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Taking My Own Medicine More Deeply
Last week, I wasn’t feeling well.
It started with some congestion and a cough that wouldn’t quite come through, and within a short period of time, it turned into extreme fatigue, brain fog, headaches, tons of aches, and an odd case of TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) on one side of my jaw.
And while I am so grateful it was a mild case, it was rough. (I realize I am speaking from a privileged place of having a milder case and I want to acknowledge that it is not like this for everyone. I am sending a ton of love to all the people, families, and communities that have not been as lucky as I have.)
Day one (I’ll count day one as when I tested positive.)
Day one was a little shocking, and honestly a little scary.
Will I be okay? Will this go on forever? Will my family get this? Did I inadvertently infect anyone outside my family? Will they think I’m a jerk?
Day two and three
I was feeling physically worse than I was on day one, but I kind of settled in. My initial fear had subsided. And after all, I am a person who, for nearly two decades now, has been teaching about the importance of recognizing seasons to slow down in and who has been taking a stand for self-care and not pushing ourselves when it’s not a moment to push.
So, in some ways, days two and three were even a little nice. No work to do or emails to return. Quarantining from the rest of my family. No kids to take care of or dishes to do. I allowed myself to binge-watch TV during the day. (I highly recommend the HBO remake of Scenes from a Marriage—it was excellent.)
All the while, with the attitude of “My health and well-being are my top priority. I can take time out of my life to rest, to not be productive, to do nothing. I trust that everything that needs to be taken care of is being taken care of.”
And then, Day four hit.
And I was still feeling cruddy.
And I even felt like I was backsliding a bit.
I was ready to be done with this.
And even though I knew that this was not out of the normal for a Covid recovery journey, I panicked. And by panicked, I mean I had a total emotional breakdown.
It was day four and I was done with being sick.
My self-talk went something like, “This should be over by now. Why am I still sick? Why is this happening? What is wrong with me and my immune system? Why am I not feeling better already? I am not healing quickly enough. What’s going to happen with work? I need to get on with it already…”
Ha! So much for all my teaching about the importance of slowing down, the importance of honoring our own rhythms, the importance of trusting in letting go, and the importance of trusting in the mystery and the not doing.
When it was all put to the test in this deeper way, I momentarily fell off course. I disconnected from my truth and myself.
Isn’t it amazing that even though we know better, we can become so impatient with ourselves, with our processes that we are so quick to make ourselves and our bodies wrong? That we are so deeply trained to need to be productive?
Luckily, after my breakdown (picture me loud sobbing in my room alone, in my pajamas…that I had been in for days), I caught myself.
I saw what I was doing to myself, that I was trying to rush the process, that I was trying to make my body and my experience wrong, and that I was projecting an unrealistic timeline onto my healing process and myself.
And with that awareness, I was able to pivot.
I was able to bring mounds of love and compassion and patience to myself and my body.
I was able to sit more peacefully in the mystery…in the not knowing how long it would take to get better, but trusting and being at peace.
And wouldn’t you know it, with all of that shifting, even while feeling cruddy, it allowed me to enjoy some of the following days—to take pleasure again in the not needing to do anything, in the slowing down, in the space.
I share all of this with you for two reasons:
1. Remember to be gentle with yourself and your process, whether it is a healing process or a growth process or a grief process or a goal-reaching process.
We often have an idea in our minds that if we are good enough, spiritual enough, taking the right supplements, and taking the right business actions, we will be different—that we’ll get through it quicker. And when that doesn’t happen, it’s so easy to translate it as a deficit about us, instead of what it actually is: things unfolding in the time they are meant to.
2. Remember to apply all of this to your client work.
>> Support your clients to honor their unique rhythms, their unique paces, their sacred unfoldings, and their processes.
>> Support clients to unlearn notions that quicker is better, or that they need to be any which way.
>> Support clients to move away from the shame that can so often develop when we don’t call out cultural messaging around how our bodies should act or how our life should go.
This will benefit them greatly and help you go much deeper in your work together.