originally posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013
Do you recall a year when life’s challenges arrived in a cluster so large it took your breath away? Remember? I do.
In the Spring of 2005, my seemingly healthy mother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. She was gone 5 weeks later. She was 68.
Six weeks after her death, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. One month after completing treatment, I went to a physician to look at the spot on my nose, which turned out to be basal cell cancer. Through 2 surgeries to remove the cancer, I lost half the skin on my nose.
As the year was winding down, my husband and I were still grieving the loss of his mom and I was brittle with fatigue, physical and emotional fatigue.
This deep level of fatigue proved to be a barrier to learning and growth. I was STUCK in fatigue and resisting rest. At that time in my life, REST was a 4 letter curse word to me and not part of my Type A personality. I didn’t have time for this!
My body responded differently. My body demanded rest. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than to say it was my personal ‘hitting bottom’ experience. I had to rest and pay attention to my need to recover and heal. So, finally, I rested.
Upon reflection, over time, I realized a few lessons:
1. The best family in the world cannot compensate for care you do not give to yourself. (They can’t even take a nap for you!)
2.Passion for what you “do” can ebb and flow and ebb and dissolve over time. That’s OK.
3.What you “do” is not who you are…no matter how much $$ you make or how positively you impact other’s lives while doing what you “do”.
4.The choice to grow allows for the discovery of new life passions and PURPOSE.
Was it necessary for me to experience this cluster of loss, disease and pain to learn these lessons? I don’t know. Perhaps. I guess so. Probably.
What I now know is that taking care of oneself not only contributes to one’s own happiness, it deepens loving relationships in your life and opens you to more…of everything.
I learned we are complex, talented human beings, capable of feeling passionate about doing lots of things.
I learned who we are is enough.*
Since then, there have been other challenges. I’m certain I’ve met those challenges stronger and better prepared due to that growth period.
What have you learned from your tough clusters?
How has your growth served you since?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Many Thanks to author, scientist, professor, Brené Brown, for her books: “I Thought it was Just Me (but it isn’t)”; “The Gifts of Imperfection”; “Daring Greatly”