A Thankful Heart
In November 2019 I wrote a post that revealed a truth that I hadn’t been willing to admit to myself for a long time. It felt vulnerable to share, but it was important to explain my gratitude.
It was Thanksgiving day and as I sat there considering all that I was grateful for, I was in awe of the gifts of love and peace that had been brought into my life. Some friends knew, but many didn't, that for many years I had felt sad, alone, and struggled to find true meaning in life. I wore a mask in the form of being successful in the corporate world, raising kids who did amazing things, volunteering, or succeeding as an athlete by inflicting pain on my body all to be able to say I did a half Ironman. And I shared my “perfect” life on Facebook, pretending to be happy.
It was a facade. A way to pretend everything was Ok. I harbored anger and frustration at pain and trauma from childhood experiences, and it felt like I was dying inside. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life, and honestly, had no idea where that was. I searched for happiness in friendships, clothes and material things, but never really felt happy. I lived fueled by stress, and instead of honoring my soul, I shut it out and ended up feeling weak. I was miserable, and it finally showed physically when I hit rock bottom with neurological lyme and the inability to even communicate with my loved ones some days. 2017 was a time when I was forced to be still. Literally; there were days when I couldn't even make it out of bed. Being still was something I had never known how to do. The immense physical pain and emotional isolation were a part of what I now know to be an important part of my journey to a better place though.
During those months of heartache there was one thing I knew, and that was that my difficulty had meaning. Knowing this helped me to keep moving forward. So did journaling, but that's a topic for a future blog. It would take a little while for me to fully understand it all though. I’d say I’m a slow learner but the truth is that I was resistant. It brings joyful tears to my eyes to remember that part of my health journey because now I recognize that every part of my journey through life, from childhood through my health issues through today, has been a part of something bigger. It has been through difficulty that I've learned the really important life lessons and am finding the true meaning of life. I am immensely grateful for each challenge because I am finally truly learning and growing through it all. Without walking the path I have, I wouldn’t be finding the keys to happiness and peace, creating stronger relationships, and I wouldn’t have a passion for teaching and coaching others.
For me, I needed to hit rock bottom to wake up, find my purpose, and actually get off my butt. I am learning what it means to live now, and each day new lessons are presented to me to learn from. God has placed the right people in my life to guide me. For many years I lived in denial that anything was wrong, and now I understand just how unhappy I was. I have finally learned how to shed stress. I sit here at the beginning of this chapter, and I'm excited to work with people dealing with stress and frustration in daily life. Stress robbed me of the ability to truly live, and I love sharing how to move forward from a life of stress and unhappiness to a life of peace and true joy.
I shared these details with my friends and family last Thanksgiving because I wanted them to know that no matter where they are in life, there is hope and it’s possible to move forward to a better place. I had tried so many things in the past, and felt hopeless because nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until I learned to open my heart in ways I never knew existed (because I had never learned how), and was willing to see things differently, that things started to change for me. My mantra when my life was on hold with Lyme was "Never give up." As you read this, know that there is always hope. There are people in your life who are conduits to change, and miracles are happening each day. When life bogs you down it’s hard to see those little miracles, but they are there. The gift of joy is there for each and every one of us, and this I finally know to be true.