Do you believe in intuition? Miracles? Coincidences? Or do you simply not think about these things at all? Today, I encourage you to tap into what your gut (I call mine my “inner ally”) is telling you. Are you having a difficult time making a decision? Does something seem off-balance? Is there a piece of your life that you would like to shift? (I have decided that “shift” is such a more positive and rewarding word than “change”).
I went to bed last night with a sore throat. Totally bummed, I began judging myself for having a compromised immune system. Since being diagnosed with cancer I have really tried to strengthen my immune system by juicing, exercising, sleeping, drinking enough water and sometimes infusing it with lemon (which I’ve read can give you a good boost of Vitamin C, not to mention that I love juicing with lemons as well) meditating, and shifting (love it) my perceptions in order to be able to better deal with stress, fear, and anxiety (all of which people believe can compromise our immune systems).
I had a cold over the New Year that lasted a couple of weeks, as colds often do, and I felt disappointed in myself that I had gotten sick. And a little worried. I hold more significance now in getting something even as small as a cold, because I’m much more in tune with my body and trying to sustain a healthy lifestyle. But people get sick, right? We’ve had a cold and snowy winter the last couple of weeks without a lot of sunshine. I work in an office where the windows don’t open, the carpets probably haven’t been vacuumed in years, and we just found Henry the Mouse scurrying around again. I go to a yoga studio and the grocery store and see friends who have kids that bring germs home from school. This is life! But beating myself up for getting sick just gives you a little window into my mind and the negative self-talk that goes on (I’m working on it).
This morning when I woke up, still with a sore throat, I remained disappointed, especially because I have been drinking a lot of water since it came on, all in the hopes of “flushing it out.” But I was mainly disappointed because I was supposed to go to my first group yoga class this afternoon in years (my private yoga teacher had really been encouraging me to attend this one at her studio run by a colleague of hers), and I was really excited about it. A 2 hour class, it was going to be restorative and gentle, and I hoped that maybe I would meet some other women and/or move my body in new ways that were kind but also strengthening as well.
Nobody can probably tell you better than SHL that I am not good at making decisions. He very often nudges me to look at a menu before we go out to eat so that once at the restaurant he doesn’t have to wait 20 minutes for me to order! So of course I was struggling this morning with whether or not to go. Various things were pulling me home like the snow (again) and the fact that my house is so cluttered, it’s starting to make me feel crazy! Not having to go out in this weather and just spending the day relaxing and organizing sounded really appealing. On the other hand, I was super excited to see what this yoga class could be all about, happy thinking about changing my workout routine for today, and thinking about how fun it could be to meet new people. It was something that I had been looking forward to all week, and the thought of not going also made me feel a little bit like a wimp, a failure, and a lazy bum. (Cancer should = Being proactive, right? Would staying at home defeat my belief that doing takes precedence over resting? I wonder if other people– living with a chronic disease or not– ever feel this way as well?).
Unsure what to do (and feeling a little guilty that I had taken a coveted spot in the class), I decided to meditate. I reached for my meditation library on my phone and went to Day 3 of a meditation that I just started (I’ve done it before, but it’s so good that I often repeat it). I wish that I could say that I was surprised that today’s meditation was about listening to your intuition, but I can’t. I’m starting to believe that things aren’t necessarily just coincidences anymore.
I spent the 20 or so minutes trying to clear my mind and tap into what my inner-ally was telling me. I should point out that usually, I conjure up my inner-ally when I am trying to make much tougher decisions. But the truth is, learning to tap into our gut is wonderful because it is a tool that we all have, and that once we find, nobody can take away from us. I believe that it’s worth thinking about how to get in better touch with yours as a way to gain some balance and clarity in your life. (Having a hard time finding yours? Let me know and I will spend another blog post talking about it. Finding mine and listening to it is still a work-in-progress. I still sometimes struggle with wondering if what I am hearing is that of my rational mind or my gut, but I’ve learned that is OK. It still benefits me to try to discern the difference, and since being diagnosed with cancer for the second time, I’ve learned some great skills that have helped me through some tough times). Listening, truly listening, actually feels like a way to calm some of the chaos in my mind lately. I pictured myself there, at the yoga class, and I pictured myself at home. I thought about how I would feel there, and I thought about how I would actually feel at home. I imagined getting others sick being in such a small space and sharing blankets, mats, and props, and remember my yoga teacher telling me a few months ago that if I didn’t feel well, I really shouldn’t show up to class. “Yes, I don’t want to get anybody else sick,” I replied, to which she nodded but also said, “And you should be taking care of yourself, anyway, if you’re not feeling well, which may mean staying home and resting.” I listened to the words, but I’m not really sure that I heard them.
And then a thought came to me. It was nice that I was thinking about not wanting to get other people sick, but what about me? I have cancer. If I’m coming down with something then my immune system may very well be compromised, and what if others come to the class sick? For fear of sounding like a drama-queen, I don’t want to get a cold, much less anything else. My body needs to stay as strong as it possibly can to fight.
When I opened my eyes, I knew what I needed to do, and I immediately emailed my yoga teacher. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do, but I have begun the commitment to caring for myself in the ways in which I would care for others, and this just seemed like the next natural step in the process.
This small decision has planted a seed for me and you too I hope about the ways in which we think we take care of ourselves. If we eat right and exercise, we’re doing a great job, maybe? Of course those are truly important pieces to the puzzle, but what if we run ourselves ragged, trying to be perfect or “successful?” What if we harbor grudges and resentment or get little sleep or socially isolate ourselves? (And sometimes in the winter that can happen by accident). I’m here to gently nudge you to remember that self-care is not just the “buzz word” of the year. It should be the “buzz word” of a lifetime.
Let go and listen my friends. xoxo.