It’s been four years since this photo and yet I get goosebumps just thinking about where I was at, both physically and mentally.
I was falling #sick with a cold or a stomach flu every other week, reacting to medicines which were supposed to help, afraid to be alone in my own bedroom, finding it hard to eat, needing help to wash my hair and sometimes even to brush my teeth, hating on my body for being fragile and weak, struggling to protect myself from people, fighting with school because they had no policies in place for people with medical issues, crying myself to bed every night, falling asleep with a strange emptiness in my #heart, waking up to feeling suffocated, hating on my creativity because I couldn’t pursue it the way I wanted to, feeling like every day was an absolute drag… I was claustrophobic in my own #body and #mind.
I wonder if this photo says any of that.
2013 was the year I knew I was done with everyone and everything around, including myself. Something needed to shift and I didn’t know what or how. All I knew was that life couldn’t possibly feel the way it did. Despite feeling like a hostage to my own #existence, there was a glimmer of #hope, a constant knowing that nothing was going to change until I decided to step up to where #life was heading. Stepping up at that point meant pausing and for once allowing myself to let it all sink in. Nothing was going to be anything like I had once imagined and I had to come to terms with that. I couldn’t distract or push myself anymore and I felt horrible. Who thinks about pausing/stopping at 23, right?
The thing is, some of us reach a point in our lives when we are faced with circumstances so real we simply can’t look away from them. Greater things are at play and our personal plans and effort make no sense. Life keeps finding ways to force us to look at what’s being presented and leaves us with two choices – to keep #suffering by avoiding pain OR to acknowledge pain and learn to #rise from there. #trust #acceptance #health #mentalhealth #pause #rest #recover
Looking back, I suppose there were things I had in 2013 which lead me to be where I’m at today. The daily struggle and fight have definitely added to all that I have become as a person and in some ways I’m grateful for it (not for the fight but for what came out of it). Of course, gratitude seemed like the last thing on my mind at that point in time because I was in this terribly dark space. Practicing and expressing gratitude, learning to accept whole and broken parts of me and making choices that honour my health (both mental + physical) has taken time and conscious work. I still have rough days but I’ve made peace with the fact that harder days are part and parcel of learning to live with a chronic illness. Today, I know better than ever before that while life is capable of giving you 5 reasons to fear, hate, complain, it will give you at least three reasons to trust, love and grow.
Reminding myself to trust the process, accept where I’m at today which isn’t where I was or where I will be permanently, and take it one day at a time through this significantly transformative period of my life. Transitions are never comfortable but I’ve found more strength in learning to ride the waves rather than just waiting/hoping/praying to get to the other point because quite honestly, you never know how long it can take. There are always lessons to learn if you keep your heart and mind open and there is always a chance for you to let go of the old and evolve. Being here in the now and learning to respond to what is is immensely empowering. You are exactly where you need to be.
D I G I T A L D E T O X – With my classes and workshops starting again this year, I haven’t had a chance to go on my usual monthly digital detox for a while now. However, it looks like the time has come! I’m in a desperate need to disconnect from the world for a while and do things that help me build up on my energy levels. My health hasn’t been all that great lately and all of a sudden I have a tonne of other things to juggle and deal with. I’m predicting next few months will be rather fast-paced for me, which means I need to make sure I give myself more time and care so that my body doesn’t experience some kind of a shock. So there’s my brain trying to think of the quickest and most effective way to get things done, bringing out the old workaholic and control-freak in me and here’s my body doing its thing, being wise and reminding me to go slow. When I work at the speed of my mind, my body suffers for sure and life gets really R E A L L Y hard. When I allow my body lead and let my mind do the supporting role, things seem to work a little more in harmony which in turn keeps my spirit going. Up until today, each time life got too fast-paced (which gives me a bit of a high), learning to mindfully slow down and squeezing out some time for myself is what helped me tremendously. Mindlessly going with the flow has never worked in my case.
I’ll be right back!
Sending everyone lots of love and spoons,
Beautiful day. Beautiful space. Beautiful people. Beautiful artwork. Beautiful lessons.
Here’s me setting up everything, one pen at a time. And check out my wobbly left shoulder holding on to its dear life. 🌷
I had such a wonderful time teaching the Mandala Making Workshop last weekend. Somehow, those two hours made me feel more alive than anything else has in more than half a year now. The most beautiful thing about the experience was the very fact that it brought people from different walks of life together, for one shared purpose: to give a break to their busy minds and let their creativity run wild.
We had a retiree who was looking for ways to keep her mind active, a yoga teacher exploring ways for self-expression, a mandarin language teacher who had forgotten that she can create, a computer engineer who needed her calculating brain to quieten for once… none of them had ANY background in mandalas or pattern-making, hadn’t done much research and yet they were there because it seemed right…I mean, isn’t this just WOW?!
Even though it is not uncommon, I am still so amazed at how the whole process shifted something for some of the participants. For me, being there and seeing that in itself was such a deeply moving experience. To be honest, I’m still letting it all sink in. Everything from the place, to people and to the tea we had seemed right. I don’t think I could have asked to be anywhere else on that Sunday morning but there, teaching, sharing and learning. I’m fatigued out of my mind and yet so full in my heart. Let’s see how long it takes for me to recover from all of it physically but I know I’ll be okay and I’ll do this again when it’s time. My body needs rest now. Conducting a workshop after half a year of being 90% bedridden is a big step ahead for me. And it didn’t just happen overnight… this big step comprised of many, many small steps over the last so many months and years…
One day at a time
One step at a time.
I enjoy making my mandalas as free-hand as possible. Unless I’m making it for someone or teaching a class, I don’t quite bother with guidelines too much. Once you get a hang of it, you intuitively know what to do next. Each one of us knows it and we get better with practice (honestly, I don’t think practice needs to make perfect. If practice makes better, that’s perfect in its own way). There’s barely any “planning” required if really just go with the flow. The best part about making mistakes (if that’s what you want to call them in the first place) while creating patterns is realising that you have the ability to fix them without having to go back. Without erasing or undoing. You adapt, you figure out ways to enhance what you have and work with it.
I’m quite at peace with where I’m at.
Of course, there will always be things to work on and move towards,
and every once in a while I will get overwhelmed with everything that’s going wrong and experience a meltdown for a while – it’s part of the healing process too.
But to be here,
present in this very moment,
with a fragile body that hurts twenty-four-seven,
and still feel alright deep down
is nothing short of an achievement.
The way things were going,
I didn’t think it was ever possible – this ability to be okay with a disability and exist without too much dependence on someone.
Nature always does something to me. It gets me thinking (in a good way) and in some ways, brings out the real me in me.
As I sat there by the water today, looking at the magnificent colours around me,
I knew it was all okay. And going to be okay.
I was there with my knees swollen but my heart was full of love and gratitude.
All that I need in this phase of life, I already have.
A big thank you to all those who are a part of my journey.