During 2017 I faced a number of health challenges. When I found out I was due to have surgery it felt like a big deal. It was serious, it was invasive and it meant that I would have to take some time off all movement.
When the doctor gave me the news I felt a sense of dread but was surprised to feel a mix of euphoria and gratefulness too. One of my greatest fears was in front of me and yet I was still standing. What’s more, I knew deep down that I could deal with what would come next.
The week before my surgery I bowed down at my meditation altar and opened myself up to the events that were about to unfold. I knew that this surgery was a test and a challenge. A chance for me to face up to things that terrified me and to come out the other side a stronger woman.
And do you know what? I was right! Although this was one of the greatest trials in my life I came through the process stronger, wiser, more resilient and have learned so many lessons.
Here are my top five:
1) Patience: I have always thought of myself as a patient person but going through this experience encouraged me to dig deep and truly embrace the beauty of waiting. I’m a go-getting action taker and to have to patiently wait for healing to occur was an alien experience for me. Despite this, I went with it and (mostly) enjoyed the process. Instead of charging in with to-do lists and actions to complete I respectfully took my time leaving my body to refresh and my mind to rejuvenate.
2) Stillness: My surgery ended up taking a lot longer than expected and as a result, I took a while to come around. For the next few days as the anaesthesia wore off, I was super fatigued and floated lazily in and out of sleep whenever the need arose. I didn’t check my phone, I didn’t check the time and I didn’t even really think about where I was. I simply succumbed to sleep and embraced the power of stillness, a quality I strive to achieve in my daily meditation practice. Only now do I truly know what it means to be still.
3) Mindful Movement: I thought that I was a mindful mover already but little did I know. Nothing has taught me to move more mindfully than the avoidance of physical pain. I learned how to delicately position myself so as not to disturb my wounds and to judiciously stretch my achy body in a way that provided much-needed relief. With mindful movement comes strength, calm and focus- all qualities which I continue to need to get me through my recovery.
4) Release of control: I’m a self-confessed control freak. I don’t like to control others but I do like to be in full control of myself. As anyone who’s been through medical procedures knows, a lack of control comes with the territory. You’ve got well-intentioned but detached medical professionals prodding, examining and invading you and there’s not much you can do about it. I learned that although I couldn’t control everything, the one thing I could control was my frame of mind. I maintained my breathwork, energy work and meditation practice throughout and I tried my best to cultivate positivity from within. Knowing that I was in control of my own actions was a lifesaver during this process.
5) I am: This one was the biggie for me. Movement is my safe place and I move every single day of my life come rain or shine. I’ve built a business around movement and in many ways, it has become who I am. The scariest thing for me in this whole process was the thought of not being able to move for the 6 weeks following surgery.
To support myself during the long summer days, I explored other aspects of my being and focused on writing, reading, praying, and listening to music. I drew so much solace from these things. They gave me time, space, joy and an identity when mine felt challenged. It was through these activities that I learned the most important lesson of all.
I am not my body, I am no one thing. I just am.
I am not a dancer, a yogi, a gym-bunny. I am not a writer, a reader, a music connoisseur. I am not a social butterfly, a business owner, and an employee. I am all of these things combined and yet I am none of them.
I just am, and that essence goes beyond any labels or definition I have chosen to give myself. As long as I remember that through the good times and the bad I know I’ll always be OK and I’ll be taking this sentiment with me into 2018.
Happy New Year!
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