The thoughts that I had last night, while sinking into slumber, the brilliant ones, have faded. It’s morning now, the sun not yet risen and a fresh inch of snow on the ground, it’s just me and an empty head.
How refreshing. To be empty. How rare. On a nightly basis I struggle to fall asleep, my head so filled with ideas, dreams—I review the day, and think about the future. If only I were to spring from my near-sleep and jot them all down, create an action plan, accomplish it all, but my body is exhausted and lifting my head against the cold air a daunting task. My husband comes into bed lays his head down and is asleep in an instant. Some nights when all the dreaming and thinking distracts me from sleep, on those restless nights I think seriously about hitting him in the face with a pillow.
To be empty.
After spending most of the month of December not feeling well I’ve reevaluated my goals for 2017. At the top of my list is wellness. As a former yoga instructor and wellness coach I really thought I had a handle on wellness, but my last pregnancy depleted me in unimaginable ways and I’m only now—nearly two years later—starting to see inklings of my former well self.
What is wellness, true wellness?
For the longest time I confused wellness to be solely physical. That person that never gets sick, or can run marathons, or light heavy weights. Those people are well. Then through my yoga practice I began to see wellness as more mind-body. Healthy thoughts and healthy body working hand-in-hand.
I worked my body into submission, then turned my focus on my thought life. What was going on up there anyway? What was up with all the self-deprecating self-talk? I began silencing those voices, though I’ll be brutally honest and say that they do occasionally rear their ugly little heads.
Then, half-way through my second pregnancy (one that I thought I would rock) my body failed me. I couldn’t walk more than a few feet without experiencing excruciating pain. My doctor starting using words like “restricted activity” and “bed rest”. With a 3-year-old at home the thought was laughable.
We made it, one slow painful day after the next brought this beautiful and incredibly spirited red-headed girl into the world. But the wellness escaped me. On the days surrounding her first birthday I took a brisk family walk, under a haze of discontent. I felt sad, and felt stupid and self-indulgent for feeling sad. And no matter what I did the sadness wouldn’t lift.
It was then, through a conversation with my husband that I began to peel back the layers of “wellness”. There on that walking trail I realized I’d been missing a key factor. Spirit. I’d been working the mind/body angles and neglecting my spirit. I was neglecting to use my gifts, to write, to pray, to sit in silence. I was forgetting in my busy mom-life to nourish my soul.
The source of true wellness is so incredibly deep. Deep like the roots of a 100-year-old tree, deep like a well its self. Without the depth, the soul, all other wellness is superficial, fleeting, here one day and gone the next. It cannot be maintained, the body ages and fails and as often so does the mind, it is only the soul that cannot be touched or weathered with age, illness and accidents.
So, for this new year, as I reflect and journal, write down all my goals, I put wellness at the very top of this list, but this time with refined perspective. Mind/Body/Spirit, as one cannot truly be improved without the other.
For 2017 my friends, let’s be well together.
****photo credit Photography by Adele