Where do I begin??
I’m on a journey of sorts – I suppose my own “hero’s journey”. It has felt like a long one… it’s definitely not over and it definitely didn’t start out this way. And I’m bringing you in right in the middle. Sorry about that. I’ve been planning on doing this for a while. But the words played out in my head instead of on “paper”. Until now…
Just like most in things in life, the hardest step is the first one. So, I decided today that I’m just going to start. And while this path has been and will continue to be a deeply personal one for me, hopefully there will be a shard of a fact or an experience that I share as I continue to work on connecting the dots in my own life that will help you connect the dots in yours.
I originally thought of this journey as a recent one. It started out as an adventure to try to determine if I wanted to relocate from the city that’s been my home for the last 20+ years. I have been feeling frustrated there for a while… Divorced now for eight years. Children no longer at home. My parents have both passed. The obligations and responsibilities that have kept me rooted in place are no longer there. So, I made the decision to put everything in storage, rent short-term furnished housing in other cities that I found interesting, and explore whether I could find happiness and contentment and relief from some physical concerns somewhere else. I wanted to find “home”.
Yet again, as with many things in life, this too has become more than it seems. It’s evolved into something quite different. More involved. Sometimes more obscure. Yet revealing in ways I hadn’t imagined.
You see, the actual journey has been a much longer one. I have felt like my body has been betraying me for years. I struggled with anorexia in college. Then, after years of being “healthy”, as my marriage began to fail and my parents became ill, the weight and the depression crept on and in. And while I’ve resolved certain aspects that have plagued my health (I’m now at a healthy weight and no longer suffer from depression), I have continued to be impacted by sometimes life-altering IBS. I’ve become a slave to bathrooms, to handfuls of supplements, to chasing fixes through a myriad of treatment options, to borderline obsession with everything I put in my mouth. I find myself in a place where food, one our most basic survival needs, something that is supposed to be life-giving and nourishing, hurts.
In the last few months however, I have begun to connect a dot – a vitally important link that I believe will lead to connecting the rest of dots.
When I am happy, when I am fulfilled, when I am fully present doing something I love, when I am mindful even in the face of conflict, my body performs. It works. It doesn’t hurt. It supports me well. The incessant screams as it tries desperately to get my attention are silenced or at least become much more manageable muted background noise.
The challenge I now face is replicating it. Sustaining it. Resolving the conflicts and thought patterns and learned behaviors and old wounds that have contributed to the physical and emotional whispers that when ignored became nuisances and ultimately deafening discomfort and pain. I’m discovering that what I thought were missing pieces, those of healing and happiness, aren’t missing at all. And they have much less to do with where I am than with what I’m thinking and feeling and doing while I’m there.
This is a journey to embrace the process of healing… in all its forms. Of letting go of fear. Of discovering boundaries. Of pressing the edges of my comfort zone. Of challenging my beliefs about what I’m capable of. Of finding out how much I really need. Of emotionally trusting my intuition. Of believing in myself. Of learning not be afraid of the unknowns in life. Of letting go of the need to try to control absolutely everything in order to perpetuate the illusion that it would keep me safe. And most importantly, of trusting my own courage and embracing the knowledge that I’ve been able to keep myself safe all along.
To my children and my family, you may not want to read this. It will be intimately revealing. And if I embarrass you or make you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. My experiences, the multitude of modalities I’ve tried in an effort to feel better, the effects that all of this has had on my body… well, it’s sometimes messy and embarrassing and uncomfortable. Yet, I’m hopeful that by sharing my successes and missteps and the lessons gleaned, the process of connecting the dots will be shortened for someone else. And healing will finally begin… What a blessed relief that would be.