I have a confession to make: I have been hibernating. I’ve had so much going on in my life that I think I needed to unplug for a while so that I could process everything. Any outside stimulation was just too much. So for the past few weeks I have been turned inward, which has included somewhat of an online hiatus. As for my blog, I often have thoughts of “that would make a great story”; or “I should share that one on my blog” – but even that has been dialed down.
These days, as my busy life continues to provide a mix of love and joy – and challenge and stress – I often turn inwards. I journal a lot. I talk less. I hug my kids close to my heart – multiple times a day. I breathe. I use Dean as my sounding board, sharing both my dreams – and insecurities and fears.
In the past, if I felt like I had too much going on to handle, I’d find myself disconnecting completely. I’d shut down – which included shutting down from the people around me. I’d ‘numb out’ with food, a glass of wine, or retail therapy. These days, while I may still occasionally reach for a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine, the intentions underlying my actions are entirely different. I am reaching for relaxation, acknowledging my hard work, or rewarding myself because I know that I deserve it. I’ve learned to turn things around so that my actions are ones of nurturing myself, rather than those of running away from whatever I was feeling inside.
Maybe this seems like semantics, or like I’m justifying . The truth is, how I feel inside is entirely different. These same actions – when taken from a place of self worth – leave me feeling uplifted and like I am taking steps (even if they are baby ones) in the right direction. And the absolute most important part of this learning is that I no longer disconnect from the people around me. In fact, I’ve learned that I am far more effective when I do the opposite: I make connecting with the people around me my absolute highest priority.
I make sure that I am 100% present to every person who is in front of me. Some days, this is the sole focus I have for the day. Because while I may need to unplug somewhat from the outside world – that certainly does not mean that I need to unplug from the people in my life. As a matter of fact, the one thing I am most clear on is that the people in my life – my family, my practice, my friends – are what matter the most. And the best way I can be of service to them is to connect, listen, be real, and be fully present to them.
The irony is that when you are fully present to another human being, your own troubles are forgotten. I can’t listen intently to Ethan or Audra as they tell me about their days if I am running through to-do lists in my head. I can’t fully empathize with a person in my practice if I am thinking about myself or my personal life. Perhaps the greatest irony here is that when I let go of my own concerns to be fully present to another human being, once that interaction has come to an end, I find myself in a more purposeful and resourceful state to then effectively deal with my own ‘stuff’. Talk about a win-win situation.
In my practice, I draw strength from the beautiful families who come to see me. I am honoured to hold their children in my hands. I am humbled by the dedication so many have shown to their own health, and for the role they have allowed me to play in their lives. I am honoured every time they refer friends or family in to see me. It is so cliche – but so true: It is indeed the greatest compliment I can be shown.
In my home life, the greatest part of every day is the joy I have in starting and ending each day with heart-felt hugs and special moments of being fully present to my children and husband. For the wisdom to see that without these moments of being fully engaged, I could be at jeopardy of letting my life pass me by. I could miss those special moments when my kids confide in me, make me laugh, or give hugs so full of love that it brings tears to my eyes. In my home, I am so grateful to have a place where I can love and be loved, be strong or need support, feel free to laugh or to cry, and to know that limitless hugs are available both for giving and receiving.
I am so grateful for the love in my life. For my amazing, beautiful, healthy children. For my loving husband. For friends and family. For the wonderful people in my practice. For my staff and support network.
For hugs. For little moments of laughter. And for the certainty I have when I am fully present to my life and those in it that all that matters is good.