What a difference a month makes! When I awoke on June 12th, I had no idea that I would be indeed be experiencing an awakening unlike anything I had ever known. Going through my normal routine, planning my day in my head that included a full day of clients, writing deadlines, promo for upcoming events, a quick breakfast and out the door I went to the gym. Nothing unusual occurred until I was headed home and I felt a series of sensations that included jaw tightness, drenching sweats and heart burn pain that seared across my back and chest. All of these added up to the certainty that my heart was going haywire. Got myself to the hospital where interventions were immediate…a stent inserted in my collapsed artery and then I was toted to a bed where I hung out for a few days; all manner of wires, monitors, tubes, IV’s and meds were applied. Caring staff offered their best, loving family and friends showed up and both supported and chastised since they saw it coming. I had been running at a ridiculous pace, 12 hour days with maybe 6 hours sleep in between, for months..maybe years. Full time job, many consulting writing and speaking gigs filling in the dubious gaps. All in service to my fears of not being able to support myself added up to near shut down. How long had this been brewing? There had been two other health crises last year that I hadn’t heeded, so my body screamed louder. It got my attention this time. Not letting this heart attack go to waste. I have learned several things as a result.
1. I am human. As much as I like to see myself as invulnerable and invincible, this corporeal existence will one day end.
2. My body needs attention, nurturing, scrupulous self care, rather than neglect and inattention. That means rest…even God was rumored to have done that, at least for a day.
3. People are there to support me as much as I am to support them. I need not be Wonder Woman to be loved.
4. Emotions play a huge role in physical wellbeing. As a career therapist, I knew this and yet, I repressed feelings for so many years, that they were coming out my ears. Unexpressed grief over my parents’ deaths over the past few years, a paradoxical marriage that ended in 1998 when my husband died following a 6 year illness, raising a child solo, living as a co-dependent caregiver for most of my life while guiding clients in creating healthy lives. The adages: ‘We teach what we need to learn,’ and ‘Healer, heal thyself.’ are pertinent here.
5. Spiritual faith can get me through anything. In the midst of my fears of ‘not enough-ness,’ I discovered a spark of certainty that all was well and would be well.
6. Learned resilience has been my strength. I have bounced back beautifully.
7. Slow and steady are watchwords now. Zen like simplicity in thoughts that had been cluttered and chaotic. Moving at a one step at a time pace; as if walking a labyrinth.
8. I am a work in progress and am ever evolving.
Who knows the outcome of this adventure? I am eager to discover.