This was a text I sent out with my last email, so it’s a few weeks old.
Gosh, what a whirlwind last three weeks. Today is the first day that I feel balanced, grounded, refreshed, and resourced, and I’m going to tell you why I’m sharing this with you.
Often, when getting to know a new client, I ask them to select for me their top five values from this list. This information is important for me, but when it comes to core values, being able to determine what one’s core values are is a key step on the road to standing firmly in integrity.
And integrity is probably my most significant core value. So sharing with you the truth of my own recent experience is important for establishing trust in me, as a coach. After all, who am I to support you if I’m not practicing what I preach?
Back in June, my eldest daughter and I met with the plastic surgeon who would be performing her breast reduction surgery. If you know one thing about me it’s likely that I have a deep and abiding lack of faith in the medical system, to put it mildly, so this was not a decision that either she or I stepped into lightly. It was truly a quality of life issue, and so we researched together and measured the pros and the cons.
I didn’t expect her to actually get the call when we did. Granted, she is about to age out of the children’s system, so time was ticking, but given what is happening in the world and what we hear on the news about life-saving surgeries being cancelled, I was bolstering her to expect not to make it before she turned 18.
But they did call, and we had 2.5 weeks to prepare. Had we been more relaxed when it comes to medical procedures, perhaps this time frame would not have wound me up the way it did. But we were contending with more than the implications of the surgery itself. We were also dealing with a system that is in a constant state of moving the goal posts, a psychological tactic designed expressly to destabilize. I wasn’t certain until shortly before our pre-op if I was even going to be able to be in the hospital when she was going in for surgery. And it was many days until we got this answer.
I am being very honest when I share with you that potentially not being allowed to be there when my baby was being put under and reassembled felt far more life-threatening than anything else I’ve ever experienced. I was so incredibly relieved to hear that the rules were relaxed, but leading up to that time and strategizing and solutionizing was way more resource-depleting than I could imagine.
The surgery itself went great. I was on high alert and hypervigilant for days before and while I was waiting her to come out of surgery. We were both SO relieved when it was over and she’s healing really well and is getting used to the outcome and her new body as she recuperates.
But holy cow, I don’t recall being quite so tired since perhaps she was an infant and waking me every 40 minutes around the clock to breastfeed. There’s a funny irony there.
Being in a constant state of hyper vigilance for my child is not new for me. It’s part of motherhood, generally, not well-accounted for or properly evaluated. Add to motherhood my own experience of managing a child with some pretty serious historical challenges with mental health issues (the whole reason why I am now a giftedness coach), and it’s pretty easy to understand why something that was our choice still impacted me so deeply.
It’s the first time since motherhood began for me that I heeded my exhaustion as tenderly as I held my newborn babies.
If I’ve learned nothing else from my coach training and client work and my own somatic practice it’s that when something in me signals as strongly as this exhaustion did, I MUST listen.
Acute signals that are ignored, overridden, repressed, or that we gaslight ourselves for turn chronic. I know this because I’ve been there. And I know that I don’t want to go there again. It’s WAY harder to come back from a condition that has become chronic than it is to attend to acute symptoms.
A week post-surgery I’m feeling alert and energized again, and ready to return to my creative work. I feel replenished, re-resourced, present, and available. I can engage without getting entangled. My joy is creeping back in, and I’m able to do more than just the basics of self-care.
I can do this because I prioritized the signalling from my body and I ONLY did, in the last week especially, what absolutely needed to be done. This was a choice that I had to consciously make, and that I want to teach you how to make too.
Because I must. And you must. We all must. Our quality of life depends on it.