Everyday, well most days lately, I learn something new. Either about myself, others, or the world. I love learning. Although it can be exhausting, I deeply believe it is one of our human purposes; to learn in order to better ourselves and humanity.

I suppose that after one has been through a difficult time, or as I’ve begun to refer to it, “a shit storm,” at some point repairing and recovery begins. During this time the pieces rearrange themselves to fit into a one of a kind masterpiece. I hope that this is where I am now. I’ve noticed that like any other puzzle, healing takes time with no schedule, no minimum, and certainly no time limit. Self repair can be confusing, discouraging with repeated trials, but when those pieces finally click into place, it’s exhilarating. That moment of relief when it all finally makes sense and feels right, brings a warm healing to the mind, body, and soul.

Here are my most recent lessons:

1. I need to care for my mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare. I’m learning greater understanding and patience for others and myself. Instead of placing degrading, damaging blame on myself when I feel inferior, I am developing patience to be kinder and more respectful. More importantly, it is this patience that also teaches me forgiveness by accepting my strengths, and forgiving my faults.

2. I’ve become more aware of my own strength and its source. I am strong because He is strong. I am a child of God. I don’t need to draw upon anyone else. Everything I need is already within me. Instead of searching outside for strength, all I need to look within. It’s there, whispering, sometimes shouting. Acceptance of limitations is necessary for progress, but not after first accepting the challenge. It’s all God given. One may not fully reach their given potential unless challenges are accepted. Failures and limitations can be great teachers, but should never be assumed.

3. Just as failures may direct me, equally so do my gifts, creativity, and passion. This where I feel I am at my best. After being fueled by time, rest, and care, I make good on those gifts. Creativity is then no longer potential energy, it becomes kinetic! I become productive. I make. I do. Most importantly, I give. Now I am learning how to share and love without sacrificing myself.

4. I am learning to live with a greater authenticity. I am honoring my needs by living truthfully in my relationships. By not hiding my feelings, wants, and needs out of convenience to others, I will begin to live honestly and with true humility. My relationships will become more truthful and genuine. Not that I have been dishonest. I have just been one to put my needs aside for the sake of another. It’s almost instinctual. It’s not fair to a partner or me. I’m working on it. I’m working on myself and finding contentment in being a work in progress. This is proving to be a challenge. Again, patience is the at the cornerstone.

5. I’m learning how to better assess and own my mental and physical needs. I continue to observe myself, my habits, and the effects of my ways. I’ve begun to see the errors of my thinking and hear the warning sirens before danger enters. I’m honoring my body with nourishing movement, time in nature, and a better diet. I’ve come to find that if it doesn’t serve me, if it’s not good for me, then it doesn’t belong with me.

6. My emotions and responses are mine alone. No one else is responsible for how I feel. Nor should they be burdened with fixing me. That’s not to say that how ever I am feeling isn’t valid. In fact, taking ownership increases their validity. It allows me to choose how I need to process the experience. My emotions are purely my own, for better or for worse. When I am able to own my feelings and perspectives, I feel more secure and oddly enough, a sense of personal freedom.

7. I’m learning grace through better coping skills. Instead of putting my head down and simply plowing through, I’m learning that through sustaining myself with proper attention and care, the quality of my efforts will inevitably increase. For too long, I had the understanding the only way to deal with hardships was to simply toughen up, suck it up, and kept going. Eventually I’d make it through. And, yes, I had made it through, but also deeply wounded. Now I fully appreciate that there comes a time when rest and space are crucial for a worthwhile survival. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Even when I run, I have a tendency to sprint. Now, I understand that allowing myself to rest is not giving up. It is not failing. It is giving myself time to regain strength, perspective, and growth. Endurance is the key to survival.

The lessons of emotions and spirits, thoughts, and physical health now culminate into recognition, mindfulness, and resolution. They are my guide to growth, healing, and living. This new found insight has taught me that self care is crucial to my healing and personal wellbeing. Wellness in any modality is not a luxury, it is a human necessity, and a practice; a concept that we have some how forgotten to follow and teach our youth. If we, as a society, can embrace this principle and put it into practice, we would all be healthier and better for it.

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