I turned 38 yesterday and my greatest gift was one that I gave to myself. It’s the opportunity to continue to re-write my story. To un-knot my chains. It’s a rebirth of sorts. One that I aim to offer myself daily with compassion and love. A surrender to my brokenness that is coupled with gratitude. Gratitude for each day which offers me the chance to gently pick up the pieces and, one by one, put them back together in a more authentic and loving way. You see, three years ago, on my 35th birthday, my body gave me a wake-up call. An array of random symptoms that included stomach troubles, nephropathy, migraines, joint pain, vision issues and all around fatigue. This led me on a difficult year long journey that ended with a diagnosis of Chronic Lyme a few days before my 36th birthday. I spent that year frenetically jumping from doctor to doctor, trying EVERYTHING I could to beat this disease. Trying to will it away with determination. Then, the stress of it all along with the high-dose antibiotic protocol I had been on for a year, landed me in the emergency room the eve of my 37th birthday. Sadly, I said hello to my 37th year in a hospital gown feeling helpless and broken. It was defeating to say the least. I hit rock bottom. But, the good thing about being that broken is that the only way out is up. I was ready to surrender to my brokenness and to give myself the chance to rebuild.
So here I am. It’s been another year. I have surrendered to my illness as well as my flaws and I’m learning that less is more. I am healing. Slowly. I am learning that slow is good. Slow and patient is necessary. What a revelation that has been for this frenetic, fast-paced girl. I can’t control everything. “Head down, grit it out” only made me more sick.
When A Burden Becomes a Gift
When I was diagnosed with Lyme I chose to believe that this was gifted to me for a reason. That I had lessons to learn from the experience and when I learned the lessons I would be free of it – literally or metaphorically. Oh, the lessons I have learned and continue to learn. I am not free of this quite yet but the progress I have made is awesome. I never imagined I could feel immense gratitude for something that has and likely will be one of the greatest challenges of my life.
Once I allowed myself to truly surrender, to dive deep, I realized that my symptoms were signs. They were my bodies way of communicating with me. Clearly, I was not listening for a really long time.
In hindsight I realize that this is so sad. I was mistreating my body and my soul. It was begging to be heard and loved and I did not prioritize it. I did not prioritize myself.
Listen, Your Body is Speaking
It’s easy to ignore the messages. Life is so demanding and fast paced. This is why it is so important to say YES to stillness. To embrace the silence. I avoided the silence for a really long time because I was scared to listen. I knew it would be painful. This is why one of my Top 5 Intentions for the New Year is to welcome silence. When I choose stillness it is so healing. I cry often as there are so many wounds that need tending to. Wounds that were ignored for too long.
The Knotted Chain
My stomach is literally in knots and that makes sense when you think about it. The knots represent small moments of trouble as well as years of fear, guilt, shame, anger, sadness and more. We all have them. Individually tour knots may seem small but, after years they grow tighter and they build up until it feels impossible to unwind them. It’s like the thin gold chain you had as a child. It’s been tossed around, year after year. You happen upon it’s worn and torn case and open it, surprised to find that it’s knotted up in many places. You fumble with it for a moment, hoping you can quickly unwind it but you know that the damage is done. The only way to revive that chain, to loosen the knots, is patience and relaxation. It will take time.
I ignored my chain then I fought with it. I tried to will it loose and the knots became tighter.
So now, one by one, I am tending to them. I am breathing. I am being patient. I am being gentle and loving and little by the little, my chain is coming undone. I am healing and you can too.
In the stillness, the brokenness, I can feel the light pouring in.