Finding Peace in the In-Between
Nina Herndon
August 22, 2021
August 16, 2023
Be Inspired

For the last two and a half months, I have felt stuck in-between the pages. Held captive in the empty whitespace between my last chapter and my next, wondering if there will ever be new words to carry me forward.

On April 24, 2021, I got married. Exactly one month later I returned from a family vacation and did the most honest and terrifying thing I could do: I quit my job to start my own business. I was relieved, excited, and hopelessly optimistic. And then, life happened. My plan that I held so tightly between my fingers, fell apart.

Unwilling to let myself fall apart with my plans, I mended the cracks with all the things I “should” do
  • Be happy
  • Do the right thing
  • Withhold my feelings
  • Rest
  • Stick to what I know
  • Know what I’m doing
  • Keep the house clean
  • Work harder

I applied every single should to each crack carefully as if it were superglue. I put a smile on my face and believed I was happy. I “did the right thing” for someone who didn’t return the favor. I was given opportunity after opportunity to speak my truth, and instead, I withheld my feelings. I took time to rest. I made a plan to stick to what I know. I didn’t ask for help. I kept the house beautiful. I worked harder.

Before long my smile had faded. Feelings of anger and sadness began erupting from all the places I’d shoved them. Thoughts and feelings that I had denied turned into words that I couldn’t hold back. Bingeing on reality TV became an escape from my own reality, while piles of laundry and dishes and clutter brought me back to the present moment. The glue that I was using to hold myself together was anything but super.

And then the other day, as a post from Morgan Harper Nichols came across my screen, tears poured down my face. It felt like her words were speaking directly to me. It was a reminder that doing all these things I thought I“should” do to keep me together, keep me whole, keep me safe — were only keeping me from falling apart. And I needed to fall apart.

I’ve realized that I’m not stuck in between the pages of my story. I’m just in a chapter where I am in between.

I believe that I am being invited me to fall apart and to trust as I step into a journey of the unknown. Which, I am remembering, is actually one of the best places to be.

Things That Help Me Find Peace

  • I listen to guided meditations on Insight Timer first thing in the morning (my favorite meditations are from Sarah Blondin).
  • I try to follow a bedtime routine, adding “Downtime” to my phone and swapping out my nightly TikTok binge for reading non-digital books in bed.
  • I continue to see my therapist every other week.
  • I work steps 10, 11, and 12 in my program of recovery to the best of my ability.
  • I try to look at the things I thought I “should” do as things I “can” do.
  • I am working on doing what I can with what I have.
  • I pray.
  • I ask for help.

It’s certainly helping. And I’m still learning. But unlike a month ago, today I am hopeful for what’s to come, instead of keeping myself busy doing all the things I thought I should do.

Like Morgan says, “You are free to take this moment by moment, and see the wholeness of it all: some things will be difficult. Some things will be easier….But altogether, these mountains and valleys create a landscape, where somehow, through it all, everything finds its place.

If you find yourself in a place where you feel like you are trying so hard to hold things together, I invite you to let go and fall apart. Step into the unknown.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Nina Herndon

Nina believes women have an incredible ability to help one another, and is driven to cultivate safe spaces for them to do so. Over the years she has helped her mom to grow Retreat in the Pines to reach as many women as possible.

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