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Gong shows - and other ways to cope

I think I feel asleep.”

I think you did too. I’ve been listening to you snore for 45 minutes.”

This conversation is pretty much all I remember from the one-and-only gong meditation I went to with unhitch co-founder and my good friend Meagan.

Sometimes I honestly forget we even did that, plus a whole list of other activities we tried, trips we took, books we read, movies we watched. All during the very trying, early moments of our separations and our attempts to feel “normal”. Or maybe just to feel. Anything.

(And yes, for the record, it was me who fell asleep. Meagan says she spent a big part of the hour-long event listening to me and another participant snore but also trying not to sob too loudly and disturb us.)

I think it’s fair to say that until those years, sound and gong meditation therapy was not normally something either of us would have sought out. But during my separation (and the years leading up to it) all I wanted was some quiet, a respite, a pause, anything, that would relax the vice-grip of anxiety around my heart.

Enter yoga, meditation, and heck yeah, hour-long gong therapy. When Meagan asked me if I wanted to go, I don’t think I even hesitated. We needed it. Or we just needed a soothing nap and a chill place to cry a little. Either way, it was a nice hour and a pleasant change of pace.

How to cope when you are too tired for … everything

The process of separation and divorce can make you feel desperate to find the right path, the right answers, toward healing or feeling better. Maybe toward just feeling less guilty, less unsure and less sad all the time. It can be disorienting, lonely, really stressful and a whole lot of other tough, draining feelings.

And we say this a lot, but for a reason: there really is no “right” way to do or handle this.

In our experience, just trying anything to feel better was the start of actually feeling better.

The “doing” of things kind of shook us up, got us out of the house, back into the practice of claiming some time for ourselves, moving our bodies and boosting that serotonin. And probably most helpful of all, gave us time with a good friend where we could cry and laugh at the same time if we wanted to.

Meagan and I tried all kinds of things in those early days. A lot of them we have kept up with.

We started holding “porch wine” with a couple of girlfriends, accommodating our need to gather but also our new limitations of not being able to leave the house because we were now solo parenting and not being able to spend so freely on cocktails and wine bars because of single incomes. We started running and doing in-studio and online yoga practice. We became clients of the same wonderful therapist. We talked to our doctors about our crushing anxiety and high blood pressure and all the treatment options to cope.

I painted, took dance classes, read books again, and listened to A LOT of podcasts. It’s possible after pandemic lockdowns that none of us will want to go for another walk again, but, there is something pretty restorative in popping in your headphones and turning on a podcast for a solo walk. I love Dear Sugars, Modern Love and The New Family.

Meagan redid her bathrooms, tore down wallpaper in her kitchen (and fell off the ladder—safety first, ladies!), started a new job, joined a trail-running group and started a weekly outdoor movie club on her lawn.

One time we drove to Grand Marais, 1.5-hours each way, just to have tacos and donuts while the kids were at school. We ate a lot of cheese and chocolate. We leaned into each other and our community of really good friends and neighbours.