Every year on my birthday I like to look back on the past year and reflect. I am big on not dwelling on the past, but acknowledging it is a great learning tool, sometimes looking at a bigger picture helps to see things I may have otherwise missed. As I look back on the past year there are two huge themes I see over and over; surrender and change.

One of the biggest changes in my life being that one year ago today, my now husband, proposed to me. Being engaged for over 11 months had been an uncharted terrain that has given me opportunity after opportunity to grow. I tend to suffer from something I like to call “Christmas Eve Syndrome”, meaning that as a child I would always have something big and exciting coming up and somehow manage to get grounded or lose that privilege right before it would materialize.

Similar to a kid so excited on Christmas eve that become antsy to the point of misbehaving or becoming impossible to deal with. Patience is a virtue that doesn’t come easily to me. I make up my mind and then I go for it. Sitting, waiting, preparing; all fairly new concepts in my life. I suppose it may be out of fear of things not happening if they don’t right now. You know the best way to overcome fear?

Yep, walking through it in spite of it.

“Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.” – Elif Shafak 

Luckily, being an adult, I am a little better at communicating when things are going on. I am so happy that we are married now and that limbo stage is over. Limbo is super uncomfortable giving me tons of opportunities to grow in my faith and who I am. Deep down it is probably rooted in a place of me needing to trust the process and understand that I really do not have control over anything outside of me.

The beautiful woman in a dress on picnic

Being present in the moment is the best place for me when I am in any sort of transition. I am a dreamer, I like to speculate, and rarely do these dreams and speculations come anywhere close to what the outcome ever really looks like leading to disappointment, missing out on the beauty of the experience, or just plain disbelief.

When I am centered in the moment, not looking too far ahead, I am able to see the beauty in each moment, the silver lining in each otherwise seeming disaster, those little signs that tell you that you are exactly where you are meant to be. Transition has been non-stop in almost every area of my life this past year and staying centered has been a challenge.

Another HUGE change in my life is that I have a diagnosis as to why I have been sick for over two years.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I am still a ways from having it “managed”, but I am learning that I have to surrender to it. I can’t will myself into being healthy and I can’t fix myself. I have had to find out what is healthy for me, what exercise I can tolerate, a whole new way of living. I find such irony that I literally have almost everything I have ever wanted in life but many days I am too sick to fully enjoy it.

I still hold on to the hope that some day I will wake up and be better, that my motor function will be reliable, as will my mental capacity and energy levels, that I will be able to tolerate the cold, be able to be outside on a hot day or have a vigorous workout with out it being “AMA”…

See there I go, I have a really hard time accepting that they don’t know what has caused this syndrome, that it can’t be cured. It’s not fatal, but it isn’t something I would wish on anyone. Still a lot of surrender yet to be done in this area. To be perfectly honest, some of the biggest blessings in my life have come as a direct result of this illness, A LOT. But that is a whole other story!

I have also started down a new path in life career-wise. Last month I finished school for health coaching and at the end of the month, I enrolled in school for aromatherapy. I frigging love everything about it, the science, the business, teaching others about it, everything.

Three years ago, I would have told you that my life calling was in the field of exercise science, I loved personal training, teaching yoga, anything active, that is what I pictured myself doing for the rest of my life. At least until I was at an age where I couldn’t, but then the plan was to teach. Ideally at a University in the exercise science department.

Yep, ever hear the saying “make plans and God laughs”?

Last year my mom’s company needed full-time help just around the time I had to throw in my towel on personal training full-time because it was completely destroying me physically. It was perfect, I could work from home, work on my own schedule, and her company works with health coaches (part of the reason I became a health coach, plus it fits into my health and wellness career nicely).

I would have never had the courage to leave my awesome job as a trainer to work for her. As I stated earlier, I don’t like limbo! As always, it worked though.

It’s crazy. I now have two careers when I could easily be on disability. Who knows, I have even thought about going into natural medicine after finishing school for aromatherapy. I am not making any plans because something I have learned is that the entire direction of life can change in a blink of an eye. I am simply opening myself up for universal guidance on where my next step is, and I will deal with that when I get there.

Over the past year I have been able to be more involved as a parent to my children. When I first decided to go to treatment in 2009, my daughter went to stay with my parents for the month and my son went to live with his dad. After treatment I lived in a sober living house and decided since I had safe, stable options for my children to stay, it would be selfish for me to make them live with me there.    I couldn’t take care of myself much less them. I had started to transition my daughter to live with me right before I started to get sick and it had to be put on hold.

Hell, I almost ended up having to move back in with my parents because some days I am fine, but some days I can barely function.   Another lesson in surrender, it’s humiliating to say I literally can’t take care of myself sometimes. Last night I almost blew out my knee because I fell while changing. My husband has been a huge blessing in this area. My children both know that I am sick and sometimes I am okay and sometimes I am not, and they understand.

In the past I couldn’t take them because I never know when it will get bad, but now, now we can take them. Now, I have learned that it’s okay to have help. My parents and my son’s father are also super supportive and are also there if I am alone and get ill. I don’t know where I got the idea that I have to do everything on my own, that help is for the weak, but now I understand that it takes a lot more to ask for help than the alternative. Plus my fear of ruining my children is starting to subside.

Another thing I have learned this past year is that life doesn’t slow down. If you keep your plate out, life will keep piling it on. I am responsible for taking care of myself, having boundaries, knowing what I am and what I am not capable of taking on, or at least admitting when it is too much. I have never been in a position where I have more opportunity than I have time. It is an odd and foreign place.

I am learning balance. I am learning that I don’t need to feel guilty for taking time for myself, taking time for leisure, even when there is still work that I could be doing. I am learning to accept my past without shame or guilt, to accept myself for who and where I am now.   I am also experiencing first hand that progress is not linear. I have always heard it, experienced it on a level, but this past year there are some areas of my life that I had always considered solid that I feel like I have major work to do in now, and other areas that I have never seemed to grasp that come easily. Now I truly understand that life is more like a dance.

I am really excited to see what this next year holds for me. I am truly blessed for the life I have today and all of the love and joy that fill it!

Do you take time to reflect throughout the year? What is the biggest revelation you’ve seen? Share in the comments below!

 

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