Two years ago today when I was wheeled into the surgery room I had no expectations, just a sense of peace and determination that whatever the outcome would be I would make the best of it and recover 100%. That’s exactly what I did. I listened to my doctors (kind of), went to speech therapy, did my homework, and even took my medicine. It worked. It seemed 2014 wasn’t any different from any other year before really; only I had brain surgery with minimal side effects. So I thought.
What I experienced from the summer of 2015 until about 2 weeks ago taught me once again, that healing needs to be addressed on all levels, and I had overlooked the part of me that needed the most healing my soul.
Last summer I was rushed to the ER for a brief hospital stay (turns out I was experiencing PTSD). My test results came back impeccable with no signs of any dis-ease yet the symptoms were real to me. So real. My head would feel like it was going to explode from the pressure inside, my face would become paralyzed, my vision was so blurred I couldn’t see, eating felt weird, and it was hard to swallow. I experienced dizziness, weakness, numbness, hearing voices, an overall feeling that I was completely out of my body and any sensation or touch would send me into a feeling of fear. It was the most terrifying time of my life. I had no control over my physical body nor could I drive or leave the house due to fear that I would have an episode while driving or worse - for me - during a yoga class. It left me with no choice but to rest, sleep, and allow my body and mind to go through this healing crisis.
For six months, I lived in a very dark place. It was something I had never experienced before and now I could understand why. These waves of grief would wash over me and I’d cry for days to the point where my body would shake and my jaw would quiver. Some nights I’d awaken from a deep sleep from my head moving side to side while my face was spontaneously contracting and twisting. It was unbelievable.
With the help of an amazing support team I learned that sometimes a surgery, a dis-ease, a trauma, a loss, anything that rocks your world to the degree that you feel you don’t have the tools to get through it can trigger our past emotions, stir them up and unleash them on us without warning. Nuts right?
I have learned so much about myself and all my emotions. This idea that I could keep running, numbing, and hiding from my deepest hurts and worst fears was an illusion that I now know is not possible. It all gathers within us. Past trauma, limiting beliefs, grief, fear unless dealt with will reside in the very fabric of our skin and unconsciously become the leading force in our lives.
This is what happened to me. Now you know where I have been for the past months . . . in retreat, feeling my emotions in ways I never knew were possible. But, the more I softened into the fear and sadness the more I opened and felt a sense of peace. The days I was tired and angry and longed for my life back, well those were days I had suffered the most.
Life is a gift with its ups and downs, we will experience ecstatic joy and happiness and deep grief with sadness. As long as we are willing to participate in both and find a gift through it all, I feel we’ll live a good life.
May we all soften on the outside and learn to cultivate a deep inner strength so we can participate in our lives fully.