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Celegrieving Back to School

Well, it's back to school time here in Austin, and none too soon. Since it's too hot to enjoy any outdoor activities, it's best to send them back to school, I say! But this year is a little different, as it's filled with bitter-sweet feelings, or, as I've come to call it, celegrieving.  It's a thing. Feel free to use it.


Nate is now 18 and entering his senior year. It simultaneously feels like the right time and where-did-the-time-go. (This is the thing everyone warned me about when he was a toddler, and there's just no escaping it.)  Match that with Havia turning 16 tomorrow, getting her license, and attacking independence like it’s her job, and we have a lot to celegrieve in the Goulding house. Everything with Nate feels like a “last time,” and everything with Havia feels like “So long, suckers!” It’s also exactly what should happen. Nate should finish up living under our roof, and Havia should want to hit the road with the wind in her hair. (I’m not saying every kid should. This is simply true for mine as they’ve shown me.) We celebrate! And we grieve. We’re left with a divided anahata. Our heart chakras are open with hope-filled joy, and crushed by the weight of empty nesting in two short years. 


The hope and the fear live side-by-side as well. I’m reminded of Brené Brown’s writing about hope in Atlas of the Heart. She quotes a well-known researcher who says that in order to have hope, we have to have three things going for us: the ability to set goals, overcome obstacles, and believe in ourselves. I’d be lying if I said I never lay awake at 3am reminding myself to stay hopeful for Nate as he navigates choosing a college, getting accepted, and finding a path that suits him. As of now, we’re a bit rudderless. But we have reason to hope. (I dedicated a full episode of Jess on the Mountain to this in Hope is Not What I Thought It Was.)  And I certainly hope Havia is a good driver and is only encountered by other good drivers, but the fear is real! 


So are you celegrieving anything right now? Are you experiencing the joy and the pain simultaneously? Please accept my virtual high-five and hug. This is the yoga.  It is the joining together of seeming opposites. Union of sun and moon, self and divine, yin and yang. And we hold the uncomfortable pose of celegrieving long enough to allow the transformation. Or, as my friend and fellow podcaster Christine Rodriguez said in a recent episode,

“Sit in the discomfort of becoming a new way of being.”  


Yep, we’re sittin’ in it. This is what it is to evolve, or to allow for evolution. 


We are going to take these concepts and see them in action in the Galapagos Islands, March 2-9. We will see the inspiration for our contemporary understanding of how life works. We will touch history, and know it’s within ourselves as well. We will see what sustainable tourism looks like, and be inspired to nurture our own little plots of earth and the creatures in our care. I am prepared to celegrieve, loving the paradise that is thriving, and mourning the paradise that is burning. (My heart goes out to all our brothers and sisters in Hawaii, and I know you join me in this.)


May you enter each day with an openness to celebrate and grieve, may you know you are never alone in this, and may you have hope as you hold these opposites in your heart. 

Much love

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