When life gets real and shit hits the fan, I used to go with it and make the best of each challenge. Being optimistic and expecting the best, even in dark times, has been my preferred coping mechanism. Unless, I feel personally violated. Unless, the same situation unfolds again and again... It is during these cloudy, dreary, bleak times I need a reminder. One I go to often: "What lies behind me and what lies before me are small matters compared to what lies within me." It is true, I am strong.

A variety of individuals, from friends, family, strangers, personal counselors/therapists, and business associates alike have described me as empowered, confident and driven. For the most part, I agree with them. However, when those challenging moments turn into HARD days, morphing into relentless seasons....when my thoughts are constantly pondering ways to escape... well, let's just agree, I need reminding of my inner strength.

I was reading Danielle La Porte's Very Personal Hurt article and was gripped at how much I could relate. Her experience with interstitial cystitis gave me reason to reflect upon the lengthy season in which I was living with: a chronic UTI, (maybe it was actually interstitial cystitis??) incapacitating digestion and constipation with hemorrhoids so bad I considered surgery (until the doctor said my recovery would be more painful than the excruciating pain I had already been suffering through for years), circulation in my legs so poor I was wearing the white compression, granny stockings, 24/7. Boy did I feel unsexy!! All of this began during my late 20s. Looking back, I recall the murky, life challenges I was wading through. Now knowing our physical health is impacted by our emotional and mental health, I can see the correlation to my physical health. How unfortunate, the doctors I visited for my health issues never asked about, or indicated, this possible connection.

Some of you, dear readers have had similar struggles. Some of you have had to face the possibility of physical death. And although, I have often, when in the depths of despair, battling to find my way back to a place of hope; longed for death, I have not had to battle a terminal physical illness.

What I have battled for, as I'm sure so many others have too...

I have battled for my emotional health and my mental health. Even when I didn't know it, I was battling PTSD. "Back in the day" there wasn't a name for it. I just learned to  I I have been an avid learner of truths, overcoming the fallacies of society and family members. I have refused to lie down, roll over, and pretend it was 'just in my head' or that I was 'being too emotional'! I don't deny there is a problem! Problems do NOT go away just because they are ignored or swept under the proverbial rug!!!! In reality, they get worse! For instance, take the wife who has endured years of emotional and verbal abuse from her husband. Always excusing it away, 'He doesn't know any better. He doesn't mean it. He is under a lot of stress. He really does love me. I should have kept my mouth shut. I should have done a better job.....' 40 plus years later, she is taking antidepressants. They say they love each other. I say they have a twisted, miserable co-dependency.

I can tell you the most difficult and intense battles have been the battles when I have stood against loved ones while advocating for myself on my #HealingForward journey. The individuals I wanted in my corner advocating, unquestioningly for me, simply could not understand. Those have been excruciatingly painful times and I know I'm not the only one who has felt them.

While I have come a long way; according to my most recent visit with my therapist, I am an empowered, strong, over comer. I do not need her services at this time; the battles are not over. My current, daily battles are for my inner peace and joy. The woman of yesteryear who was full of joy, and optimistic, has to make a daily choice to find and share joy. To help me with this, I choose to start each day with a positive, guided meditation. Ten minutes of mindful meditation, to start my day on a positive vibe, helps me let go of anxiety. Learning to be mindful allows me to recognize the self-sabotaging thoughts which can so easily creep into and pollute my mind.

When I was going through my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I was encouraged to write why I teach yoga on each lesson I create. To keep this reason at the forefront of every class I teach. "I teach yoga so others may find healing, inner peace and confidence; connecting mind, body and spirit so they may exhale the past and inhale the present moment." The reality is, we only have This Moment. The past is gone, the future is always coming. But life, well... life is what we make of each moment given to us. It is the legacy we leave. I close each class I teach with the offer to inhale love and grace for yourself, exhale and generously share love and grace with others, and the reminder we are all priceless. This has become My Mantra. It is better than dark chocolate truffles and Cabernet Sauvignon. (winky smile)

This mantra, has given me roots of encouragement and become a beacon of hope. May you "Take Ten", mindfully breathe, inhale love and grace for yourself, exhale and share love and grace with others. Reset and let go of anything which no longer serves you. You Are Priceless!

 

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