Welcome back, friends!
I have been itching to publish this post for a whole week! Why? Because I am SO EXCITED to share with you the continuing story of my death and resurrection! (Hey, Jesus isn’t the only one who can rise from the dead. I don’t mean to be sacrilegious or anything, but in my experience, I felt like I had died and been reborn. I’m fairly certain I’m not the only other human in history to feel this way.)
So, let’s get to it! The continuing story… (If you missed part 1, click here.)
I walked out of my doctor’s office that wintery afternoon in early 2015 with a new resolve… “I will find a way to heal myself.” At that moment, I realized that traditional Western Medicine could not help me. It could prescribe me a plethora of pills to treat my symptoms, but it couldn’t treat the root cause of my illness. I needed to find a way to unwind, destress, and calm down on the inside.
About this time, I had been an active member at my local YMCA gymnasium. I attended every fitness class in an attempt to reshape my body back into that of a taut teenager, but who was I kidding… 20-ish years, 3 kids, (and gravity), were becoming more difficult to resist. The physical exertion helped release the stress and tension I was holding in my body and my spirit. My fitness instructor was my greatest cheerleader, and soon became one of my dearest friends. After my breakdown, she helped hold my head above the dark waters of depression by challenging me to experience new things. I affectionately refer to this period of my life as “The Year of Me.”
(Side note: The “Birthday Beach Trip of Sadness” was just the last emotional stone dropped into the murky pond of my worn out, resentful, angry soul. This big breakdown was years in the making. Many mothers think it’s selfish to take a time out to care for themselves. Our children and households are always at the top of our “to do” list. We care for everyone else first, put their needs above our own, because we’ve been told that’s what good, perfect, loving mothers are supposed to do. In the process, we become stressed, burned out, resentful, angry, and just a little bit grouchy toward those we love the most. (And by little, I mean colossal… like Godzilla on steroids, or like the Hulk. “Hulk smash!”)).
During this year, I took a supreme amount of time to tend to my soul through physical pursuits. (Actually, it was more like physical pain and torture. Ha!). I ran 5k and 10k races through clouds of colored powder and nasty ponds of mud. I climbed over 8-foot walls and scaled tight ropes. I carried heavy rocks and huge logs short distances. I rode my bicycle well over 100 miles in a few races, and mostly just for fun on the weekends. I went backpacking overnight in a scary, (yet magnificent), mountain forest. My body was bruised and sometimes bloodied, but my soul was soaring. I pushed myself to my physical limits. I won medals. I made new friends. (Good friends who shielded me from curious stares while I attempted to wash the mud out of my butt crack at the end of a crazy mud race. Everyone should have a friend like this. Go find one now!) I did all these things in an attempt to unwind, destress, release the depression and anger that was eating away at my soul.
It was also the year that I discovered yoga. Practicing yoga helped me achieve the feelings of physical accomplishment and soul-lightness that I felt after a demanding race, but without all the mud, sweat, and tears. (Well, sometimes tears, but only the happy kind spawned from a grateful heart!). I participated in local yoga classes, and followed inspiring yoga instructors on YouTube, but I didn’t journey further into the practice of yoga beyond the Asanas for about a year. When I finally told my husband that I was practicing yoga, and was considering adding it to my “Group Fitness Instructor” arsenal, he walked right up to my face, stared piercingly into my eyes, and declared, “Well, you don’t look demon possessed.”
And that is where I’ll leave you this week, dear reader. (Noooo!!) I know! This story is getting really good, and it is so cruel of me to leave you hanging over a precipice like this, but isn’t that how all fantastic stories are written? The cliffhanger drives you CRAAAZY, but you secretly love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Love & Light, my friends!