This last year has taught me a great deal.
It's been a humbling time in my life as I move towards real change, to the final letting go of my youngest child who is now 18 and ready to leave home in a few months. I've also been entering the stillness and deep wisdom of menopause, and whilst that's not been an easy journey (emotionally), that particular rite of passage has also offered a profound learning for me. Both of these things came on the back of adrenal burnout which hit me so hard 2 years ago, and which has impacted on my life greatly for the last 24 months. Only now am I coming to a more balanced place of inner peace and external rest and what a blissful place that is!
I knew when the adrenal stuff first showed up in my life that it would come bearing a gift for me - one of my old art teachers used to say "there's no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in it's hands," which I understand is originally a Richard Bach quote, and I believe this to be true.
Adrenal burnout took me into profound stillness because I had no choice. Ironically I think that many of us arrive in these places from mindlessly repeating behaviour patterns only to have an illness, a trauma or a real life shake up wake us up to different ways of thinking and being. Laid up for days on end, being hit by the inability to plan (I've always been a 'planner' and a do-er) because I would never know when fever would land and my when my body would betray me and become useless, which is honestly how I saw it then. I felt captive to some strange mystery I could do nothing but accept, and accepting it was tough. I felt weak, needy, vulnerable, and incapable, all of which triggered in me a deep sense of failure on some levels. I was de-constructing and I didn't like it one bit - my resistance was high!
One day, in a particularly depressing bout of pain and struggle with this condition, my dear friends Sarah & Gavin sent me a Matt Khan video to watch. This video changed everything for me! I realised that in my resentment of this 'illness' I was experiencing, I was still pushing my body beyond it's own wisdom, still pushing it to heal faster, move more and just 'get on with things.' I was lying prone on my sofa with the subliminal attitude of an authoritarian dictator, with the same pushy attitude that had brought me here "hurry up already and get well and get on with stuff!"
In that moment I realised I was angry with myself and even more so with my body and in that realisation I suddenly found the deepest sense of compassion for what I was experiencing; I vowed to change my thinking and just surrender to these teachings. It was only then that my true recovery began.
Most of us live in a very 'yang' dominant way. We are experiencing times of rapid cultural and social development; technology takes us in many directions at the same time and relentless hard work is mistaken for great achievement. The silence of mindful thought and action is relegated to what we do as an trendy add-on in our lives rather than a true way of being. Having recently learned of and been inspired by the Korean nun and highly acclaimed chef Jeong Kwan, I have realised that mindfulness and silence are great teachers when applied to every single aspect of our lives, not just in a 20 minute meditation practice!
When we stop separating and compartmentalising our lives, true inner peace begins to penetrate our being. There is no longer a duality, or a struggle, there comes only stillness, and in the stillness there comes wisdom.
In learning to befriend stillness which was never a comfortable place for me, I have found a palace of exquisite treasures inside of myself. I find kindness to have become my main driver in life; what good can I do with my words, my thoughts and my actions? Compassion steers my ship of life now. I practice stillness in each moment by pausing, taking and breath and working on reflecting before I act or speak. In seeing how much violence there can be in the world, and not just in the obvious way, but in our communications, our assumptions and our projections, I am reigning mine in and gathering them in my heart to offer healing to those parts that needed to learn that true wisdom comes from knowing oneself, and that knowing oneself can only come from becoming silent, listening and being patient. It can only come from practising Ahmisa (the art of non-violence and respect for all living things) as a conscious choice, and it can only come from deep and true humility and compassion.
My heart feels peaceful and my body follows suit. I am no longer living with attachment to material measures of success. Yes occasionally I wobble on that of course, but I find my way home to the truth by consciously becoming still, and by trusting the right path to unfold before me rather than my pushing it all from the mind. I bow to the wisdom of my body, and of my heart. The mind is just one part of the system but the body is my wisdom keeper and silence is her greatest ally.
I'm now working on developing many of my practices, workshops and events around this vital concept of stillness and deep listening. I intend to study some yoga practices that will bring more yin into that part of my life too, and into the lives of others. You can only really teach what you know, so I thank this adrenal burnout for being my greatest teacher in life.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about how you can heal from adrenal burnout, or to learn more about my upcoming events. Meanwhile, I share this beautiful Rumi Poem with you as it sums up for me the essence of surrender and becoming one. I see the 'beloved' as my relationship with all this 'illness' brought to me, and my deepest inner self.
“A lover asked his beloved,
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
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