How Lyme Taught Me the Most Important Lesson of 2017 : Be Gentle

I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions.  

I don’t like the idea of waiting until January 1st to implement the changes I know I want to make.  I’d rather do it now, whenever that now is.  

Still, there’s an energy about the New Year that seems to encourage and hold space for setting intentions.  Perhaps it’s all those people who are taking time to look at their lives deeply and ask, what do I want to change?  How can I make my life better?

I believe in consciousness and its power to move across the land and into our hearts and minds.  

I believe that when enough people stop to sit with their lives and choose the path that brings them alive, that energy swirls out on the wind, brushes across another’s cheek, tugs the hat off a neighbor walking their dog, and fills their lungs as they inhale.

It seems right, then, that the New Year comes in winter, when the weather slows us down and the forest bares itself and the long dark nights begin to inch back toward light.  

January holds so much space; it invites us into it, lets us spread out our lives on the canvas of snow and give up all that doesn’t serve us.

I’ve given up a lot this past year.

It started with dairy, gluten, and nightshades.  After nearly a year of symptoms, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in June.  But more than changing my diet, Lyme forced me to see all the ways I overextended myself.  

The silver lining was the permission I finally gave myself to let things go.  

Which meant putting a pause on projects, laying down, and sleeping.  

It meant letting some balls drop right out of the air and being okay with it.

It meant giving up the desire for another baby right now (all those medications don’t mix well with pregnancy, and I suppose the extreme exhaustion, achiness, and inflamed lymph nodes that lyme gave me don’t either).  

After 3 months of antibiotics, and 3 more of continued herbal medicine and supplements, I’ve finally reached a delicate balance.  Through the entire journey, I’ve learned one important thing:

Be gentle.

The importance of being gentle is a lesson I’ve learned over and over.  There’s so much out there about how to let go and how to change your life, but in my experience, that change—be it made by choice or necessity— is often be accompanied by doubt, judgement, and fear.

If we’re not gentle with ourselves, we run the risk of missing the change we seek.  If we’re not gentle with ourselves, forgiving ourselves for a misstep becomes that much harder.

In dealing with Lyme, gentleness softened the stress I carried.  It softened my frustration when the first round of antibiotics didn’t do the trick.  It softened my heartache as my relationship with my body and my health felt torn away from me.

I don’t have a New Year’s Resolution, just a continuing intention to be gentle.  

A continuing intention to soften.

Whether or not you have lyme, I encourage you to try, too.  In a society that reinforces so much closing off, I think that softening may be one of the most powerful things we can do.


bee pollinating organic echinacea flowersWhat’s one important lesson you learned this year?  What intentions grew from that lesson?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

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  1. Happy New Year to you and your family. I enjoy reading about your life. I hope that your health continues to improve. I am Mike O’Connor’s Mom. We met at SLU.

    • Thank you, Mary! I remember meeting you at the Greenhouse 🙂 I’m feeling so much better, and really appreciate your note! Happy New Year to you, too!

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