Sooooooo, I’m nearly at the 11 month mark since the car accident. 11 months. I’ve spent the 36th year of my life on bedrest, and in hospitals, and in indescribable pain. Wow, what a journey.
I’ve learned some valuable lessons, OK that’s the understatement of the century. Each day is hard. It’s hard to wake up with a planet splitting headache and nausea, and god help me, please not the spins. But it’s a daily reminder to Dig Deep. Deeper. Find the strength. It’s there.
The thing about chronic illness (a word I despise) or pain or whatever terminology you choose… is that there is NO SPACE for self pity. None. Every morning there is a choice, it’s called “deal with it” or “cry” and so help me, when the crying starts….it’s hard to stop.
And there are some things that I think you can only learn when you’re digging deep. Because you (from a favorite Jerry Maguire quote) “Are Incapable of Dealing with Bullshit”.
Some of my most treasured lessons from my 36th year:
1. Whatever you think you absolutely “HAVE TO DO” you “cannot miss” they “cannot do it without you” – you’re wrong. You don’t. You can. They can. Truth. (Ahem mother’s out there, slow down and read it again). The world WILL keep spinning without you. Life will go on. There is absolutely NOTHING that cannot wait. Imagine if you will all those things that are deal breakers, that you must do for the world to keep spinning – then getting in a car accident and being stuck in bed for oh… nearly a year. Guess what? Everyone lived through it.
2. Slow Down. Like a snails pace, then slow down some more. I’m built with one speed, Fast. Multi-tasker extraordinaire. Over achiever. Always racing to the finish line. Drive fast. Cook fast. Clean fast. Shop Fast. It might be genetic.. because I’m SLOW compared to my mom! I’ve been rushing through everything and never knew it. Nothing slows you down like bedrest. It’s like a freakin anchor. So now I walk slowly with my 5 year old and we look at leaves and cracks in the sidewalk and bugs, without the nagging sense of hurry. When I shop, I move slowly and enjoy the experience. When my kids talk – I stop multi tasking and I Listen. I really listen to who they are and what they think. I don’t know that I ever really did that before. Not really, with the slowness it deserves.
3. Don’t judge. Anyone. Ever. For anything. It’s not your place. You have NO idea what they are going through. I have a whole post I can dedicate to this. But for now, trust me. When you leave your house, or get a phone call, or see something and you think “wow” and that little voice starts to judge. Just slap it. Send love to the person, double time, and a little to yourself as well.
4. Make time to meditate, pray, and journal. If you don’t have time, like really seriously don’t have time, then you need it most. Make it a priority as if it’s your life on the line (because it is). I believed in the power of prayer and the goodness of meditation and even thought it was a good idea to journal. But I never actually consistently DID IT. I never made time, I just thought about it and thought that was enough. IT’S NOT. Make 15 minutes a day for morning prayer, meditation, reflection and at least 10 minutes at bedtime. Conscious time, not lying in bed as you fall asleep. It will change your life. I promise. Feeling short of patience? Irritable? Pain? Anxiety? Isn’t it worth 20 minutes a day to try, rather than calling your doc for a prescription? Or worse, just living with it?
5. Be the Light. Find the Magic. Whatever you are going through, there is always someone going through more, dealing with “worse”. When you are teetering on self pity, just remember to be the light instead. Your light may shine for someone else who needs it, and that itself may give you the power to be strong. By being the light, you also start to find the magic. And it will pop up in unexpected places if you are moving slow enough to see it. The world is filled with love and hope and magic, but most of us are too busy rushing off to Target or judging what someone else is doing to notice. Stop reading the tragedies and gore on the news. Take a 21 day sabbatical. Fill your world with positive affirmations, love, peace and hope. Fill your Facebook feed with people who inspire you, HIDE those with the drama. And start looking, magic will pop up in the greatest places.
Create your Sunshine Life, without a year of bedrest. Slow Down. Be the Light. It’s the biggest reward you may ever give yourself. xoxo