Taking quiet time to process and reflect on 2021 has been emotional. Until now, I hadn’t given myself space to pause and take in the birds-eye view of the past twelve months.
While navigating the ebbs and flows of chronic illness during this past year, I’ve had the steady presence of a mental shield that kept me from labeling highs and lows as “good” or “bad”, “getting worse” or “getting better”.
However, now that the 2021 chapter is officially closed, I’m able to zoom out with non-judgemental awareness and really begin to process what this year meant for me.
Looking at 2021 in retrospect, I see the first year, in more years than I can remember, that I’m not looking back and thinking to myself, “well, that was one of the hardest years of my life…”.
Instead, I find myself looking back at the joyful moments and the difficult moments with gratitude and awe; I feel my heart soak in the tender truth that this year, finally, held a little bit less pain, and a little bit more ease.
I’m not magically “healed” and all of my symptoms aren’t perfectly managed, but for the first time in a very long time, things didn’t get worse. I have spent years following others’ healing journeys, working on my self-care practices, trying scary treatments, and pushing through pain levels I did not know I could endure – with very little progress to show in improving my physical pain levels on a day-to-day basis.
For me, 2021 was a sunrise just barely cresting over a mountain range. It was moments of a warm glowing promise of a brighter tomorrow. It was dancing every single day (most of the time by myself!) and feeling joy course wildly through my being, in a way I haven’t felt since I was a child. It was inhaling trust, deep into my core, and exhaling some of the fear that has lived in a tight grip around my ribcage during the many years I’ve been stuck in survival mode attempting to manage debilitating pain. It was rewiring my nervous system to move through my moments with less panic.
In a word, 2021 was hope; and I’m hopeful that some of the takeaways I am carrying forward this year can be gentle lanterns to help illuminate some of the dark corners you may experience as you navigate your own healing journey.
- You’re not doing anything wrong if your healing hasn’t “happened yet” – keep trusting that everything that doesn’t work” is bringing you one step closer to the combination of tools that will help
- It takes so much courage to stand in the darkness and declare that you are worthy of living in the light; to let your healing come in gentle, agenda-less waves
- Spending time learning how to feel at home in your body, in your relationships, in your silence, and in your precious life, exactly as it is right now, is productive
- If being hard on yourself was the trick that was going to get you to where you want to be, you’d be there by now. Ease up, you’re doing so much better than you think you are
- What if you could just decide that you are enough, exactly the way you are right now, and it could be true? (spoiler: you can 😘)
- Sometimes self-care looks like bravely moving your soul’s “want to do’s” to your daily “need to do’s” list
- Inside overwhelm, you are relating to your perception of how you’re coping with a hard thing and disconnecting from the truth that in the same exact breath, you are in the midst of successfully getting through a difficult moment
- Being courageous enough to leave some room in your thoughts to wonder how it could all go right, especially when you have been conditioned to handle things consistently going wrong, is a form of healing
- It’s brave to say “yes” and it’s brave to say “no”. It’s brave to listen courageously, to where your knowing wants you to go
- Just because a healing resource isn’t helpful right now doesn’t mean it can’t be in the future or that you’re “doing it wrong”
- Your brave heart can still beat and your steady lungs can still breathe even as storms of fear and paralyzing thought pass through your being
- Positive self-talk is a form of soul medicine; as you hear your own voice declaring you are worthy of unconditional love, you make your belief in your inherent, unconditional worth and your healing a reality
- The more lovingly you can befriend the shadows lurking between “you” and “expected you” the more gentle your life will feel
- Embracing a mindset of “happy along the way” helps invite healing
- Healthcare is a noisy space where everyone feels like they know the right way for you to heal – trust your intuition and do not minimize your own individuality as you follow what feels right for you, for right now
- Affirm: I will not spend so much time comparing what is happening to other people that I forget to pay attention to what I’m living
- Telling the truth about your pain does not mean you are being negative
- When you feel like it seems selfish to drape yourself in unconditional love, remember that the deeper and wider your self-compassion goes, the more strongly it shines into the lives of others’
- Self-compassion is your super-salve to untangling knots of painful emotion trapped inside your mind, body and soul
- There is a big difference between using mindfulness strategies to help better manage and cope with your pain and a lack of mindfulness being the cause of or the thing to “blame” for your pain
- There is a way to love your life more than you hate your pain; and you are completely capable of finding it
Thank you for being here, and for being you. I’m so excited to continue sharing and growing in this space and eternally grateful for your support.
All my love,