Q: What does the birth of my daughter and my chronic injury have in common?
Neither were consciously desired but both served to change the trajectory of a life I desperately wanted to cling to but needed to be free of (unbeknownst to me).
Both arrived as a gift disguised as a crisis.
Both were the catalyst for the greatest transformation ever.
Both were answers to my ultimate desires although I didn't know that at the time.
Both ensured that things would never be the same.
Both inspired me to leave situations that no longer served me.
Both left me confused as to why this was happening.
Both resulted in me wondering, "Why me? Why now?"
Both made me feel powerless at the time.
Both felt like a horrible cosmic mistake.
Both forced me to make drastic changes in my life that I resented because I had BIGGER plans for myself and as far as I was concerned, these two things were slowing that down.
Both felt like impediments to what I was truly here to do. Followed by the inevitable realization that I was wrong.
There are no mistakes.
Just life showing you through every means possible what it is you're here to learn.
THERE COULD BE NO OTHER WAY
With the birth of my daughter, I had to learn how to set boundaries with my family and break the cycle of dysfunction so that I could transmute my childhood suffering into personal power while giving Paige a better life than I had AND inspiring others in the process without knowing. I didn't know that was my mission until long after it had been given to me and I certainly wouldn't have added my name to the sign-up list if there had been one, but my soul was making these arrangements despite anything else I had planned for the next two decades.
As for my injury, I can only speak from where I am at the moment as I am certainly not finished with this lesson (bit by bit these days), but I imagine it's here to teach me about life balance and self-care, as well as self-love and the realization that I am enough, regardless of what I do.
None of these aspects were very present in my previous life (before the injury). I had been so accustomed to working and trying so hard because I had much to overcome and deal with all my life, that I didn't even have a clue as to how to truly relax and give to myself fully and deeply once I was finally out of survival mode.
I also had been oblivious to my inherent worth for most of my life, and was constantly trying to prove it to myself, yet I never succeeded no matter what I did. So I pushed harder but nothing was ever enough. I couldn't measure up. I just wanted to feel okay about myself. This was the hardest thing for me to do.
My previous ways served me for decades though. I needed all that energy to endure and do the impossible, but it was not meant to sustain me for life; it was simply a habit that I wasn't aware needed to be broken.
Looking back, life had given me plenty of cues and time to make more self-loving choices long before it used physical pain to gets its message across, but I wasn't listening to anything that prevented me from going after the things I believed would result in me finally accepting myself. I didn't believe that self-acceptance was possible until I achieved this or that and I habitually discounted everything I did and was along the way. Loving myself as I was just wasn't an option. I had to do better, be better, do more, be more, and it was all my head. I was on a mission with tunnel vision, and nothing was going to stop me, or so I thought.
But chronic pain has a way of making you pay attention because it won't go away until you change your ways. Even when the surgeon said I needed to stop, I didn't. I had shit to do that was clearly more important than my health and well-being. A year later, the condition was even worse and included both hands, arms and shoulders, whereas before it just went to the elbows.
It's amazing to me now, at how unwilling I was to care for myself properly. It required a significant change on my part (to no longer put work first - something that I loved immensely - and to see myself as worthy of being taken care of in the first place, since giving my energy to others was my natural response to life), and it took a long time before I could put those pieces together.
I'm still in process, which is why I love my pain. It's sticking around until I finally figure this thing out. I believe that once self-care is as natural to me as giving all my energy to the world once was, the pain will dissolve on its own. Of course there are many layers to it and that's a pretty simplistic statement, but I just mean the pain is here until I learn what it's here to teach. Once I do, I'll no longer need it and it will be gone. Or maybe it will just pop up occasionally to remind me that I've strayed off course and need to pull back a bit.
MY TURNING POINT
Even though some headway had been made since April's decision to slow down, I struggled to do that. I couldn't let go of TGT or the sense of self I had attached to my work. This past September was a real turning point for me though. After a very dark depression and pain that was just not budging, I decided enough was enough and I was finally ready to do whatever it took to heal this thing. I stopped Too Good Triangles completely. I started to get regular cupping, acupuncture and laser treatments which have helped immensely. And I also gave myself permission to stop trying to do/achieve/create anything for a while.
This is no small feat for me. I deserve an award for this.
Then in October I deactivated my personal Facebook account (read why here), which was huge in Mandyland and that has been a real gift. I love the relief I feel from doing that; from no longer having the energies of others dictate where I put my own energy. There's nothing external anymore to disrupt the focus I'm learning to direct towards myself.
This week I also put a vacation notifier on my email letting people know I'll be checking emails monthly from now on. I will never be turning that off. After running businesses online for years and creating a presence in cyberspace that engaged a number of people, I have learned that these things are no longer for me, despite how much joy they once brought me.
I never want to return to that level of pressure and interaction again.
Right now my main goal is to learn how to properly give to myself, so I've shut out the world as much as I can. My public Facebook page is still my favourite spot and I love engaging there, but the rest feels off limits for now.
Also, I've been sleeping more in the past 2 months than I have at any point in my life! There is much that needs to be restored after years of depleting myself on multiple levels. Since it took a long time to do what I did to my body, it will take a good chunk of time to resolve it, but I feel more and more hopeful each day because at least I'm on my own side now.
So here's to my pain. Thank you, sweet body, for helping me learn the importance of slowing down, to learn how to properly love myself, to see the value of self-care, to give myself permission to just be, to discover my worth beyond what I do, and to help this introvert to find the best way to share her gifts with the world without depleting herself in the process.
I'm getting there.
And thank you, Paige, for giving me an incredible reason to leave my family and create something better for you and I, for showing me that I was good and loveable despite my pain and struggles, for seeing me clearly, for seeing the beauty I was blind to, for being my best friend, for co-creating the deepest and most beautiful love I have ever known, for being the family I never had, and for choosing me as your mother. It's an honour.
All my love,
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