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A Heart of Compassion
Note: Before you dive into this post, I want to give you a heads up so that you can decide if now is the right time for you to read this. I will be talking about autoimmune diseases, trauma, PTSD, breast cancer, and miscarriages. That’s a lot in one place, and while significant detail won’t be included, I wanted to let you know up front, in case this is something that may be challenging to read, so that you can decide if you need to forgo reading this all together or hold it for another time. ❤️
There are times when I have intuitive nudges to make changes, not always knowing fully why the changes are needed or what may be coming.
It’s something that over time I’ve started to pay more attention to, as I have become more mindful of honoring how my heart, intuition, body, brain, spirit, and higher self communicate with me.
Sometimes you don’t know what you’re preparing yourself for, but when it happens you realize: “OH, THIS! This is what I’ve been preparing for.”
This is what I’ve been making space for. What I’ve known in some way was coming whether I could put words to it or not. What may have already been bubbling but my conscious mind didn’t quite know it yet.
As I shared a few weeks ago, there were quite a few reasons why I felt the need to move from writing the Daily Anchor to The Anchor, including needing to focus more attention on other priority projects.
While I knew/thought that a large majority of my time would then shift to two other priority projects in our business, I also knew that there were some health challenges that were needing a bit more of my time and attention, specifically my PTSD.
Little did I know (or maybe I did know — on that intuitive level I spoke of above) that more was coming my way on the health front and that self-care was going to need upping to an even higher level than I’d originally thought.
In the last two weeks, I have had the biggest flare in one of my autoimmune conditions (ulcerative colitis) than at any time in the last seven years or so. It has zapped my energy, left me feeling helpless at times, brought up issues around self-worth, and triggered some major changes in sleep and food requirements.
Unfortunately, to add to the overwhelm, my health care providers are not in agreement about a specific medication that can help some people with the chronic pain and inflammation that comes with two of the autoimmune issues that I have.
I’ve had to do A LOT of research on my own to come up with what I believe is best for my body and health. I’m going to trust myself on this — and when you feel so crummy, it’s also challenging to know/feel that you’re making the best decisions.
To further add to the overwhelm and craptastic feelings, I heard from my OB/GYN last night about the results of my recent (and first) mammogram. I DO NOT have breast cancer, so that’s not where this is going, and I am incredibly relieved that I am safe on that front for now.
But, they did find significant markers, and with my health history, I am in the high-risk category for developing breast cancer.
I will be visiting with my doctor in person next week to find out what options I have and to formulate a plan for moving forward. I have no idea what will come from that meeting. Well, I guess I have four different ideas. I am aware of the different ways forward, as I have had friends go through this and have done a fair amount of my own research. But still, lots of uncertainty.
And, while I am trying not to catastrophize (and mostly doing a pretty good job of it) I find myself in a bit of a mind-f*** at times. I know that with the other autoimmune conditions I have, I am already in a much higher risk category for other cancers, as well, so this can add to helplessness I sometimes feel.
Most of the time I do really well with the (what feels to me like an absurd number of) chronic health conditions I am living with — but there are occasions where I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. And, sometimes I do.
The Challenging Moments
That curling up in a ball and crying piece is where I have gotten myself into trouble, and not for the reason you may be thinking. But, because I have been so damn hard on myself at times when I’ve gotten to that place. And, damnit, there are times where a good “curl up and cry” is just what is needed! STOP JUDGING. (I’m telling myself that, not you.) ;-)
And, it is in these times — in the moments that are so challenging — that what I need most is a heart of compassion for myself...
...in the moments of “I just can’t handle another thing.” ...in the moments of fear and overwhelm. ...in the moments of “Why is this happening?” ...in the moments of “I want to hide for a while — or OK, maybe for forever.” ...in the moments of “weakness.”
Living with a Heart of Compassion
Self-compassion is not self-indulgence. Nor is it pity or weakness.
Self-compassion is loving. It is kind. It is brave. It is the way forward.
I want to do better (I will do better) at living with a heart of compassion for all that arises.
I have shared with you that the last few months have been challenging in a lot of ways and it was, in part, some of these challenges that led to me needing to shift my writing practice and thus the Daily Anchor.
I thought about not sharing the part below here, as I wasn’t sure how needed it was, but upon reflection, I think it may be helpful to see some of the “behind the scenes” process of working towards some of the realizations I had — and just how important it is to have a partner that can help you keep perspective.
It was in sitting down with Charlie at breakfast this morning that I was reminded that it hasn’t just been the last couple of months that have been incredibly challenging. That, in truth, the last five months or so have been challenging and last year was a lot of hard, as well.
Last year there was the miscarriage, the emergency surgery, two concussions, and saying goodbye to Socks — all while Charlie’s book launch was happening — and all in a three to four month time period.
And, then in the last five months, there has been COVID, major work and life changes, economic uncertainty, the resurgence of my PTSD, the uprisings, my neck injury, the current autoimmune flare, and the breast cancer worry.
And, what I have never shared with you is that on Mother’s Day (about three months ago) I had a very challenging break through/break down when I realized that if I had not miscarried last year, that I may have been a mother and that my due date would have been the week before. I’m not going to get into that here but did want to share for context.
When Shit Is Hard
So, why am I sharing all of this with you?
The reason is that I often forget or lose perspective about what all has happened or what is currently going on in my world. And often when I do that, I find myself judging why I am not able to “do the norm” or do better. That is just not helpful.
I have noticed that I am not the only one who can lose track of the challenges and the setbacks, especially now when time is just so damn weird. Ugh, COVID time!
I wanted to share this with you today as a reminder to be compassionate with yourself. There is so much going on in the world right now that is just hard. And, added to that, each one of us has our own journey, and our own personal challenges and setbacks.
I know for myself that part of my work right now is living with a heart of compassion for myself at all times. I don’t want to set up the expectation that I have to have X number of challenges or Y has to be X hard/bad before I can be kind to myself.
AND, I am really having to work on this, so sometimes I just have to have it all laid bare and be lovingly reminded that shit is hard right now! So, if you may also need that loving reminder here it is: SHIT IS HARD RIGHT NOW, Y’ALL. (Tweet this.)
I also want to say that there is so much beauty in my world and I am still so damn lucky. However, I’m in a moment right now where I mostly need to give myself permission to not be OK. And, that permission comes from a heart of compassion.
If you are in a really good place right now… GREAT! I hope you are able to stay there for a very long time. I am truly very happy for you and will remind you to hold tight to that place of compassion for yourself.
If you are in a not so good place right now… I see you. Please know you are loved. And I have a question for you: Is there a better way forward that may be found by allowing more compassion for yourself?