My healing process has shined a glaringly bright light on the many emotions I experience each day. Two that seemed to show up quite regularly (and still can), are fear and criticism. I was white knuckled and extremely hard on myself, especially when it came to my desire to heal faster. I thought if I controlled every little thing, including my emotions, that I could will anything undesirable away. This would make my whole body tense, like my grip on life was literally so tight I couldn’t breathe. I was drowning in fear but the thing is, I couldn’t will or reason any of it away. I could not steer the ship no matter how tight I held on. It just made the whole journey harder. The breakthrough moment came when I decided to let go. It’s cliche, but it’s everything. I threw up my hands, exhaled and surrendered to the ride. Then I made the choice to truly love myself which I now realize was something I had never done. I was resisting everything. I was so tense and anxious that the fear was more debilitating than my actual symptoms. The fear and anxiety were making me more sick. Then, I would exacerbate the experience, beating myself up for not being able to do all of it better. So many of us have been here and don’t I know, it’s not easy.
Early on in my illness journey I did a meditation with my homeopath. Once I was calm and relaxed, he asked me where I felt the most pain. To my surprise (kind of), many of my symptoms had subsided while I was in this peaceful place but there was an intense pressure and pain in my head. All of my attempts to be in control had created the most unnecessary burden. A thought bomb in my head that felt like it was going to explode. But I struggled to unleash those thoughts and I struggled to remain in that peaceful place. This was my lesson. This was my greatest challenge.
When I let go of my tight grip, when I learned to love myself instead of criticizing my inadequacies, the light started to pour in. This allowed me to surrender to my journey and that surrender was followed by acceptance which was followed by moments of peace and the first glimmers of joy and hope that I had felt in a long time. That tight gripped life had landed me in a really dark place but I needed to be there; to break, so the light could pour in.
My health journey started to take on a beautiful purpose. It had allowed me to become aware. It broke me down so I could breakthrough all the BS and learn to love myself.
There was and is nothing easy about letting go of that tight grip. It’s very different to accept our emotions with love instead of a desire to control them. I mean, what does that even mean? For the longest time, I had no clue. I was able to intellectualize the idea of loving myself. Of letting go. Of surrendering. I understood all of it but I couldn’t put it all together. My mind liked being in control and tried really hard to keep that tight grip until I learned to love myself through it.
Here is what loving myself and my emotions looks like for me.
I Deeply Love and Respect Myself. Read More of the power of connecting with yourself.
I feel my chest and my body start to tense. I get a lump in my throat and it often feels hard to breathe. I can’t eat. My stomach feels all knotted up.
The old me used to freak out. What’s wrong with me, I would think.
This train of thought never went anywhere positive.
Now, I look at these symptoms very differently. This is my body’s way of expressing the emotions I am feeling. My body is talking to me.
I break it down. I let go of my grip (I can physically feel this) and my arms relax. That’s followed by my neck and my chest as I breathe and choose to be aware instead of holding on and freaking out.
I start to ask questions to truly understand what I am feeling.
Am I scared? I think so. Even sad and maybe angry?
I remind myself, with a the same gentle voice that I use to speak to my little guy, “It’s okay sweetie. There is nothing wrong with these emotions. You’re going to be okay. Let’s talk about it”.
Then I ask more questions of myself.
Why are you feeling scared?
“I am scared, I say. I’m scared I’ll always be sick.”
Then the gentle voice answers, “I understand, that’s a scary thought but it’s not necessarily true and don’t you think you’ll feel better if you breathe and relax?”
I start to breathe and I relax. I feel love and peace.
This goes on many times throughout my day. It’s quite miraculous as I have never heard this gentle voice before. I feel so loved. This is everything!
We Have a Choice
We can chose to hold on tight and drown into our fear and anxiety, or we can surrender to the journey with love and courage. I chose the latter and I am truly healing because of it.
I’ll leave you with this. A few months ago, during meditations, I would see an image of myself, in a boat, on a shore. The sky was dark, the sea was black and I was holding on, curious about what might be “out there” but too scared to let go.
Now, that scene has shifted. I still see myself in a boat but I have let go. I am floating freely in the waves. Cloaked in a blanket of love that provides me with constant nurturing. I’m resting back, legs crossed, the salty sea breeze kissing my skin. I am free, enjoying the trip and not looking for the shore. The sky looks like dusk or dawn, still dark but I know the sun will shower me with light soon. For now, I’ll be patient and content. I am healing. For now, I’ll choose joy.
With love, empathy and compassion,