I've been MIA on here for a while. I can't say that I'm back permanently, but I'm here *now*. There were a lot of factors that have kept me silent, the largest of them being my depression and apathy, recently made much worse by a persistent health issue. This year, I was diagnosed with an idiopathic gastrointestinal issue. It may be SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), it may be IBS (a diagnosis I will refuse to accept), it may be completely psychosomatic (if today is any sign, I'm thinking it probably is). It could be something *much* more serious. It's not a lot of things. I've been tested for a battery of things that it's not, among which are Crohn's, Celiac, Colon Cancer, Colitis. It's none of those.
It is something that has made me very aware of my body, how I've responded to it in the past, how I have to respond to it now, and my "new normal". I am not a fan of my "new normal", as much of it relates to my bathroom habits; and really, there are much more exciting things to deal with than that.
This health issue has taught me a lot this year, though. About how I respond to myself and all the ways I have and have not been taking care of my body, mind, heart and soul.
I may be getting *a little* off track here, though. 2015 is here, in all it's calm, new glory. 2014 was one for the books. If I believe my FB feed, it sucked. I think it really did. So many people in my life dealt with so much loss, so much pain, so much heartbreak. It seems to be universal sometimes. It was one of those years. I know it was for me. At the same time, 2014 has taught me some very valuable lessons about myself and my limits. It has taken back the power of the word "no", a word long stripped of power for me. It has made me realize that some small lies that were told to me a decade ago, and were beaten into my head so consistently, weren't true. Most importantly, it has been a spark, in so many ways. I have begun to recapture and rediscover some essential truths about myself. Things I had hidden, things that had just gotten old, tired, abused, disused .... hard.
So, in all this reflection about my health, my body and my mental state, I was terribly struck, and a little motivated, by this post in Elephant Journal, A Public Apology to My Body. If you have the time, you really should read it. Some of it rang more true than I will ever admit. Some of it I couldn't relate to at all. But, it got me thinking. I really need to apologize to myself for the past year. At the same time, I really need to recognize, appreciate and thank 2014 for all the important, poignant lessons it has taught me. Although I'm sure I will not be as eloquent as the aforementioned Sara Crolick (and much-longer winded, I can assure you), it's something I need to say, to myself.
To My Body -I'm sorry we had such a rough year this past year. I'm not sure how long you were trying to get me to listen to you, probably at least a year. I am thinking this all started in the Spring of 2013, perhaps? I thought I was doing well, I retooled my diet, I got us a new relationship with the food and sustenance and thought I had *really* started listening to you. We lost 15 pounds in 2013 and felt better than we had in a long time. We felt light, and was starting to feel powerful. Thank you for that lesson. In 2014 though, things started to go South. I think you were trying to tell me, "...since you listen to me so well, I'm going to teach you that you really need to listen to the other parts of you too...." Maybe they put you up to it, who knows? I'm pretty convinced that this GI issue is completely psychosomatic, though. Please tell me if it isn't. I'm listening.
I promise to continue to listen to you. To hear what you need and what you want. To stop and breathe when you're in pain; to push you when you're just being stubborn. I promise to try and learn the difference. I promise to help you find and maintain your strength, your flexibility, your limits. I promise to be patient and kind, to continue to treat you with gentleness and respect; to learn to love all the parts of you, from my slightly bouncy belly to my strong swimmer's shoulders. You seem to enjoy the calmness of acupuncture and regular massage. I promise to continue that.
To My Mind -I'm sorry I've neglected you this past year. I spent so much time trying to understand what my body was telling me about my general state of well-being that I kind of neglected you. I can tell because you've gotten a little slower and a lot more stubborn. I know you're still in there though, because you've thrown yourself over-board on some really silly things, like grammar and editing and correcting other people and things. Where new information and challenges used to really get your neurons going, you really preferred to coast. You've partially checked out a little this year, especially where it's come to our career, and I can't blame you. I really think you're trying to self-preserve. I tried to fill you with new knowledge, but it's hard to really throw yourself into something when so many others parts are just fighting to stay alive and there's just not the extra energy, I get it. Recently though, you, along with soul, have rediscovered writing and word play. I think once we move onto our new adventure in life, you'll find something to go crazy for again. I think after 10 years, we need a shift, a change. You deserve as much.
I promise to be patient with you when you're being slow and stubborn. I promise that this new adventure will be exciting. I promise to try and challenge you more this year. I'll try really hard to find better books to read. I promise to listen to your interests and let you speak up more often. I promise to reconnect you with some old friends, and make some new friends. I promise to let you out a little more and stretch your legs. You deserve it, you have so much to offer.
To My Heart -I think you've been the part that I've neglected most of all, and for that, I'm truly sorry. You got hard this year, and I let you. Part of that was depression and apathy, and not really having the energy anywhere else in me to push you. I let you run on "stand-by" mode this year, and that is *never* acceptable. I hope you can forgive me. At the same time, this year you fought for yourself. You started to open on your own (or, maybe, just maybe, it was the help of all those 'heart-openers' in our yoga practice), to come to some terms of your own and to stand up and make the rest of us take notice. You told me you weren't going to be quiet and you were tired of trying to be defined by anyone or anything else. I owe you so much for being brave like that.
I promise this year to listen to you. To let you love freely and to help you come less quickly to anger. I promise to not let you coast and to make the act of loving a more open, conscious, decision. I promise to make more play dates for you with soul. I know the two of you used to go hand in hand and that you are truly both the essence of my being. I promise to continue and clean out our psychic house, to get rid of baggage and heartache, things you don't need any longer. Sometimes that includes people; I promise to do it gently. I promise to acknowledge and validate your pain instead of letting it fester or just ignoring it away. I promise to face more issues head on. Most importantly, I promise to accept you, for all your facets, for the random, crazy, passionate, timid, frightened, alive thing that you are.
To My Soul -I'm sorry I've tried to shallowly placate you this year. We've gotten a lot of things done, you and I. Oftentimes though, it's just been about you and I just going through the motions, instead of getting really down and dirty and inspired and creative. There's a place for both, there really is. I promise you to go deeper this year, to listen to you when you tell me that this is what you burn for. To listen to you when you say, "You need to stop and do this *now*...". Thank you for reminding me of the practice of grounding, for reminding me that my hands yearn to be in the dirt, to coax things to grow. Thank you for reminding me of things that used to soothe you, for finding a common language in music.
I promise to not just placate you this year. As I told heart, I promise to make more play dates for the two of you and that I will continue to purge that which has cluttered our path. Although I promised to let you burn, I'd rather not have a wildfire. I promise to make you try new things, and more of things that I think you really like. I promise to audition for more shows and to expand your knowledge of the things that do make you quiver and burn. I promise to listen to you when you say something isn't for us; I promise to not make you feel like you're wasting your time. I promise to challenge you and to really let your fire burn. I promise you that others will stand up and take notice.
To Myself -I promise to be patient and kind. I promise to respect your essence and your limits. I promise to allow all of you to say no. I promise to support you either way, in all that you do. Most importantly, I promise to listen.