Bob Dylan was right. The times are continually changing whether small or major. Change is a part of life. However, change, whether good or bad, brings a certain amount of stress, and that stress can bring on a flair for those of us with chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia.
Since November of last year, it’s felt like one pretty big change after another in my family: changes in health, changes in jobs, changes in homes. My first reaction tends to be a pulling back, in my mind and body. I stiffen, literally, as if to strengthen or to push back on the change. This can lead then to tension in my shoulders and chest which triggers in me a sense of anxiousness.
What I’m purposefully working on is leaning in. Leaning into the change like a trust fall. Breathing and being present in this moment, reminding myself that I’m safe, secure, and supported. That my family, we are in this together, and we’ll all be all right as long as we stick together. This means that we share at a deep level, knowing that we can make it through anything.
This is bringing a new perspective to change. Change that at first seems like a disaster, turns out to be just the kick in the butt that was needed to move to the next level in our lives. It ends up being a major blessing. The prospect of change is now exciting and full of potential, making me open up my imagination for what I can create out of this next part of my life.
As the daughter of a mom with bipolar/schizophrenia, I heard again and again that just as things were going good, it would turn and storms would come. She would tell me that if things get really good, then prepare for them to get equal parts horrible. At that tender age, I took that as a life lesson that has kept me on my toes, waiting for the anvil to fall at any moment. However, now I realize that this was her reality, one which she really didn’t understand. She’d fly high for a time and then crash. It was what she understood to be the way of life. I’m just now realizing that I had this underlying belief coloring my entire life.
This last week, I went on a vacation that I was hesitant to take. It was coming at a time of major change for my children, and I felt that I needed to be around to help them through. I didn’t think I could enjoy the time away. Right up to the night before we left, I was tensing up, bracing for the worst. I only went because my husband really felt we needed to go (and we’d already committed to the condo with my brother and sister-in-law).
The time away was so good. We went to a place we’d never been to- Gatlinburg, TN. My brother-in-law chose our destination. It’s not a place that Kelley and I would normally visit. But, I think, it was just what I needed to let go, getting a bit wild and silly. My sister-in-law is one of the most caring, real, and hilarious people I know. We did things that neither of us would have normally, but with the four of us, we did. Tonya conquered her fear of heights by walking among the tops of the mountains over a glass, swaying bridge. I tried moonshine-nearly all 13! To conclude our week, she and I each got a symbolic tattoo. It is Tonya’s first. She remembered her mom, gone 15 years now, with a Rose-of-Sharon and her mom’s signature copied exactly from the note her mom had written to her 40 years ago.
I got a lotus on my inner left arm. It’s something I will see often reminding me that I am strong and have come out again and again to show my beauty. I’m reborn daily. Daily I am changing.
This last week, I didn’t take any pain medication. I was able to get up in the morning and be alert and active all day (with a bit of a rest in the afternoon between activities). My symptoms from the Fibro are there but much more in the background. I’m feeling like I can be recreated, just like the lotus, each day is a brand new start. Times of change are times of celebration, growth, potential to recreate my self. I’m choosing to lean in and enjoy!
4/10/20 Update: Due to COVID-19, Akaneesta Park is closed until the #stayhome #staysafe orders have lifted. They working on even more additions and improvements this year. To say that our world is facing enormous change from this pandemic is an understatement. But, I have faith, that we will come out the better and stronger. Mother Earth has given us the kick in the butt we need to make substantial changes to how we treat both her and each other.
Are you open to change? Do you balk at it? What have you learned from the changes in your life?