Updated: Mar 24
Managing the space between your perfect vision and reality = identifying attachments.
This topic falls right in line with instagram vs. reality. The highlight reels are lovely, but I can't help but wonder if seeing 'only' the pretty, polished end result, keeps us perpetuated in a potential state of comparison and let down. If there isn't awareness on the life filter that's being applied, it could be an emotional trap.
I found myself pondering these thoughts after a quick two-day trip to California for my co-authored book launch. The anticipation of being in Beverly Hills on Oscars weekend left me feeling simultaneously in a space of ummm, whose life is this? And, what am I doing, I don't even really like crowds - or anything 'celebrity.' Knowing though, that I couldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate with my co-authors and take a beat to shift out of my day-to-day comfort zone. The trip was an all-in YES for me, and I booked it.
So while the highlight reel might have shown this:
My reality was this:
A deep immersion in understanding where my attachments live, unearthing them, and sitting with the aftermath - accepting each moment as it arrived, and trying desperately not to 'wish' it was anything other than what it was!
Also, as part of my reflection - I realize that many of the things I am going to share aren't actual 'problems' - well, one of them really was - but experiencing that contrast, truly helped me put some stuff in perspective.
I arrived in Orange County after two flights and headed straight to the rental car pick-up deep in the bowels of the airport basement. See also: Sketch. The car was listed on paper as orange, but the wonderful lady at the counter assured me it was likely bronze. "It matches my handbag, I am good!" I cheerfully expressed, grateful to have my own transportation and not having to wait nervously for an Uber.
I've come a long way in understanding my anxiety and what it is trying to tell me in the moment. For many years - it was deeply rooted trauma that lived in my body, constantly signaling that I wasn't safe. Through years of healing work, therapy and self-reflection - I am able to manage it, but traveling alone is equal parts liberating and terrifying for me. I believe in exposing myself to the stuff that brings up the most fear - to learn more about myself and to help shift the wiring. It may sound like torture, but my most profound growth lives here.
Up pulls a bright orange, seven-year-old, squeaky braked Tiguan. Hmmmm, I thought, am I renting through Turo or Hertz? It was the latter, but I brushed it off - it was a bundle deal through Expedia. Just, keep, going. I arrived to Balboa Bay resort and immediately felt out of my element. I am not really a fancy gal, but I do love me some good amenities. I followed the sea of Rolls-Royce and Benz's up to the front of the building, not realizing there was a self-parking option - Valet greeted me, took my car and left me holding my bag. Hmmmm, it's three hours until check-in, why on earth did I just hand over my car? Whatever, Lauren. Keep going.
I am sharing my internal narrative to illustrate how resistance shows up for me, when I am out of my element it's harder for me to stay in my heart and out of my head - as I am on high alert. I am grateful to be able to notice when it's happening, shift to my breathing, and take a moment - adrenaline can really wreck havoc on the nervous system.
"Your room isn't available for early check-in Miss Tatro, but feel free to explore the property and enjoy your stay! We will call you when your room is ready and can hold your bag at the desk." That sounded lovely, I dropped off my bag, and went to the cafe for a yummy salad, some overnight oats and a coconut water. I was excited to have so many vegan options, and set up shop by the pool. I popped in my earbuds, called my sis and started in on my late lunch. "Sister, there isn't any way you aren't coming with me next time, I am uncomfortable..."I shared as she confirmed the same and reassured me that I am OK and can totally do this.
Okay, I can do this, I am calm, everything is fine. Also simultaneously feeling, then why doesn't it feel fine?? I know, I'll go get a massage. Why not, I could use one. Just as I was going to call and see what was available, I received a notification that my bonus-mom sent me a book-launch gift, a Venmo arrived for a massage at the resort! YES, how perfect. I sat with that gratitude in-awe of the generosity and timing. Tipping my hat to the universe, and the beautiful people in my life.
"We happen to have a spot open in 15 minutes if you can make it!" I grabbed my belongings and headed to the spa. And, because I know you don't have 2.5 hours to read through the play by play of my entire trip - I am going to condense in a few places.
The massage was epic, and when I emerged my room was ready. Ahhhhh, home away from home. I can get used to this. Do not disturb on the door and let's get unpacked. The sun was shining through the balcony, the bed was comfy - and I was ready to settle in. Pushing away this freaking weirdness about valet, what the heck is that?? I had this feeling of being trapped, even though at any given time I could easily go down, hand over my ticket and be on my way.
Clearly this had nothing to do with valet, and something else was bubbling up. After another yummy salad, a nice bath and my nighttime routine was done - I found myself texting my husband "I feel sad." Knowing, he was 3 hours ahead and likely sound asleep, I just needed to express it.
Followed by, why do I feel sad? Get some sleep Lauren. Stop. OK OK OK. Yes, sleep, I am just tired. I had a great night sleep and woke up the next morning - book launch event day - excited?! I had a scheduled blow out at dry bar, so grateful that I didn't have to do my own hair. I kept replaying the 'stuff' I had planned that day in an effort to 'get excited' and it just never came. In fact, I couldn't stop crying.
I am big on letting my feelings pass through without judgement and not trying to attach a story to them - so they don't get stuck on replay in my mind. I had a good cry, did a somatic healing session on Gaia with Sah D'Simone, took a cold shower and slammed a ginger-turmeric shot for good measure. There, okay, now I feel more connected to my body, and my mind is less agitated. I am ready to do this.
Yes, sometimes I really have to pull out all the self-care stops to remind myself not to leave my body with my thoughts. This was one of those times.
And just like that, it was time for my hair appointment! Off I went, across the lot to the spa building. It was such a lovely experience and I was already starting to feel better with freshly done hair. And then it happened.
Enter, the real problem - not the poor me, valet trapped, old car, room not-ready narrative clearly rooted in attachments.
I have what my Ophthalmologist considers geriatric eyes. Retinal thinning and all. I am able to correct my vision to 20/20 with contacts and glasses, but without them I just may run into a wall. Any optical 'events' are considered an emergency for me as I am high-risk for retinal detachment.
All of a sudden, any time I moved my right eye looking up, down, or side to side - I saw a flash and outline of a circle.
What the heck is this, I thought. Okay - it will pass, maybe I just had too much neck pressure from the sink, it did feel super uncomfortable. You're okay, this will pass.
Except, it didn't. And now I was freaking out.
I went back to my room and called my husband in a panic - he urged me to call my doc, which I did. One foot in front of the other, was all I could do.
"If you were home right now, I would have you come in right now, this is considered an emergency and I need you to find an eye doctor out there and get seen immediately." Said Casey, the helpful nurse on the other end of the phone.
I am going to puke.
No I am not, just keep going.
"Okay, can you please help me find someone that is in network - I have no idea how my eye insurance works out here." That she did.
America's Best, for the win - we found a spot 15 minutes away and they were able to get me in. Meanwhile, I had to travel 1.5 hours North to get to Beverly Hills for my event and at this point was already going to be running about 30 minutes late. Am I forcing this?? Am I not meant to go?? Stop. Just take care of the next, most important thing.
"I don't see any signs of detachment, but if anything changes or gets worse I need you to go straight to the E.R." The eye doc said, as I found myself taking a deep breath.
Okay, well - I am heading North, and 2 hours later, in the pouring rain, California traffic, and my bright orange VW - I made it.
I sat in my car before going in. This was supposed to 'feel' so different, I thought. I need to open my heart to welcome in all of these new connections, and in reality - all I wanted to do was crawl in the backseat, cry, click my heels, and be back home.
The next 2 hours felt like a blur. Camera flashes, oh shit - It's my turn to get up and say a few words. Everyone's speech is making me cry - how am I going to do this? Just keep going.
I mustered up all I could, which in truth, was all about the humbling honor it was to be standing in the presence of such amazing, inspiring women - a quick congratulations to everyone, with gratitude for the experience and back to my seat I ran.
Now let me tell you, this event was 'perfect' - the energy in the room was fabulous, the excitement, the attention to detail, the beautiful cake with our book cover artfully added to the delicious top layer. Pinch me, no really, please - I can't feel anything right now. As someone who used to try and escape reality with alcohol and food - I won't let myself escape in the ways I used to. Sit with it. Be present. Keep going.
Knowing that I had to make the trip back down, still in the pouring rain, and now dark - with the optical nonsense still distracting my every move, as the event was starting to wind down I took off. Excited to grab my favorite salad from the cafe, do a quick live video announcing our best-seller status and my first-ever workshop.
No one needs to 'see' how distraught I am, I can do this.
Arriving, now immensely grateful for valet, and not giving a hoot about anything other than the fact that I didn't have to go to the ER - I was ready to relax. The cafe was closed, so I enjoyed some guac and a salad from room service and recorded my video after chowing down on my first bite of food since breakfast. In fact, head on over to Facebook and check out my video - you'll likely notice the not-so-subtle, adjustment to clear any potential food from view in my mouth! Yep, we're surviving at this point - but let's show the THRIVING!
You guys, this is how it goes. In all places, every where. A constant portrayal of having 'everything together' and sometimes, it's the absolute truth!! And other times, staying the course 'as planned' and pushing out that video with all the energy one can muster - is a nod to the fact that we can do 'hard things.'
It's also the reminder that it's a choice. I was committed to it, and wasn't going to let any or all set backs keep me from charging ahead.
Wait a minute, am I doing too much? Is this drive and ambition rooted in something deeper related to my sense of worth? Stop Lauren. We've done enough shadow work for today.
I packed everything up, ready to practically sleep the night at the airport because I couldn't get home fast enough - and arrived extra early to drop off my rental and get in line at security. So early in fact, that security wasn't open. Which, didn't bother me in the least, because I was one step closer to home.
Two flights, and a three-hour layover later, I was connecting to Albany in the tiniest plane ever. 45 minutes waiting on luggage, I watched two kids and their Dad with hand-made signs waiting for their mom.
Rosy, party of one! The thoughts began flooding in. OMG my kids and husband are here waiting for me and this is going to be the most magical reunion.
Well, my husband doesn't like parking out in front of the airport - because you technically aren't supposed to. Aren't I worth breaking all the rules??? I was so annoyed because I had to wait an extra few minutes. And managed to greet the person I was MOST excited to see, the one whom I feel safest with, with a snotty "why weren't you waiting out front, you won't get in trouble."
Great to see you too babe, as the annoyance and hurt washed over his face.
I was completely in the space of attachment to a fantasy - that I absolutely missed the moment for what it was. My husband, who had been holding down the fort, plane ticket on standby if I couldn't fly due to my eye, kids in tow - ready for bed, but excited for mama - and I sat in my exhausted annoyance. STILL feeling justified for my disappointment.
Needless to say, my homecoming felt icky. I forged ahead beyond those feelings and focused all of my love on seeing the kids. We got them to bed and I started unpacking - so grateful to be home, and asking my husband if he was okay.
"Does this have something to do with how I greeted you at the airport?" As the words left my mouth, it all came flooding in. Awareness. Of course it does, you were a jerk to him.
Two days of bottled up anxiety, sadness, fear and disappointment came flying at him. And as we sat, unpacking it all, I let my armor come down. I reflected deeply on my behavior, and found myself incredibly grateful for such a supportive husband.
Y'all sometimes support doesn't always appear in the form of hand-made signs and the perfect breeze through your hair for the best instagram photo.
Sometimes, most times, support comes from the nurse on the other end of the phone - going the extra mile to find a doctor in-network. The person sitting next to you on the flight who takes a brief moment to say hi and wish you safe travels. The trusty car that despite its appearances, still gets you where you are going safely. The person across the country thinking of the best way to honor you in that moment, whether with a massage or a text message of support. And, most of all, the one's closest to us - trying to read our minds, hold down the fort, emergency plans on standby - excited to pull up from down the street to greet us just a few moments later then we may have wanted.
This is support.
The rest, is noise.
The rest is attachment to some kind of expectation that isn't reality.
And that's it, that's the post. The gritty reflection on two-days of feeling every emotion possible.
Keep it all in perspective, feel the feels, communicate and keep it moving. This too shall pass.
And remember, when you find yourself comparing 'your reality' to the highlight reels - NO ONE can escape the human experience. And, it's extremely likely that what you are seeing is the tip of a messy iceberg.
You can get a copy of our co-authored book here.