I’ve been absent for a while. But my self-imposed sabbatical is ending.

So where have I been?

I did a lot of traveling in September and October, attended two amazing workshops, and was a bridesmaid in my oldest friend’s wedding in CA.

And while all of these events were positive, fun, uplifting, and amazing in their own way, they drained me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The two workshops I attended were very eye-opening in many ways, full of a lot of emotions and revelations. The weekend in L.A. for the wedding was filled with a lot of time spent with both old and new friends.

Oh, and let’s not forget that my son moved out on his own in September. Even though I’m happy for him and was ready for it, it was still a huge change for me. After having either children and/or a husband living with me for the past 28 years, I had time to really process all the changes I’ve gone through in the past few years since my divorce.

In the past, I would have just ignored the effect it all had on me. Like the energizer bunny, I would have kept on going and going and going. I would have stuffed down all of the emotions that came with all these things.

And I would have paid a high price for it. I would have crashed and burned.

Thankfully I have grown a lot over the past few years and realized that I needed to take a step back and process it. Sit with it. Really feel all of it.

I’ve spent time with my friends and I’ve reconnected with some old friends. I went to a Georgia football game (thank God they won that one!). My little grandson spent last weekend with me. I’ve watched movies, I read a novel (that was huge because all I’ve read over the past year are business-related books!), I rearranged my house.

I let myself feel things I haven’t felt in many, many years. I started really getting back in touch with a part of me that’s been buried for most of my adult life.

And I came to the realization of just how much I’ve lived in my head most of my life. Even though I’ve “known” that for the past year or so, I didn’t truly get it until now. Because I was still too much in my head.

Blue-AbstractI’ve talked to other women about what I’ve been going through, and I’ve discovered that many of us live this way – in our heads and stuffing down our feelings, even after we become aware that we’re doing it. Seems to be a hard habit to break.

Why have we done this? I think a big part of it is because our lives are so busy, so hectic, and so full of noise. And to avoid really feeling things, we escape into things like television and the Internet, which are readily available 24/7. Or we medicate ourselves when we do start to feel something, because truly feeling our emotions can be so uncomfortable.

And if we do show too many of our emotions, we feel selfish and think we’re weak. Or we think that others will see us as weak. We judge ourselves, or we worry that others will judge us.

So we rarely stop long enough to sit in the silence and really feel. Oh, we might feel things on a superficial level for a brief moment, but it’s usually a fleeting thing, a whisper in the wind.

It takes courage to really feel things on a deep, gut level. It can be scary as hell, too, especially when we haven’t done it in a very long time.

I’m finding that it’s the only way to live life to its fullest. To really experience life on all levels. The highs and the lows, the good, the bad, the disappointing, the heartbreaking, the exhilarating.

But it all makes life much richer and rewarding. Especially when you are afraid to feel but you do it anyway.

That’s when you know what real courage is.

And that’s when relationships become intimate and deep on levels that many of us have never experienced.

That’s what I’m looking for. And I won’t settle for anything less. Ever again.

When’s the last time you really sat and moved into your feelings, instead of pushing them away? What did it feel like? How did people around you react?