I have recently been facing some some personal medical issues and watching myself come to terms with these issues and move through them has been an interesting process. The question of self-care and self-love has come into play a great deal, the ability to accept support and love from those close to me and also the appreciation and importance of community.
In general, I am a healthy person and so when faced with things that effect my my overall well-being and that are out of my control it can be quite difficult. It is one thing when facing a physical injury, for example back pain, or a knee injury. It seems to be something more tangible, something that you can touch and which presents it’s own challenges. However, what I have been currently moving through has been on a more energetic level. You can’t see it, no one can and I am the only one who can feel it. To look at me you would never know that there was something wrong, that within me things were askew. These issues started about a three weeks ago and have grown since then, although I am happy to say that I am now reaching the end of the journey and that I am slowly healing it has been one of the most difficult experiences.
The self-care component has perhaps been the most difficult. This is something that the practice of yoga speaks to through the 8 limbs, yoga this yoking of the body and the mind, the purification of the spirit. The practice that I subscribe to and yet, I was fully faced with my inability to fully put into practice the self-care component. My inability to self-care begins with the following question: Do I really need to take time off? Am I worth taking time off from my teaching schedule? Am I weak for needing or wanting to take time off to deal with and process what has been and continues to be happening to my body both physically and emotionally?
I think that perhaps the issue is made worse by the fact that I am self-employed so no one is out there making money for me if I am not out there teaching. There are no health care benefits for us teachers. This may sound trite, however, it is something that weights into the equation and it is definitely part of the story that I tell myself as to why I can’t take time off. When really the only thing that really matters in life is your health, your well-being. Knowing that I wonder why is it so hard for myself to give myself the time I need to recover fully from what is happening to me, especially when I feel it affecting and effecting me to such a large degree. Why is it so hard to say I need some time for myself, to heal? This is the question. Perhaps I feel that there will be judgement from others . . . Why does she need to take time off? All of these old wounds, these patterns seem to rear their heads in moments like this. The work that I am trying to do is to be as aware of them as possible without judging myself, but rather observing and watching myself as I move through this time. I was finally able to reach out and take a couple days for myself in these final days and I have really felt the benefits.
Accepting support and love from others has always been difficult for me, in particular from a partner. I can say most likely because I have not always had partners who were able to provide me with the support when I needed it most and probably equally, I was not in a place to accept and to be open to support had it been given. Even if I truly needed it. Another component is that there have not been many times in my life when I really needed it. However, right now is definitely one of those times.
I feel so truly grateful for not only the circle of friends around me offering me support and love, but also for having a partner who is able to sit in presence and be conscious about what is happening and offer me the support I need in a non-contrived and genuine fashion. I am equally grateful to myself for being in a place where I can accept this support, this care as I truly do need it. To truly be vulnerable and open is what this life is all about and this experienced has pushed me squarely into the face of vulnerability. In the words of Brene Brown: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” This experience has not only opened me toward the acceptance of support and care, but it has also pushed me directly into the fire, into my fears and towards vulnerability. At times I wanted to run and at times I am overwhelmed with what a blessing this has been.
The importance of community never ceases to amaze me. Community and communication. Those of you who know me, know that I am quite the communicator. When in crisis or in need I tend to reach out and communicate with just about anyone – I am a firm believer in being open. Through openness and communication one can discover community and community provides support through shared experience . . . What a gift that is! To discover that you are not alone, that others have experienced what you are experiencing and that they are on the other side. This most recent medical issue has furthered my belief in the importance of communication and connecting to community. We are all connected in this crazy world we live in and we are most certainly not alone. We may feel alone at times and adrift in the all the emotion and the doing, however, reaching out is a gift that you can give yourself to help ground.
That’s all I have for today . . . It is all part of the journey, we are all human and well all have wounds and weaknesses. It’s just about how we move through them, hopefully with awareness, some self-care, support, love and community