I’ve learned something about mental health recently and it’s from my own experience. When you have to deal with something on an emotional plane (versus a physical level), it strips you down completely. And what you are left with can feel raw and vulnerable. In the months after the accident, I have at times felt very fragile, like a little crystal Christmas ornament that you can simply brush against and it will shatter. Shards of glass upon the floor. Sweep them up and away I go.
But here’s the good part, which I alluded to in a previous post – How Listening Can Be a Path to Healing. When I began the process of trying to pick myself off the floor and put myself back together, I could only deal with a certain number of pieces. These were the ones that really mattered. I just didn’t have the energy to bring back aspects of my life that didn’t serve me anymore. It was time to let some of them go. I said no to attending various events and conferences, and I opted out of certain work commitments and career opportunities. I even had to remove myself from a company that I was part owner of, because it no longer felt like the right match for me. Some of these decisions had been awhile in the making and I’d certainly had inklings, but the accident suddenly made everything come clear. It was time to take action.
My intuition radar is way up, and now, I can detect what matters most in my life and what doesn’t. Initially this was a weird feeling because I didn’t know if it was the post-traumatic stress talking, or if it was the ‘real’ me coming out in full force. I tried to just sit with this voice—the one I was hearing that was telling me what to do—but after awhile I couldn’t continue to ignore her. I couldn’t continue to ignore myself anymore, and I’ve come to accept this voice is mine and she is real.
I’ve begun to focus on the things that matter to me, things that fuel me and feel good to me. These are not things that intellectually I have to think about in order to determine if they’re good or not. Our bodies are surprisingly capable at telling us what feels right and what doesn’t – if we give them a chance. Sometimes we get so caught up in our life that we forget to listen to the wisdom that lives in our bodies. Now, I tune in and let myself FEEL the goodness inside, and I follow the sprinkled breadcrumbs of joy (paraphrased words said by my coach http://www.anneberube.com).
This New Year’s Eve, I spent the day with a close friend and our kids. Then I had a two-hour beach walk with another friend and we watched the moon rise and stared in awe as Venus came out in full force next to the moon, bright as anything before the sun had even set. We listened to the music that the water makes as it crashes on the rocky shore and is sucked back out. Because that’s what feels good – to me.
What matters most to you? Can you try and do more of that? Joy will never lead you astray! And on the flip side, what gives you knots in your stomach and just doesn’t feel right? Can you let some things go?
I know none of this happens overnight. It has taken me months to make some of the changes I have known I’ve needed to make. For others it might take years. But the important thing is to do something little at first and to listen to the voice inside. She or he KNOWS. Focus on something small that makes you feel good. This makes you more connected with your true self, and the more you do this, the more joy you will continue to find.