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There’s beauty in the breakdown

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

What a week it’s been. A routine visit to the vet came back with a cancer diagnosis, my planned restful 3 days working away from home were cancelled due to waiting for my dishwasher replacement to get delivered although it never did (that’s its own long story), work was especially good and busy this week, and all this while dealing with aunt Flo and uterine fibroids (imagine a murder scene’s worth of blood and lots of dizziness and fatigue). “Life” happened on many levels this week, as it does, and now that I have a moment to pause, tired and reflective, I’m centering in on the learnings of this week, and there is truly beauty in the breakdown. Here are my 5 main takeaways.

One GRATITUTE. The tough moments this week shined a spotlight on the myriad things to be grateful for. My dog ate gravel. Yes gravel, as in rocks. A decent amount apparently too. It gave her soft stools, which made me tell the vet, which triggered a full body scan, which revealed a very early signs of lymphoma. We’re still waiting for the details from the oncologist, but they did say that normally these things don’t get detected until it’s much further along. She seems fine aside from her poop, so we may not have found the cancer if she hadn’t dined on rocks. (oy!).

I was also reminded of just how supported I am this week. Another thing to glow with gratitude over. My husband, my dog’s medical team, my yoga community, my family, and my clients. All a collective source of support and love and inspiration to keep showing up and remember that we’re not alone.

Two STRENGTH. I’m stronger than I realized. And I bet YOU are too even when you think you aren’t. Being in the midst of adversity can make us feel so small and helpless, but we grow and learn so much as we make it through our trials including just how strong and resilient we really are. It’s ok to say “wow, I just pulled that off, or survived that insanity of an experience”. And it’s ok feel a sense of pride about enduring tough times. It’s also ok to be not ok and need help and time to heal and mend. That doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. Those battle wounds we bear make us who we are. We should wear them with confidence of how powerful we really are.

Three IT’S OK TO JUST SIT IN YOUR $#*! What is your go to move when you get bad news or stress overwhelms you? Food? Booze? Negative self talk? Netflix? Doom scrolling? We don’t enjoy pain, so we often instinctively try to numb or suppress it as quickly as possible. I spent years numbing pain, through all the methods listed above and then some. Sound familiar? Here’s the thing, it does alleviate the symptoms in the short term, but it doesn’t remove the pain. Pain like all emotions is energy. If we don’t “process” our emotions, feel our feelings, the energy of them gets stuck and will store itself in your sore muscles, achy joints, upset stomach, and in the long term as chronic illness.

After I got off the phone with vet sharing the sad news, I sat there and wondered what to do next. The old me would have numbed, poured a drink, turned off my mind. This time I didn’t go there. Didn’t even want to. Instead, I cried. I sat deep in all of the feeling and let it happen. It hurt. A lot. And then it passed. It went from despair to action. Not desperate, determined.

Four TAKING ACTION FEELS GOOD When things seem out of control, it can feel very calming and satisfying to do something, even if small, toward finding a realm of control. When my mom passed away, I found this place in my nighttime routine. Washing my face, applying my face serum, putting lotion on my hands and arms. It brought a little order to the chaos around. This week, I made an appointment with the oncologist. I called and emailed about the dishwasher every day. I showed up to work, yoga, and meditation every day even though I was woozy and exhausted. It helped me put one foot in front of the other and march through the pain into the next step and now everything is either resolved or moved along in a positive direction, and I didn’t waste a ton of time stressed out and sad.

Five CHERISH EVERY MOMENT Yes, even the dull ones, the awkward ones, the sad ones, the frustrating ones. They are all part of the experience and they make for much better stories. We don’t know how long we have on this earth and every moment is precious. I am grateful to the universe for giving me and extra 30+ years with my mom between her first cancer diagnosis and her final one. I am similarly grateful for every moment I get to snuggle with my dog, deal with gravel in her poop, and fight over space in the bed.

The challenging moments in life build character, strength, show us who we are, and can ironically remind us just how much we have to be grateful for. Oh yeah, those rocks in my dog’s tummy, the solution is similar to all those tough moments that we happen upon in life. We must work through them with the trust and knowledge that “this too shall pass”.

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