the boomerang doesn’t break–it moves back and propels forward with more force.

In my work with seniors at assisted living centers I meet some amazing humans. In my efforts to be of value and support to them, they have been a source of joy and wisdom to me. I am learning the answer is in the question. It is not what I should have done. It is what I could do NOW. They tell me how they wished they had not sweated the small stuff. They tell me their regrets of working too much and taking life too seriously. No one tells me they wish they had spent less time with their families or cared more of what other people thought.

A gentleman made me laugh hysterically because he made a comparison about shame for a toddler and a senior. He said, “a child gets on stage and picks their nose, they do not care about what others think, only to remove the uncomfortable booger out of their nose. A senior walks in a restaurant and loudly blows their nose or passess gas, A.K.A. farts, they are just doing what they have to do. They are not interested in other people’s opinions. It is somewhere in the middle of toddler and senior that we waste time getting stuck comparing our insides to other people’s outsides and having the self judgment that “we are not good enough”.

So, I asked him for the solution. He said, “stop, cease all ridiculous things that don’t bring you happiness and other people’s opinions of you are none of your business”. He asked me what I really wanted…

With my powerful intuition and magical manifestation powers I have been journaling and creating plans in my head to have more time to myself. I have been writing out my ideal schedule. And vois la, it happened. The scheduling Gods made space for me. My acupuncturist called with an opening and due to COVID, an assisted living center canceled on me. At first the thought of time alone felt peaceful, but then it actually became stressful!

I became anxiety ridden thinking the day would not work out. I shoulded all over myself with shaming thoughts of whether I should do more work, should write or should add in clients. I felt so out of sorts while considering whether or not to step out of my “norm”. Spontaneity used to be my middle name like when I used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. But, the voice in my head condemned me and shouted that taking time off was weak. I was in quicksand trying to move forward while neurotically lining up my kids' activities because heaven forbid if I forgot a detail and I had ventured out, someone would surely die!

So, I put the tightest bra on to try to keep it all together. Like that over the shoulder boulder holder would fasten it all in and keep me from losing my shit. That boomerang pulled so far back. But I kept showing up, with one foot in front of the other. I did exactly what I tell Olympic athletes–talk yourself through it with powerful affirmations step by step. I am joyfully loading my shit in the car. I am inhaling as I step up into my jeep and exhaling out what I no longer need. I am closing the door and inviting in what I want to take with me… And there they were waiting for me at my acupuncture appointment–solitude and sanity. I even bumped into one of their friends, humility, at the top of the isolated trail when another hiker walked right past me as I WAS PEEING behind a bush! Might I add, I had not seen a human the whole time while I was out there!

Thank you for the visit, solitude and sanity (and humility). Thank you for bringing your love, compassion, and inspiration. Thank you for the beautiful conversation about how we can stay closely connected and for the great news about you moving to Asheville! Thank you for insisting I lose the bra, the expectations, and the self judgment–no one else gives a crap, so why should I (and the guy that saw me peeing will be just fine!).

Cheers to nature and getting anchored in order to keep my S.H.I.F.T. together.


Your No bull-shiFt, mental fitness, advice giving, braless hiking, shame abolishing, health advocator and doer,

Dr. Dara

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