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May 16, 2017

This is the Greatest Gift I ever Gave Myself.

Can I be honest here? I am overwhelmed.

I was in a powerful place in my life. It has been a long road, and it took several years to get here. I started working out and got physically strong. With my body in excellent shape, I began to feel ready to battle my emotional demons. I started working hard at facing my anxiety head on and working through the traumas of my past.

Feeling confident, I took on some serious bucket list items. I challenged myself to step up and stop hiding from life with an apprenticeship at Elephant Academy. I felt so good I even took on a simultaneous Yoga Teacher Training. Life had become robust and fulfilled for the first time in a long time.

I was so proud of myself. I felt like I was kicking some serious ass.

Then it happened. One little trip to the doctor knocked the breath right out of me.

I have a congenital heart condition, and that medical discovery has left me staggering for the last couple of weeks. To add insult to injury, I am also without my ADHD medicine. I now find myself unorganized, anxious, forgetful and my procrastination is at a record high. Last week I was hit with “diagnoses depression.” It walloped me, and has been so dark and ugly it seems hell bent on keeping me in the bed all day long.

Look life, I don’t have time for this sh*t. I am still in the thesis writing part for the Academy. I have several months to get through this Yoga Teacher Training. I worked hard to get myself here, and I will be damned if I am going to let this little need for surgery crush me now.

Time to get it together.

Yesterday my mentor said something entirely relevant: “When depression and anxiety make you want to hide from life—fight back.”

This morning, I decided to do just that—to get up and get out into the sunlight. Take a walk, visit with a friend, do something to elevate my mood, and bring some joy into my day. I needed to get too busy to ruminate.

There is tremendous growth to come from such an emotional time. I will not waste this moment being dark and gloomy. I will throw myself into the turbulent winds and fly.

Let’s go!

Writing has been a window into my soul since I was a teenager. I can write a series of words, and people see exactly who I am. Elephant Journal gave me a mission: to write. When I am lost and struggling, writing always gives me my identity back. Writing grounds me and gives me a place to firmly stand as I sort out my troubles.

So, I have a thesis to write, and what better subject than my life’s dilemma? The next baby step in sorting out this mess my life has become is writing my thesis.

I am going to take a deep breath, focus, and make a list of things that I need to get done. I’ll settle in with a cup of chamomile tea, then edit this list; I am going to get my priorities in order. I will take control of what I am able, and let go of the rest. I added self-care and extra meditation time help me take care of myself. I can rise to this occasion; this is not my first rodeo.

Being a person of high emotion makes it difficult to live mindfully sometimes. Sitting down to write is a process, and it requires the digesting of emotions that in itself becomes a meditation. Self-exploration is the focus. I see it as squeezing every drop from each experience.

Connections form between ourselves and the written word. We realize, whether through fiction or fact that we are not alone in this big world. There is a sameness between everyone and everything. Through writing, I come to know myself and the world a little better. There is no greater therapy than looking for the lessons to share through my writing.

We can all get caught up in the moments that toss us off course and shake us to our very being. These are the times that are rich in feeling. They are magnificent and awe-inspiring if we can keep from getting lost in them. Through my writing, I have become a storm chaser. I observe life as the author of my story. The trick is to watch as the main character (myself) is getting strong in the face of whatever dilemma presents itself. As a witness, it is so much easier to see the way out.

I am using my written word to get me through this trying time in my life, and I am inviting you to share in my inner turmoil—pick up that pen and paper, and join me. Let’s ride this moment out together as we find footing to take the next step.

Take a deep breath.
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Author: Traci Burnam
Image: Flickr/Drew Coffman
Editor: Taia Butler

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