My Personal Journey and Why I Practice
Updated: Jan 28
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..
To be honest, I was in bad shape. I had just begun the process to practice mindfulness at the recommendation of my therapist. I had never seen a therapist before, let alone asked for any real kind of help, so the prospect of mindfulness was a bit perplexing. I was more than burned out at my job and with my relationship at the time. I was overextended into busy-ness that was beyond me and I was unable to find my sense of self. I was feeling overwhelmed and terrified and stuck. I was completely lost and this was a scary place to linger.
As I began my meditation practice and being proactive about staying fit, I had a freak accident on my mountain bike that broke my leg, my femur actually, and it was excruciatingly painful. I went into emergency surgery and lay in a hospital bed for about a week. I learned a lot about life there, in that room. Yes, friends came to see me, my family came by my bed, but that was a long time to be laid up with nowhere to go. All I could do was follow my breath. Mindfulness engaged. I learned to accept my situation, the new hardware in my leg, and the long road to recovery, which at that point was unknown.
"Don't expect much." the doctor said in regards to my recovery.
Once I left the hospital, I lay at home unable to walk, not even the short strike missions to the bathroom. Wheelchair was the first method, then a walker. Then crutches, a cane, short walks. I was able to move around with my son, who was about one year old at the time. Ironically, he was just learning to walk on his own, too. We inspired each other.
These walks led to slightly longer walks, still in pain, not walking, back to walking, more walks, longer walks, working on my feet, pain in my leg, can’t do this, yes I can, daily walks, mindful walks. Walks with my son. Keeping up with my physical therapy program, continuing to establish my morning routine. Trying to sit, can’t sit, standing, lying, chair, bolster, anything to help me sit and practice. Great. Mindfulness and walks. Just like I practiced at the meditation retreat. Mindfulness and mindful walks. Can’t stop walking, going on all kinds of walks. Improving my health, but a long way to go.
Over the next few months, as I was getting back on my feet (figuratively and literally), I lost my job, went through divorce, lost my bearings, lost my way. Lots of time spent fighting, protecting my rights. Protecting my time with my son. Finding my way through the difficult time with my morning routine and time with my son. I needed firm ground to stand on and that became the birthplace of my morning routine. It was something that my life depended on, something to keep me anchored in the eye of the storm. Deep in the messiness of life, in a motivation to embrace those difficulties, in order to work with them in hopes of transforming them out of my life. My morning routine was forged in facing those dark times.
Mindfulness and movement became the centerpiece of my mornings and my days. When crises hit, those were my go-to strategies. When COVID-19 hit and the stay at home orders, closed off from work and school, I re-committed more to my morning routine. I committed more than I ever had to my morning routine.
I found that by simplifying them, made them so easy to remember and natural to follow through. They became habits. A part of me and who I am. I didn't need a device other than a timer.
Even with these breakthroughs, I had hit another challenge... At some point I had plateaued and wasn’t able to move through the physical and emotional pain. They were intertwined, fused together in a dynamically dancing duo. Literally the physical pain was also tied into my emotional pain, so any physical discomfort brought up all sorts of feelings from divorce, laid off, etc.
Surprisingly, the shift came while reading Endurance News from Hammer Nutrition, geared toward athletes and active humans. I read an article about proper hydration, and they had a simple formula for baseline daily hydration. I did a self-assessment and I was nowhere even close. I had to drink more than three times the amount of water I was drinking in a day.
I thought I was living a healthy lifestyle, making healthy choices, and I wasn’t even properly hydrating myself. I didn’t know that my body needed that much water. I figured a couple of glasses would do, or drink something when I’m thirsty. So, I made changes to my hydration habits and chose to follow through. A total of 96 ounces of water per day was my goal and I was to work toward that and choose to stick to it once I could fit it into my daily habits.
As I repeatedly chose to drink a proper amount of clean, fresh water consistently throughout the day, I realized that life depends on water. Not “fluids.” Water. Once it clicked that I was under-hydrated, which kept me in depression and fatigue, and I had the tools to change that, I knew I had a path to a full recovery. A fuller recovery. Pain free. Living life again, more full, more vibrant, more grateful. Morning meditation, mindful walks and proper hydration.
And eventhough this is my personal journey, I did not do this all alone... I had physical therapists who got me started on my exercises and workout programs, I had meditation teachers to support me establishing a practice at home, I had friends and family wonder if I was OK and wanting to hang out (even if I was not in my best of states), I had massage therapists who did some really deep work on my muscles and fascia to release the stuck energy from the traumas.
So this all boils down to a simple mantra:
Start the day each day at the same time, follow a similar routine (and be OK with mixing it up), get well, be well, stay well. Help others get well, be well, stay well too.
I hope you've enjoyed this article and that it adds value to your everyday life.
Stay tuned for more updates as I’ll be adding content to these practices over time.
Until next time,