I remember the day. The day I recognized that beating to my own drum was necessary for my happiness. The day that self-love and self-care became required, non-negotiable, daily practices in order to live my best life. It didn’t just strike me like a bolt of lightning, it had been in the works for many years, unto my knowing. I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t awakened. But something was stirring inside of me. I know it came from a combination of two things. My vision for life and losing my husband. Self-love and self-care are the critical practices that helped me handle love, loss, and find peace in the unknown. Creating conversation and sparking introspection are what I live for. You are how I find fulfillment….after filling my own cup.
I’ve always had a vision for my life. But the more it was unexpectedly turned upside down the more I realized the importance of living my best life every day.
In 2012, a year after I was married, my husband was diagnosed with a glioblastoma malignant brain tumor. October 10th, 2012 to be exact. The MRI that was to take forty minutes turned into three hours, pacing in the hallway, uncertainty as to what was next. Tragically, his mother had paved the way for this same diagnosis just a year prior. We knew the severity of the circumstances. We knew the consequences and to say we were ready would be lying. One is never ready for this.
My journal entry: “I lost you while you were still here on earth. The pain set in. And it stays with me regardless of how hard I try to heal. I miss my husband, my healthy husband. I know he misses himself too.”
Living in four week intervals between MRIs was starting to get easier when we hit the four-year clean mark. After surgery, chemo, and radiation he started to return to his new self two years out. We lived for the time in between. He was on ESPN radio in St Louis MO and I was running a genetics laboratory. We were stable. Until we weren’t. When the tumor reappeared on the MRI it was a true shock to the system. It’s that feeling you never want to return. The feeling of the unknown, what if, flashes of the worst-case scenario emerge into thought and feeling. At 33, I never imagined sitting across from my husband at the breakfast table having a conversation about death. Conversations about how fulfilled and complete his 38 years of life have been. It brings tears to my eyes now as I write. It never got easier. It still isn’t easy. But it isn’t uneasy, if that makes sense.
Self-care and self-love are how I get through, how I continue to live my best life. Letting my feelings and emotions flow, surface, and heal has opened up a channel to this universe, a connection unlike any other. Since the shift in my marriage I have changed the way I operate in business and in my personal life. In fact, they are cohesive, one in the same. My spirituality, faith, values are congruent across all areas of life. Life is easier this way.
There are many times in our lives where we have the opportunity to look deeply within ourselves and ask what it is we truly want from this life. We should ask ourselves where we feel we are “lacking” and are judging ourselves for that sense of “lack”. Truly, we are always enough and right where we are supposed to be. We are always able to make it through to the other side of the challenge or growth experience.
During times of uncertainty and unknown I encourage you, as I do, to continue to look at the world around you as your reflection. What we see in front of us – the experiences, the people, the situations, our perception of them – are all reflections of how we see ourselves. This is how we pinpoint the areas of focus and where we need to work to fine tune and sometimes heal. Let the uneasiness of the situation continue to be uneasy, in silence, in stillness…. until it no longer is abrasive, unsettling, and painful. This is the self-work required to live your best life.
You are doing everything right. You are enough. And your reaching out and giving gratitude is also a reflection. Your energy is amazing and never lose your sparkle. Here are three questions to expand your consciousness and spark introspection.
On SELF-LOVE: Where in your life are you filling a void by something outside your circle of influence?
On LOSS: Is anything truly ours to keep in this life?
On FINDING PEACE IN THE UNKNOWN: When is the last time I sat in the stillness of my own breath for 5 minutes straight without thought?