When I think back over this last year...I can't help but be amazed. Earlier this year I was hanging on by a thread - see April's 'Path of Least Resistance' - I was the sickest I had been over a consistent period and facing homelessness again.
It has been an incredible year...one that I don't want to repeat but one that has also brought such a deep, resounding sense of Joy and Peace to my life. Reading over my year of blog posts I have a grateful respect for the journey I have been on and realise that I have learned to be well - despite feeling crap.
What is being Well? To me it's Acceptance and Surrender - not resignation - but accepting exactly how things are - acknowledging your pain, physical, mental and emotional - listening to what it is telling you, but not letting it define you. It's surrendering all your past desires and ambitions and finding what you're left with is who you truly are and what you truly want to do.....It's grieving fully for those losses and through that process making space for what your true self wants.
It's Compassion.....I spent years giving selflessly to those in need, but I realise now I missed an important ingredient to the miracle of Compassion - having compassion for myself. This illness has taught me the power of that. Part of learning Acceptance was learning Compassion for myself.....it is hard to lack compassion for others when you embrace and have compassion for your weakest moments. Charity begins at home....I always thought that meant your friends and family...but now I realise it begins even before them - being kind to yourself.
I had time to ponder my past and re-frame it in a way that brought beauty, wonder and learning to it. I learned again to find the profound in the ordinary, to be still, to be in the moment.
I remember spending days in bed unable to get up and at first feeling angry with myself. I felt like my body was betraying me. But as I welcomed Surrender into my life more I also found Compassion. I stopped pushing myself. I accepted my weaknesses and learned to find things to be grateful for even from that state.
Which leads me to my friend Gratitude. When I couldn't even read a book, I lay there giving myself a goal of finding something - anything - to be grateful for. It became a game and it kept me sane through a dark time. It is something I do regularly still now. Gratitude walks beside me every day....and I know when I get grumpy I haven't spent enough time with it! It's incredible what you can find to be grateful for when you really look.
This all introduced me to the Flow......listening to my body, being compassionate to it has allowed me to go with the Flow. To ride the waves of energy and float still in the pools of rest. I have become finely attuned to my own needs and I no longer dismiss them. I listen and respond and that way find balance in my life.
The most amazing thing I have discovered in learning to be well - and the gift I am most grateful for in this journey ....is finding my authentic self. You will find the steps to this journey in my previous blog posts but basically: being too exhausted to play roles, fit into expectations, maintain grudges, strive, strips away every superficial, unreal part of you.
I finally feel that I am who I was meant to be all along. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I know what truly inspires my passion. My logical mind no longer has a say in this....I am doing what I want to do - not what I think I want to do - or should do - or could do. I have rediscovered my first love - the love of the written word, I am swimming in creativity and I am secure in being my Highly Sensitive self!
I am reconnecting with the gifts I had as a child - being in tune to the energies around me, having a greater awareness of what's going on in any given situation, the ability to heal and to see into the future. Only this time I am doing it with love and compassion for myself and those around me.
I have to say that 2010 has been the best year of my life - despite feeling crap! And I have a feeling it's only going to get better from here. Thank you for being an instrumental part of my journey and sharing yours with me.