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Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Journey of Acceptance

I have not written in a while.  A break was good.  I have been dealing with some health issues and I didn't want to accept it.

Being on a mindful journey and being involved in an amazing local community of positive thinkers and thought leaders, I did not want to be 'sick' or 'unhealthy' or 'unwell'.  Being in that state must mean my mind is taking over me.  Uttering these words would mean imprinting negative pathways into my brain, hence make me more sick, unhealthy, or unwell.  I had to pick it up and be well.  I was using mindfulness as a technique and approach for others to have better work environments and lives.  I had to practice what I preach!

However, I wasn't practicing what I was preaching.  Being mindful means accepting what is.  When you do not accept, you could be in denial or squishing your feelings down so they weigh heavy on you, and eventually can really make you sick.  I was in denial for quite some time and this actually worked kinda sorta.  And then I began to feel worse, and I started squishing it all down as if it would just go away if I thought more positively about it.  I constantly beat myself up when I was not able to 'be' the way I once was.  I screamed inside:

"I'm helping others be well... how can I NOT be well.  I MUST be well.  Be well, damnit!  It's not like you have some sort of disease and a reason for not being highly energetic and productive.  What's wrong with you?!"  Signed... your inner critic.  I'll return tomorrow.

It's pretty easy to accept a whole lot of wonderful things in my life, for example, that I have a two beautiful, healthy daughters at this moment.  It's not so easy to accept that my health has deteriorated and I no longer can do things I once could.  I am filled with gratitude so much every day that it's difficult to go to the one thing (oh, OK... there's more than one thing:) in my life that is not working.  However, this one thing is beginning to impact other wonderful things.

I'm no longer able to 'do' as much as I once could.  I was a super mom, a super employee, a super friend, a super adventurer, a super woman.  I admit I didn't feel that way, but when I recall it, I really was.  The amount of work I got done in a day astounds me now to think about it - I led a team AND ran a business for a couple of years plus volunteered and sat on many committees.  I somehow managed to raise a daughter single-handedly during that time, with help from family of course.  I was constantly learning new things from sports to Master's degrees.  It wasn't all perfect, but I generally had a lot of energy and my health was excellent.

Then my body started 'acting up'.  It didn't want to wake up in the morning and hurt constantly for no reason and wanted to fall asleep by early evening and everything became such a chore mentally and physically.... I chalked it up to 'burn-out' from years of doing it all, and then I chalked it up to having a baby at 40 years old.

Well, that baby is 2 1/2 years old and my days of doing it all are long gone.  My body is not getting better.  I have good days and I have bad days.  But after a good, energetic, productive day, I typically have a few less 'good' days to follow.  It is sometimes easier to keep my toddler home than to get us ready for daycare drop-off in the morning, work all day, do the pick up, cook supper, and then do the evening routine (my hubby travels 4 days a week for work).  And I love my work.  And I love my evenings with my daughter.  And I look forward to Tina time during the day.  But, now, I'm announcing to the virtual world, that some days it's just too much effort.  Somehow, that does not make sense to me - keeping a toddler home while you try to get work done is easier than bringing her to daycare??  But it's real.  And it happens.  And it's time to accept that something is wrong and something has to change.

I don't know what's wrong.  But I finally accept that there is something wrong.  I have rearranged my time to meet my needs, and I'm still working on making healthy habits that work for me part of my daily routine - without feeling guilty about it.  This means taking time from my work schedule to take care of me... sleeping later.. meditating before I get out of bed... stretching when I do get out of bed (my toddler stretches with me:).... getting outside for a walk every day... eating clean, which frankly, I find takes quite a bit of time to organize at this point... taking the breaks I need when there's a physical limitation.  I'm also trying to incorporate yoga more into my week until I eventually am back to a daily practice.  This all impacts my work.  I resigned from committees, have reduced attending networking events, and generally book meetings for the afternoon.  It's far from perfect, and I'm still on this journey of acceptance.  I am not giving up running or other forms of physical fitness and fun (hula hooping, snowboarding, dance) but I am accepting that if I take those things on, I need to take care of me during and after.

The point is that all of this means taking that precious thing we call time out of my day to focus on me.  I'm sooooo not there yet.  But I have accepted that this is necessary for future wellness and happiness for myself and my family.  This acceptance has led me to begin the search for finding out what is wrong with me.  I realize focusing on that 'story' is not healthy... but not doing anything about it is also not healthy.

The great thing about mindfulness is that you are here now and that is good... no matter what situation you are in here and now.  It is what it is.  Accepting does not mean passively accepting something and not doing anything about it.  In fact, to be mindful means to accept it and stop letting our story take control of our lives.  It means taking action.

Who I am is not sick.  But my body is not well.  And I must take care of that.  I am still me and I can still make my mark in this world.  I'm finding new ways of doing it and I'm using my personal experience to strengthen what I do offer to the world.

I am unwell right now.  I accept that.  NOW, I can do something about it.  It won't be a perfect journey.  I'll have to accept more as I go along.  But nothing can change without a commitment.  I was in denial for years.  I've been interested for a year... now I'm committed.

Namaste