|9- Time Lends A Hand.|
'Time doesn't heal, it is more like a sidekick, a partner in crime.....we heal ourselves and time lends a hand.' I wrote this a week ago as I reflected on the past year. I found myself sitting on the same bench as I had 14 months ago, remembering how back then, tears would come without warning, seemingly for no reason and there was a twisted knot in my stomach. That was the beginning of my healing and I realise now, although time has been carrying me on it's wave, I am solely responsible for paddling like crazy to not only keep myself afloat but to move forwards instead of round in circles.
It was a year ago today, September 7th 2014 that I launched The Lotus Network. Although twelve months seem to have passed in the blink of an eye, i find myself so far removed from the emotional place I was in. I am grateful for this and thankful to all of you who have read my blogs, shared links, told your own stories and participated here on this site. It is of little importance how many members it has or how far it reaches, if my words have helped even one person then I am humbled by that. Although I have chosen to express myself because of the curve ball that life threw at me, there are common threads throughout these pages that affect all of us at some point in our lives, they're not exclusive to the subject of infertility. Anxiety, grief, low self esteem to name but a few, are battles most of us face. At various points since my diagnosis of P.O.F I have considered the following to be true......now I am exposing them for the myths that I believe them to be!
I NO LONGER THINK THAT.....
Low Self Esteem=Hopeless
Lack of self confidence= Pathetic
It has taken me a few years but I can now say, with total honesty, I BELIEVE THAT.....
Infertility=A fork in the road of life.
Low Self Esteem=A mirror, the opportunity to learn more about yourself, to look within and ultimately to grow.
Anxiety=A wake up call.
Lack of self confidence=A challenge, like a personal boot camp to be tackled.
Vulnerability=Allowing yourself to truly be seen by others.
Premature Menopause=To be broken open...the beginning of a new phase in your life.
I've written about my struggle with a few of these in previous blogs and will be covering the issue of vulnerability soon. In the meantime, how do we accept, embrace and even love those parts of us that are dark and complicated? For me it has been a process of acceptance, to first and foremost grasp not just intellectually but emotionally, that these layers, somewhat frayed and dishevelled aren't imperfections. There's no definitive answer to this question as we all make our own stamp on the card of life but I believe the key is to keep searching. Connecting with who we really are, not who we think we should be is vital. There are preconceived ideas we may carry, based on what society or culture may expect and having children is just one of those. However, no expectation actually bears any relevance when it comes to who we truly are, the qualities we possess and the simple fact that each of us is a one-of-a-kind original. My most lucid moments, when the path seems clearest happen when I'm still. My search frequently proves most fruitful when I manage to quieten my noisy brain and in those moments of calm I feel whole. I guess you could say that when I 'do' nothing, EVERYTHING shifts and the greatest results are experienced. There was a time when I looked at myself in the mirror and felt I was fractured, disconnected from my true self. In that moment, the only thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want to feel that way. Changing it, or even attempting to start seemed like an insurmountable, overwhelming task. When I was signed off work by the doctor (see Blog 2- Fast Forward) I was ready to really sit with my grief and get to know it properly. The anxiety that I'd been struggling with leading up to that point was palpable and I couldn't face being around people, be they strangers or friends. Even walking out of my flat was a challenge. This was also the case when I was diagnosed back in 2010 although I had pushed on in an attempt to function 'normally', to cope. Four years later I recognised this feeling and what it really represented, a wake up call! It would have been easy to hide away since the pressure to work was lifted but instead, I chose to put one foot in front of the other. Every night of that week last July I would walk to the home of my best friend where she and her husband would feed me. Sometimes we would talk about me, sometimes I'd watch her as she helped her little girl with school work or as she pottered around doing chores. My spirit felt broken and even though I knew I was standing on the precipice of change, I didn't know how to step off. Nothing about this time felt safe but still I knew I wanted to face it head on. The first thing I had to do was stop fighting with the avalanche of thoughts in my head and so I started to read. I read quotes, passages and books by authors that inspired me, just longing for that one sentence that would resonate and make me sit up that little bit straighter. The catalyst for this thirst to reconnect came as I watched Oprah's Masterclass with Jane Fonda. She spoke about weight training, how in order to make our muscles stronger, first we have to tear them and break them down*. She likened that to the human spirit, how when we feel like we are at our lowest ebb, when we are torn and bleeding there is the opportunity to heal, stronger than we were before. I wish I could quote her word for word but needless to say, this analogy provided a lightbulb moment for me. There's a gut instinct when faced with emotional pain to push it way down, hold our heads high and forge on. If we do that, where does the pain go? It doesn't just disappear and I wholly subscribe to the theory that our bodies will harbour that angst and store it away. One very special lady, Natalia, a spiritual healer and friend recommended a book to me: 'The Places That Scare You' by Pema Chodron, an American Buddist nun. The concept of facing pain, fear or anxiety straight in the eye and getting to know it as opposed to running away isn't one that sits easily. Below is a short extract from this beautiful book:
'As human beings we are as impermanent as everything else is. Every cell in the body is continuously changing. Thoughts and emotions rise and fall away unceasingly. When we're thinking that we're competent or that we're hopeless - what are we basing it on? On this fleeting moment? On yesterday's success or failure? We cling to a fixed idea of who we are and it cripples us. Nothing and no one is fixed. Whether the reality of change is a source of freedom for us or a source of horrific anxiety makes a significant difference. Do the days of our lives add up to further suffering or to increased capacity for joy? That's an important question.'
As always, I am hugely appreciative to you, the reader and I will continue to share my perspective in the hope of helping others. I shall leave you with a quote from the beautiful poem 'Desiderata' by Max Ehrmann.
'You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.'
Love and light....Nia x
*Lifting weights and performing other strenuous exercise causes microscopic tears and other damage in the tissue of your muscles. Though it might sound like a reason for concern, this damage is actually a key component of muscle development. The DAMAGE that your muscles receive while lifting weights TRIGGERS THE HEALING PROCESS and also prompts the body to try and adapt itself to prevent this type of damage in the future.
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