What do we need most in life? Feeling good is at the top of my list. Having gone through a difficult two years with my health, I learned first hand how important feeling well is.
I wasn't clearly able to see the way I felt extended into the way I did everything in my life. I wasn't able to "manage" everything and pretty much responded by putting out fires - Who or what was screaming the loudest. Sickness can be a surprising reality that creeps up on you. One day you find yourself no longer able to push through- without energy, having difficulty thinking clearly or remembering things, experiencing pain and over all just feeling bad. Its even more surprising how loud the feedback from our body has to get before we pay attention. These messages we get from our body are there to guide us, to call our attention to something. It is an opportunity to turn our attention inwards, to get quiet and to really feel what there is to be felt.
When I first began to struggle with my health I was in shock. How can this be happening to me? I'm so healthy! I teach Yoga and wellness for a living. The truth is I didn't know how to stop. My sister had this joke about calling "Super Leah" whenever anyone had an emergency because I loved "saving" people. It's true it didn't matter how much stress it put on me or my family I would jump at the opportunity to help someone who had called.
Once I was forced to stop I began to listen. Everything felt difficult. My meditation and yoga practice became a chore. I literally found myself wanting to eat chocolate and watch mindless TV, In secret of course so my kids didn't see me. In retrospect I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this because it was self sabotage at its best! Eventually I found a way in. I began to listen to my body, I was exhausted and needed to bring more energy into my body and not put so much energy out. I noticed the things I was using to keep me going were not really helping, I needed to stop and rest. Everyday and sometimes multiple times a day I began to take baths. Whenever I felt an overwhelming sense of exhaustion I would retreat to my bathroom for at least 30 minutes. I began to find ways to restore my life force, gently. All of a sudden it felt easier. From there I began to take short breaks in the garden getting fresh air, short sessions of yoga nidra in the afternoon beforeI hit my wall.
The steady climb back to a place of strength didn't come from forcing myself to do more it came from forcing myself to stop. To receive, to understand I had depleted my reservoir of energy and I needed to restore that vital life force before I would be able to truly thrive again. Listen to your body - it's speaking to you.