Things have been pretty quiet over here, and I’ve had a few people pop in to ask what’s up. I’m ready to share.
It’s been an intense year, with so many things on the go! Renovations are underway to work on the basement studio, adding insulation to heat it up in the winter and replacing the flooring. Our fence is being extended for easier access to the back door for entry to said studio when it’s ready, every window in the house is getting replaced, and we’re so excited for the much needed upgrades. The windows are currently being manufactured and will be installed before winter comes. I finished my yoga teacher training earlier this month, which took up much of my time as well. I had to request an extension for the clinical aromatherapy course, which is due to be completed soon.
Unfortunately, some things have come up and absolutely everything has had to be put on hold (except for the windows – which is not someone we’re doing, and the fence, which my husband is taking on). This is also the reason that I missed some hours in my yoga training which I have to make up before I’m officially a yoga teacher. My body has decided to do it’s own thing to force me to do a slow-down. I’ve taken the firm, hard hint as a necessity, and am focusing on figuring out what I hope isn’t a new normal. These things have forced a shut down not only in business, but most of my regular lifestyle, too. The symptoms are concerning and painful, and therefore exhausting, but I seem to have a really good team of caring professionals who are helping in any way they can to pinpoint the issues so that we can move forward in fixing (or, at least, reducing) them. There are a few things we’re looking into, but no real answers yet.
I’ve learned many things lately, and one of the biggest ones is not only to forgive myself – but also realize that there are so many things that don’t need an apology for. One thing that came up quite often in peer evaluations during our practicums (and even with the Ayurvedic practitioner that I saw last weekend) is that I need to be more gentle with myself, and “put the stick away”. Beating myself up isn’t going to help anything, and only make things worse.
And I absolutely agree!! I tell the same to other people all the time. Be gentle with yourself. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to feel. It’s ok when you react. The best thing you can do is move forward and always work on being better. So on. So forth.
Why, then, do I seem to have so much trouble taking my own advice?
I started feeling sick a few months ago. It was minor, and I didn’t really think much of it. I’ve always reacted poorly in the sun in the spring, but this time was different. It seemed to be a bigger reaction, more intense, and didn’t fade with the rash like it usually does after the first exposures in the spring. And it got worse, until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Other things came up that weren’t normal. As someone who pushes through things and waits it out, it’s not something I could do anymore. I finally admitted that there was something very wrong – and I admitted that admitting that scared me.
This is vulnerability at its best. Some people would argue that it would be a bad thing, but sometimes vulnerability has a special magic in helping you learn more about yourself than ever.
I had already felt that I had been vulnerable in the yoga teacher training course prior to feeling unwell, but this was a whole new level that I didn’t know what to do with. Nervously, I let myself stop everything. I asked permission from my teachers. I slowed down, since I was shutting down anyways. I uneasily let it happen as it needed to happen. I went to class. I participated as much as I could. I stopped when I needed to. I stopped driving after realizing how drunk I felt all the time (and that hasn’t changed to this day). Day at a time has turned to moment by moment.
What I finally realized during the yoga retreat was that I didn’t need permission from my teachers. I needed permission from myself. It was, apparently, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do – to give myself permission to be vulnerable. There’s a difference between being vulnerable, and actually allowing myself to be. There’s been some pretty hard things I’ve had to do. Who knew this would be one of them. (I sure didn’t.)
And so, there are no apologies to anyone, except to myself. An apology is defined as “a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure” or “a very poor or inadequate example of something”.
This is a situation beyond my control, and not one I feel I should be apologizing to anyone for. This hasn’t been a choice. This isn’t what I’d consider relaxing. And it certainly isn’t fun. I haven’t caused an offence. It’s not a failure. I don’t believe it’s a poor or inadequate example of anything. In fact, I think it may be a great example of taking control where I need to and where I can, as well as making an example by putting myself as a priority for once. It’s just a part of the journey. I encourage (and CHALLENGE) anyone to put themselves before any other endeavour. If I were anyone else, I’d be damned proud of that person for taking the steps needed to take care of themselves in a similar situation. And, with that thinking, I finally realized how proud I am of myself for doing exactly the thing I encourage others to do.
I’m forgiving myself, finally, for not allowing myself the same liberties, joy and celebrations that I’ve encouraged others to partake in. I’ve stopped apologizing to my amazing, understanding husband for things I’m not guilty for. I’m so thankful for him and his ongoing support, and of the other people who have helped and supported me along the way. I have my frustrated days, and I’ll have more. And that’s ok. But for the most part, I’ve found that just taking things slowly and step at a time is best. I have plans and ideas and things to work towards, sure, but by not having a current agenda, deadlines or expectations, I’m able to really focus on what’s happening right now. It’s needed.
And, for maybe the first time, I’ve feel like I’ve really allowed myself to focus on just me and my health. I’ve focused on this before, but I don’t think I ever actually gave myself permission to do it, and had a lingering guilt for it.
Not this time. This time, I give myself permission to find my health again.