Return to your roots

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When I launched the People First Project, I was inspired to return to my roots. At the time I imagined this theme only pertaining to my work life. I never thought it would spill into my family or that my family would spill into my roots. But, as I remind my clients on the daily, we aren't as compartmentalized as we wish we were.

Life is always happening, and your willingness to not merely witness that happening but be with it fully can be the difference-maker between a lived and unlived life. It won't always be convenient. Those pretty memes won't always capture life perfectly, and there will be nights you go to bed with a heavy heart.

But. (Yes, but). There is always the light. It's simply how we're built. We are built for both. The light can come through a slight crack and it can be easy to miss. I am not talking about "seeing the bright side" or maintaining a "positive attitude." There are days when that will not suffice.

As I sat with my mom in the throes of something I wasn't sure she could survive, I was receiving texts and messages from close friends and family offering me their support. These helped. These helped a lot. Yet no amount of "I am so sorry this is happening" can take away the pierce of potentially losing one of the most important people in your life.

Then I realized, I don't need this to be taken away. Because if you take it away you also take away the light that began to pour through the cracks.

The honesty my siblings and I resorted to and the conversations we were having for the first time - light.

My extended family who I haven't seen in over 5 years opening their home for my family and giving us a place to call home for over two weeks - light.

My mother reconnecting with her sisters because they refused to leave her side - light.

The neurosurgeon who saved my mom's ability to walk and write - light.

My clients who poured compassion toward me and gave me grace because I needed to take time away from my work - light.

Crawling into my mom's hospital bed and laughing and telling her how much I love her - light.


I am still processing this month. I am in no rush to integrate it all at once, because then I would miss some of the subtleties that made something so scary into something scary AND full of grace.

It's in our darkest hour that we learn the most about who we are, and who the people we surround ourselves with are. I cherish the dark hour because it is our greatest teacher, if we let it be. I could have turned away from it all. I could have shut down and believed the stories fueled by fear flooding my mind. I could have refused to ask for help or support and trudged through this alone.

But why?

As I shared with my aunties I am now reconnected with, "Life is filled with plenty of suffering without our even trying. I certainly don't need to add to it..." When I decided I wanted to return to my roots I thought it would mean getting back to the basics with my work. Cutting out out all the noise I was tired of listening to and simply showing up for others.

I had no clue that returning to my roots would also mean cutting out all the noise of what really doesn't matter and letting others simply show up for me.

I had no clue that it would be honoring what really matters in my life and giving myself massive doses of permission to see through the veil we all wear from time to time that says to the world, "I got this. Perfection happening over here."

I had no idea that I would get to love people even more fiercely because I got to see what, in my darkest hour, what people are really capable of when you let them show you LOVE. If these are my roots, I think I'll hang out in here for a while. But I will happily relinquish my makeshift hospital office.

Andrea Wilborn