Sitting with it all

For as long as I can remember my coping mechanism has been to go outside and run, bike and or get lost in nature. Sad? Go on a long bike ride. Angry? Go out and run really hard. In a funk? Head to the climbing gym or local boulders. However last Saturday, after a full week of both celebrating Max and honoring Spirit B, my heart and body felt super heavy and disconnected from each other. I felt confused, frustrated and betrayed by my own self. “I have been processing this for six years, and dedicating so much to this, why am I still so…. drained and sad?” I asked Jason. 

We had planned separate solo training missions that day but had both woken up in a funk and had spent the morning not being the nicest to each other. There had been petty fights that created a lingering sadness between us. 

“We are both just emotionally drained. It has been a BIG week Chelsey,” he said. My 4 year old self was kicking walls and pouting but my 38 year old self knew that he was right. I drew a deep breath in and sat down next to him. I was sick of crying (I had been spontaneously crying all week). All I wanted to do was to check the “grieve and process” box off my to-do list and go on my planned training ride.

“Chelsey, I know you love to physically move in order to process your grief, but I think this is different. This is the aftermath of a week of processing. We’ve been working so hard on honoring Spirit, celebrating Max and showing our boys the magic of it all. Today, we may just need to sit and focus on ourselves and each other. Self care”, he sighed as he watched me stretch while he was talking, “does not always mean exercise or keeping ourselves busy. Maybe we are at the point that sitting here and talking to one another IS our self care.” 

I looked outside at the beautiful sunny day. He was already three hours late to his fat bike mission, and I was an hour late to my planned VO2 Max work out.  My muscles felt good, but everything else felt like I had just completed an expedition race. My mind couldn’t make decisions and my heart felt like it was full of heavy sand, weighing the rest of my body down. “Sit with me for a while Chelsey and let’s see how the day unfolds.” 

For our entire four hours of babysitting time, we cuddled and talked about everything that was on our minds and hearts. I can’t remember the last time we had done that and it felt so good. We didn’t get any work or training done that day, but I know that work or a hasty training ride is not the stuff that sticks to our memory or that makes a relationship stronger. I know that spending quality time together is what creates lasting and meaningful connections that can send ripples into other areas of our lives. 

A few hours later, after Max and Revel were home. Max (our super intuitive and empathic boy) said “Mama, when your and Daddy’s hearts are happy, my heart and Revel’s heart lights up.”  He could feel the change of energy in the house and so could I. My body, heart and mind felt lighter and more open. That night Jason started getting to work on mapping out a new fat bike mission that we both could do. Two days later – lighter and happier – we headed out on a beautiful 6 hour ride in a new place. It was one of my favorite rides of the whole year. That night as we were cooking dinner, Jason said “You know, I’m really glad we both stayed home the other day. Because of that, I found this new area to explore with you. Thank you for sitting with me that day.” 

I realized that day that I didn’t always have to “run” or “ride” with my feelings to be able to process them. Sometimes it was just as effective to be able to sit with them, and as hard as it is, to talk them through with someone else. 

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