Work in Progress

Earlier this week I spoke about how incredible I felt having completed Gabby Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles 40-day guidebook. Her words of wisdom have been so impactful and I am grateful to have her lessons in my life.

Now though, I think I may have been a bit high on the excitement of having completed the guidebook. I see that I am still very much in the beginning phase of my wellness journey and still have quite a road ahead of me.

Three days ago I was pretty pepped about my shiny future and was at ease by the uncertainty ahead of me. In particular, I had momentarily stopped worrying about my near-ending-employment, the fact that I have to move soon, my ongoing health challenges, and my finances to support those three items. Today that seems miraculous because the weight of those items feels elephant sized.

Despite that initial zing, the next day I was panic flipping through rental and job listings for places and positions I don’t really want. Just as quickly as I had announced my bff relationship status with uncertainty, I turned around and tried to rekindle my dependency to my old pals certainty and reliability. I told myself that I couldn’t just sit around and wait, because that is irresponsible and I am not traditionally a fan of doing (or not doing) anything that is irresponsible.  

If you ask my friends or family what words they would use to describe me, the terms I’m sure would come up are: responsible, dependable, hard-working, rule-lover, rule-enforcer, might-have-a-future-as-a-dictator, a-smidge-rigid. I used to give my parents “write-ups” on sticky notes whenever they broke a law of the road. I was a proctor in high school and found joy (and zero popularity) in disciplining my peers. For two decades, I have been more dedicated to this sense of urgency to be good and well-behaved than I have been to almost anything else.

Being responsible has defined me and stepping away from that structure is deeply uncomfortable and is forcing me to reexamine who I want to be. It’s apparent to me now – and also probably to everyone else looking in – that breaking this pattern is going to take more than 40 days.

I have this memory from when I was a little girl. My sisters and I had been invited to one of their friend’s houses to use their above ground pool. I didn’t really know how to swim and had one of those bathing suits that have foam tubes in the lining to enable your little munchkin to become a baby buoy. Unfortunately for me, my mother had been taking the foam out of my bathing suit, hoping that I would figure out how to swim without them.

While everyone else was having fun and enjoying themselves, I ended up spending the entire afternoon clinging to the side of the pool, just inching around the circumference because I was afraid that if I let go, I would sink.

Admittedly, that fear may have been fair and swimming lessons are very important.

However, now, as I reflect on the things that have kept me from healing, growing, and enjoying my true self, I can see how much that moment and experience as a little girl, has transcended into so many other aspects of my life as an adult. For so long, I have felt as though I’ve had to cling to the structures I’ve built around myself out of constant fear that their collapse would mean mine as well.

I have to trust myself and have faith that the best thing for me is to let go of the wall. By now, it’s no longer serving or protecting me; it’s just making it harder for me to go forward and for me to let go.

There’s a quote from Oscar Wilde that I love and feels particularly poignant: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

I think I’ve been sub-existing and to be doing this thing of leaving my good job to focus on my health feels crazy; but if it gets me closer to living, it will have been worth it.

So what am I going to do about the anxiety that is still percolating?

First thing: I am giving myself permission to rest. I have been struggling with my health for three years and I am allowed to take this time for myself and give my body what it needs to heal.
* I will also sleep whenever my body calls me to, without judgement
Second: I will continue to meditate every morning and evening on feelings of love, joy, excitement, and gratitude to raise my vibration and attract light into my life.
Third: In addition to my spiritual wellness, I will continue working with my doctors and take the supplements they recommend.  
Fourth: I will feed my body with healthy foods so that my body receives the nourishment it needs to be balanced and happy.
Fifth: When able, I will exercise to strengthen my body and to burn through any ruminating anxieties.
* I will slow down or modify when my body tells me to, without judgement
Sixth: When I feel called to, I will research jobs and apartments. However, the moment I feel my heart rate flutter up, I will return to my meditation pillow and release my fears to love and light.
Seven: Continue to keep my heart, ears, and eyes open to the advice of others. This may be my first rodeo, but there are many who have lots of guidance and wisdom I can learn from.

These are light and achievable touches that both enforce accountability for my wellness journey and allows me to step away from my (neurotic) tendencies. Allowing myself to rest is imperative, and if I push myself too hard too fast, I’ll just end up right where I started – crashed and burned out.

I owe it to myself to give myself the care and dedication I’ve been spending on others and my job. And so do all of you.

For as much as this is my journey, I know that there are many, many folks out there who have also struggled and continue to struggle with their health, with their careers, relationships, and so on. My thoughts are with you and I hope we all fortify the courage we need to give ourselves the love and care we deserve.

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