The Angel Lump
Two years ago, I burned out.
My life got so full and I got so busy chasing my big dream, that I started ignoring my exhaustion and the tell-tale signs that I needed some rest.
I kept on answering emails, running on adrenaline, staying up later, gaining immeasurable pleasure from marking things off on my to-do list.
And then, my body and spirit decided to not let me ignore it anymore.
One morning, I woke up at far-too-early o’clock to get More Things Done, and ran outside to complete my “Meditate for at least ten seconds” task on my to-do list.
When I completed my requisite ten seconds, I stood up, only to face-plant back into the earth. Sheer exhaustion weighed on me heavier than any gravity, and I found myself unable to stand back up, flailing about like a turtle flipped on her back and away from her centre.
When I did stand up, I dusted myself off, laughed, and proceeded to run back inside to write a witty blog post about my “lesson.” Floating on the river of denial can be an intoxicating experience.
But somehow, as it always does, life has its own way of showing you what you don’t want to see. That night, I found a lump on my breast.
A lump so large, throbbing and scary that I wasn’t able to ignore theGreat Truth in my life anymore. I needed restoration. I needed healing. I needed retreat.
The next day, I went to my doctor’s, and was given an ultrasound appointment for a week’s time. I decided to no longer ignore my lesson, and give myself the medication I needed.
I declared the next week my own self-healing retreat.
I chose not to go away anywhere for my retreat. I didn’t want to travel, I didn’t need to be anywhere else. I just needed to come home to me. I needed a safe place for me to do that. I needed to get dive-bomb-licked by the puppies, to walk outside in my garden and make herbal potions from it, and to have my love come home to me everyday.
So the retreat centre I so deeply needed was right here – my home.
Every morning, I lolled in bed reading every morning for an hour or two, watching the dawn filter through my window.. I watched as much or as little tv as I want. I wrote when I wanted to write. I let myself feel whatever came up – anger, pain, joy, or sometimes – a little boat of floating gently along. I made healing herbal poultices for myself in the afternoon, wrapping my breasts with soothing chamomile.
Sometimes I meditated. Sometimes I didn’t. I did nothing much, and everything I wanted. My theme was: No Obligation. No Have Tos. No Shoulds. Just Being.
About half way through the retreat, I woke up with a little feeling of hope inside me. Like a tiny little trickle of my juice had come back. And I just stayed in that place of Where-I’m-At without pushing or pulling away from it. I wasn’t trying to feel better – I was just sitting with the pain, exhaustion and overwhelm when it comes up. Feeling it, and asking it what it needs. And finding my way home to myself.
My retreat gave me the gift of giving myself what I needed.
The last five months of my life have been a whirlwind of dreams-come-true that felt more like a hurricane. It’s been about my To-Do list, and productivity, and copywriting, and logistics, and a ton of other Stuff that I’ve never thought much about before.
And along the way, I discovered I never really knew how to love me first. To take care of my needs – physical, mind or spirit – above all else. I thought I could keep pushing it to the back of my To-Do list.
When first I found the lump, all I could do was hyperventilate, cry and then apologise to my love. I wanted to apologise because I never, ever wanted to leave him. As much as I know that it will happen at some point or another, I really, really didn’t want it to be anywhere close to now. I want to relish every single day I get to adore this man who is my kindred spirit. I want to see a gazillion more times how his hair flecks in the light, his eyes crinkle at the edges when he smiles and how his heart shines when our dogs nestle by his side. I want to be that lucky lucky soul who hears and learns from all of his wise and deep and simple words and gets to gigglesnort over his irreverent, quiet funniness. And this may all seem hopelessly romantic – and it might be – but it’s my truth. It’s what my heart sings about when I listen to it softly enough.
So maybe the lump came to show me in one moment that above all else – the To-Do lists, the business and the busy-ness – there is my whole world. And it’s made up of love, and light, of my dear fiance, my puppy dogs, my mama, papa, my crazy siblings and my wonderful friends. That’s where it’s at. That’s where life gets born.
I had my worth all tied up in how good I was at doing my soul purpose out in the world. And I didn’t see that my worth starts and begins and is complete just inside me. This tiny world of mine that fills me up so completely with beauty and roses and snotty tissues. With love, spirit, kindness, bliss. The way I stumble and the way I soar. Friendship
and bells at sunset and pain and adventure and laughter and losing it all over again, only to be reborn. The ways I love myself and the ways I don’t. Trust, faith, lack of faith and all the rainbows of being a human. The journey which sucks and is magnificent all at once. That’s all of me – and it’s complete. It doesn’t need me to be anything more but what I am. Sitting, breathing, writing, typing, getting angry, getting hopeful, crying, smiling.
And so I have.
When I retreated, and gave myself what I needed again… I found myself, my wholeness and my spirit again. And I found my healing miracle. The blend of restoration, rejuvenation and herbal poultices worked its magic on me. When I had my ultrasound weeks later, the lump had disappeared, but its medicine remained for me.
I have this funny, unshakeable faith that this world really is good. That we are given just we need. Some days we see the angels so clearly that protect, love and guide us – the calming words of a dear friend, the gentle push that takes you off the path of collision. And some days those angels are in the most elegant of disguises – they are the collision that bring us home.
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