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February 3, 2020
Word of the Week: Healing
I have had the flu three times this past year. Three times! That is three times too many.
Not surprisingly, the last two times were around Thanksgiving and Christmas. And they both caught me completely off-guard. I thought I was being so careful using #allthehandsanitizer, not over-committing myself, and making sure to keep up my regular self-care routine like yoga, acupuncture, nourishing foods, sleep, etc. (which usually falls by the wayside for me during this time of year). In the midst of feeling proud of myself for my A+ holiday survival efforts…I got sick.
I was furious with my body:
I remember my therapist made some comment like: “It sounds like your body is telling you to slow down.”
This was confusing to me because to be honest, I hadn’t been doing that much. Graduate school had quieted down, I felt solid about where things stood with my business, and I was getting about 9-10 hours of sleep a night. I was only leaving my apartment at most once/day, more likely once every other day (and only for the purpose of a single activity that was usually self-care related like acupuncture or a walk). What could I possibly need to “slow down” from? Compared to my previous life when December was a time of 60-80ish hour work-weeks, cross-country work travel, and way too many holiday party hangovers, I couldn’t figure out what my body had to complain about.
I was actually a little embarrassed. I felt like I was doing the bare minimum to be a productive member of society and putting the rest of my energy into taking care of myself…yet I still got super sick as if I had been really exerting myself. I didn’t even feel that stressed about anything. School was fine. Work was fine. And then it dawned on me: my inner world had been on fire.
While it felt like I was doing “nothing” (because that’s how low on the priority list emotional and spiritual wellness is in our society), I had been attending to some very deep, very intense intergenerational wounds. I had been putting every ounce of energy I could possibly muster into healing my people-pleasing, which resulted in a series of heartbreaking friendship dissolutions that were more painful than anything I could have imagined. It felt like the entire foundation of my life had been ripped out from under me, leaving me in a dark, painful, and unbelievably lonely void.
It turns out my body was correct: I was completely and utterly drained. Not because I’d been “hustling” in the conventional sense but because I was doing some hard AF inner work (keyword: work).
If you are on the healing path, it’s very possible you may go through periods of illness too or feel drained for no apparent reason. It’s important to remember that healing yourself is like having a full-time job. Even if society doesn’t value it worth squat, know in your heart that you are doing really difficult, gut-wrenching, massively important work. Be tender with yourself. Acknowledge the struggle. Give yourself space to heal.
Ask Yourself: Is there anything that is currently weighing heavy on your heart? What are you doing to support yourself during this time of healing?
Weekly Mantra: I honor the time it takes to heal.