One of the best and hardest things about the mind-body journey (otherwise known as life) is that within every difficult experience lies transformative gold. Basically, when we set out to use the mind-body tools and create a deeper connection with our bodies (or shall I say uncover the truth that there is no separation between our minds and bodies), we are mining for that gold. It is the currency with which we set ourselves free from imprisoning beliefs and ways of being.
I am having a very difficult experience right now. It’s probably the toughest experience I’ve ever had, even though I can see so much good in it. I’ve been mining for gold in this experience, looking for what it is I need to learn. What is my body asking for right now? What is it teaching me? Well…it’s actually pretty cool, in the end. My body is taking me to the root of many patterns that just don’t serve me anymore. It’s kind of a funny story…
Once upon a time, I got pregnant. Being me, I decided to renovate my business, website, and home at the same time. (Why not, really?) I tend to do life at full speed, foot on the gas. This is how I did my whole pregnancy. I wrote two ebooks, created all new content for my website, ran several telecourses, and continued coaching, training mind-body coaches, teaching, and running Martha Beck Life Coach Training.
What did I actually want to do during my pregnancy?
Lie down. For nine months.
My body felt terrible throughout my pregnancy. I was constantly nauseous. I had hideous heartburn. In the second trimester, I started having this thing where when I sat or stood, my blood pressure dropped so low that I blacked out. For the entire final eight weeks of my pregnancy, I itched all over my body, all the time, and could only sleep in small chunks. I nearly went insane.
Hmmm. I wonder what a mind-body coach would say to me? Um…lie down? Rest? Stop? Stop the madness?
Then, I gave birth. The birth itself went well, but afterward I hemorrhaged. There was a terrifying post-birth period in which the doctor was working frantically on me and the baby nurse was trying to get my daughter, Aela, to breathe. It was incredibly scary.
Thankfully, everything was okay. I brought Aela home, alive and well, and began my recuperation. I was in immense pain, and soon discovered I had an anal fissure from the birth. My muscles around this injury went into a major spasm. (Muscle spasms HURT.) In the end, I required surgery. Post surgery, my muscles went into deeper spasm. I couldn’t sit down, and still can’t, due to the pain. Physical therapy seems to help in the tiniest of increments, and incredibly slowly.
Then I started feeling terrible in other ways. I lost all remaining tidbits of energy. I felt deeply depressed. I love my daughter so much, and love being a mother, so this felt like the worst kind of torture – not being able to really bring my full energy to motherhood.
I sank into a place of really low self-worth. I felt like I should be able to heal myself. Not only that, I should be able to do so quickly! Why weren’t my mind-body tools “working?” Instead of using self-kindness (probably the most important mind-body tool), I berated myself constantly.
I was running full speed ahead, and then I smacked right into my wall. Splat! I was knocked flat. All the old thoughts, patterns and ways of being that simply aren’t going to work for me anymore came up. My old life pretty much exploded in a large, hot, painful fireball. Well, that’s one way to clear out old patterns. Yeesh!
Having Aela cut straight to the core of me. It forced me to wake up and be reborn right alongside her.
All the usual stuff – my Achilles’ heels, one could say – surfaced. Perfectionism, self-judgment, not asking for help, pushing my body too hard, blaming myself for physical ills, thinking I should never be ill. Kaboom! Kablooey! It was not fun.
Slowly, one-by-one, I started addressing these issues. I started listening to my body and actually resting. I started hearing its messages. I started reaching out. I started learning how to take care of myself in an entirely new way.
I also fought this experience. I felt angry. I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I felt grief. Despair. You name it. Acceptance came only in bursts and bits.
Following intuitive hits, I found a great doctor. It turned out my thyroid has basically said, “Bleeerg. I’m exhausted.” This meant my poor little adrenal glands had to do a lot of extra work, pumping out adrenaline to keep me going. Then they said, “Oooooof. We’ve had it!”
My body has literally used every possible method it can think of to get me to just stop. Lie down. Be. I was really, really avoiding being. I was disconnected from my body. I was actually having trouble using my own mind-body tools. Why? I didn’t want to face some of my painful beliefs, inner truths, and fears.
When I finally surrendered to the being, I was able to finally be kind to myself and to release. The core beliefs around my body were:
I should be able to heal myself.
I should not need help from others to heal.
Being unwell and needing help/love/attention is shameful and should be hidden.
Which is so funny, because last time I went through a mind-body healing process, I did not do it alone! Several years ago I wrote a blog post about how it takes a village. Yet, I guess I still held these beliefs, and I still held myself apart from others as a result. I still wouldn’t let myself be vulnerable and open and loved. I haven’t been loving the part of me that needs help, is in pain, and doesn’t feel well.
I’ve used all the mind-body tools, but I forgot the biggest one of all: community.
Being a life coach, or a mind-body coach, is not about being happy all the time. It’s not about being well or doing well all the time. It’s about being authentic. I needed to clean up this part of my thinking, because it’s holding me back from being fully authentic. If I’m willing to look deeply into the ways I hold myself back, am unkind to myself, and am not loving myself, then I open the door to truly loving and caring for me, mind, body, and soul.
It’s been a really painful lesson. It’s been really hard. It has felt hellish. It is still hard. My body hurts. I’m exhausted. I’m having hormonal rollercoaster rides from starting the new thyroid medication. I’m bummed out that I can’t drive around and do fun stuff. I am not a fan of lying in bed a lot. I miss my old way of zipping around. I’ve had to learn that my body heals on its own timeline, and I must trust its wisdom.
And yet – I’m (often grudgingly) grateful that I’m tearing down the walls and opening up to a new way of being, of not zipping around, and of loving. And of being loved. It’s time for me to fling open the doors and say, “You know what? I want community from you all. I can’t heal all by myself. It’s lonely. It’s not fun. It’s not how it’s supposed to be.”
I mean, really!! Seriously!! Would I tell a client to do it all on her own? NO! Never! I would say to trust her body, follow her intuition, and let it lead her to all the healers, teachers, friends, and modalities that are meant to be a part of her healing journey. Mind-body healing isn’t about healing yourself. It’s not about using only your mind to heal. It’s about honoring all the parts of you and what they need. It’s about becoming aware of thoughts, feeling emotions, hearing intuitive messages from the soul, and learning to trust and love yourself. That’s it. I’m learning all about it, on a whole new level.
Pretty funny, no? Guess I need to change the title of my free ebook, Hear Your Soul, Heal Yourself! Ha ha! It’s not about healing yourself. It’s about loving yourself. That’s what brings true healing, on all levels. I’ve been in what we call my “blind spot” in coaching. I wrote a really helpful complimentary ebook, but I left out a GIANT mind-body concept: opening up to the healing, love, and support you need from others. It cracks me up!
What is loving to my body right now? What is kindness to myself right now? To share all this with you, and to stop trying to go it alone. To let go of my old story that I shouldn’t be unwell, that I should be perfect, that I need to get it together so I can get back to helping others heal and getting stuff done. It’s quite the opposite. I need to share myself, exactly as I am right now, and be loving of this version of me. I need to open gracefully to this lesson. That’s my job right now. That’s love.
So, yeah. Here’s where I am. I’m at home. Lying in bed. My ass still hurts. I don’t feel well. I miss sitting in chairs. (You just don’t appreciate a good chair until you can’t sit in one!) I work in small chunks, rest (when I’m not resisting it), cry when I’m really down, and love my baby.
She seems pretty happy to be with me, nurse, and be loved. In the end, it’s been perfect with her, after all. I’m writing a blog post about that, too – coming soon. Slowing way down has made me the mom I want to be. Slowing down has given me everything, actually. It’s shown me just how much love and connection I was missing out on before. It’s shown me where pride closed doors, and limiting beliefs held me back. It’s shown me how to let myself experience the one energy of which we are all a part. It has given me a deeper spiritual practice. It has given me so much more understanding and respect for emotions and their innate wisdom.
The other day, Donna Reed, a coach friend, visited me. She was inspired to create a healing circle phone call to create support and community for me. She’s the one who made me realize I’ve been missing this vital piece. I am so, so grateful. Thanks to her, I’m using my brand-new (to me) mind-body tool right now. I’m reaching out and asking for connection and healing from all of you. I’m voicing my truth. Right now, I’m having a difficult time. And no matter how much I’m learning, how amazing it actually is, and how grateful I am, it’s still damn hard. I want help. I don’t want to feel alone or be alone.
With that said, you’re invited to the Healing Circle Call! As of publication, plans include coaches Jeannette Maw, Gail Kenny and Diane Hunter leading the vibration-raising and healing!
Where: On the Phone!
Date: Monday, April 8
Time: 12:30 pm PT/1:30 MT/2:30 CT/3:30 ET
Call-In Info: (760) 569-7676
Access Code: 855742