I may talk way too much about health. That being said, I am sort of into health these days. My significant heart challenges over these last 2 years and Clo’s illness both collude to ensure that health is a dominant topic for me. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have every reason to totally trust that I soon will be fully healed. I feel good today. A teeny bit slow, but mostly ready to focus on what I love (my work) and stay in the trust and knowledge that my health is terrific and my body will not fail me.
I generally try to find the lesson or understand the learning particularly during times of adversity. I ask myself what is the learning from 2 years of fear that my heart will explode because it is beating too fast? I need to worry less. I need to slow down my anxiety. Self-criticism has taken a big toll.
I think this is quite common, especially for mothers to expect to carry a load that is too big. It is also I think common for people who are committed to growing and learning. We tend to pile up a big heap of internal blame and high expectation and the internal load becomes more and more oppressive and demanding and the soul begins to shudder and is even in danger of shrivelling. I say mothers because I remember when I was raising children there just didn’t seem to be enough time or space to share my internal emotional load. I often times felt like I was carrying a huge laundry basket of unwashed and unwanted garments and I didn’t know where or even quite how to put that load down somewhere safe and useful
I think too much, too often, too hard. It doesn’t suit me! The key is to stay in the moment because so much of that thinking is really about worrying and blaming. And all too often I am the one I blame. Sometimes I think the only acceptable way through life is to achieve total perfection. That is total nonsense. No one even knows what perfect really looks like or how to achieve it. We make up what we can imagine perfection would look like or feel like. And what we made up is simply that self is not good enough. You don’t know enough, work enough, you aren’t smart enough, creative enough; there simply needs to be more and you aren’t even smart enough to know what more would be. I created an internal world that was too busy, too fast, too demanding and unforgiving and my heart responded.
A recipe for suicide.
I nearly died, at least 3 times. Each time I was given another chance to understand what I was doing to myself. And at last, I actually think I’ve got it.
That is very grandiose thinking. At the very least, I know I am on the right path to understanding the needs of my body and soul.
One of the ways for me to start my new regime is to take a rest (I haven’t become brave enough yet to call it a nap) during the day just because I want to. To not have to be sick, or stressed, or overwhelmed or anything at all other than wanting to take time out. Which generally means reading and sometimes means sleeping. I am giving my external and internal self a time out to slow down and to rest and stay present.
My father taught me the value of an afternoon rest period. (Notice I still am not using the word nap. I feel about 3 years old when I think of a nap!) My father left for work between 4 and 5 am every morning. He was a milk man and needed to get at his deliveries early in the morning. He delivered the milk by horse and milk cart, carrying the bottles of milk up to the door step of each home on his route. It was outdoors and physical. He came home for lunch around 1 pm each day and took a nap before leaving for his afternoon and evening work. His modelling has helped guide me to accept time during the day to regroup, time to settle into myself and shift gears from pressures of the outside world and look inward to find my grounded and wise self.
As I rest, which might be 20 minutes or might be longer, I do a body scan. I check through how I am physically feeling and ask myself what I am emotionally feeling. I ask myself where I am tense or where I ache or if there are body parts that hurt. In asking those questions I begin to better understand how what is going on with me each day gets absorbed into my body. Eventually, I will have absorbed as much as I can take and my body’s response helps me identify what emotionally I need to change or better understand.
Tension in my neck and shoulders means the load I am carry is getting heavy and as my mother would say, “Time to take a load off!”. Cramps or stomach ache mean I am not feeding and nurturing myself properly. Aching arms or jumpy legs mean I am restless and need to see accomplishment of some kind. Aching arms and jumpy legs mean I want to run or I want to punch, I want action of some sort I don’t tend to get headaches, but Clo certainly did. And I think that is about thinking too much and too hard and it is time to let go for a moment. Or often time, I believe Clo’s headaches were about unshed tears.
I have learned to trust my intuition. I believe my body talks eloquently to me. If I am still enough and honest enough, I will know what it is telling me. And then it is my responsibility to take action. If I ignore my body, my heart, soul, and quality of life will pay a huge price. Intuitively I know what is good for me. My job is to trust that. One healthy response is to rest and listen. Another is to be sure I get outdoors and have exercise for at least an hour each day. A big part of keeping my body and my soul and my heart healthy is to feel listened to and to listen to those who love me.
We all have a profound desire to be understood. Our partners are not psychic so it is important to share our internal process. A great deal of physical healing can happen when we feel seen and understood by those we value and respect. Clo longed more than anything else in the world, to have her father see her and hold her in regard. When she was diagnosed with cancer she said, “Now I wonder if he will see me?” Her twin brother Claude died of leukemia when they were four years old. Claude’s dying self-stayed alive in the heart and mind of the twins’ mother and father. Clo’s presence slowly faded and died. From the age of 4 until her death, she longed to be seen and valued by her parents. Especially she longed to be loved by her father.