Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lessons from Shania Twain

I remember, years ago, watching Shania Twain on Oprah talking about the intense grief she experienced after her shockingly devastating divorce. Do y'all remember that? When her hubs and best friend ran off together? So sad. For some reason I remember her talking about how her body had such a strong reaction to the intense disruption of her seemingly happy life. She spoke about how she was physically cold all the time and the only way she could get comfortable was to be in a hot bath. And, she stayed there a lot.

I believe firmly in the mind-body-spirit connection. I believe whatever affects one, affects all. There is no separation. They work congruently and harmoniously. It's only been in recent years that I've learned this. It was when I started taking care of my body and quickly saw my mind and soul start to flourish as well. Bingo. This is legit science.

I'm about to make a point.

There has been a situation in my life (one that I can't divulge details to protect others so, excuse me while I try to be vague) that has been extremely difficult. It's been well over 5 years that I lost someone that I love, someone that I love very much (they're not dead, just...gone). When it first came down and I realized I had been nixed, cut-off, discarded...I got a little pissed off and then, out of self-preservation or denial or something, I simply went on with life.

I accepted that I had a role in the relationship dissolving and I went from there. I worked on myself, my attitude, my heart, my spirit, my life. I rarely even thought about it. When the situation came up or was talked about I blew it off. It felt like I was rising above pettiness and being healthy but, I wasn't. Nope, it was good old denial. A few other people that I love DID grieve it. They grieved it terribly and, honestly, it annoyed me. I just didn't have time to waste on a situation I couldn't control and I certainly didn't have time to grieve.

The last 5 years have been amazing. So many things have happened that have molded and shaped me. It's not like I was carrying around this huge weight, it's more like I hid it away in a closet and forgot it was there. I simply forgot it was there.

A few weeks ago, events began to happen that brought the whole thing back up. It actually seemed that the situation was heading down a long and rocky path to what looked like...redemption. I let my heart open up big and wide and expansive to the whole thing again. I was excited and scared and worried and filled with hope. I talked for hours with this loved one. There was laughter and honesty and understanding. It was all so refreshing.

Then, as quickly as they'd come back into my life, they were taken away again. This time, it hurt. I had so much going on in life that I had to keep going and rock on. I figured it would be like before and that I would get a free ticket back into life without having to feel the pain of it.

Not so fast.

I got the news on Friday. Saturday morning I felt uneasy in my body. Just gastrointestinal upset and an overall uncomfortable feeling. We were at a birthday party for our 3-year-old grandson and my body was kind enough to let me get through that. Sunday was a little more iffy. By Monday afternoon, I had a raging fever and was completely locked down. I slept off and on for the next 36 hours and honestly don't remember much of it. I had been having kidney infection symptoms so, that's what I thought it was all stemming from.

Wednesday, which was yesterday, I awoke feeling better and thought the clouds had lifted. I went with my parents to Texarkana so I could get an extra adjustment this week to help with healing. We had fun, went to eat, shopped, and enjoyed each others company. I had been having some minor muscle pain in my neck but as the day pressed on, my neck muscles started to seize completely up. I don't know if it was from all the sleeping or what but it was clear that life wasn't going to let me off the hook just yet. When Mom and Dad dropped me off, I made my way up my sidewalk and could feel everything tighten and constrict. It was almost more than I could bear.

I tried to go about my evening activities in the house as if nothing was wrong but I could not get warm and I could NOT relax. Every muscle and fiber were tense and rigid. The only thing I could think to do was to get in a hot bath. I immediately felt the tension let up when I got in and I laid there just kind of relieved to have a second of feeling somewhat normal.

There comes a point when you encounter a series of unfortunate events that you eventually ask why. Why is this happening to me?? That was where I was in the tub last night. Asking why. The universe is so quick to want to help. Sometimes answers come and sometimes they don't. Last night, I got a very clear answer, "it's because you're grieving." Even then I didn't want to accept that. I thought about Shania Twain and her hot baths and assessed that the only time I've felt unclenched in the past 5 days was sitting in the hot shower or sitting in this tub. What could I possibly be grieving? THAT??

It was at that point where I was so physically worn down that I HAD to surrender to it. I was so broken and exhausted and I wanted out of it so badly that I had to listen and accept it. My body was leading me into that place where my heart and soul were refusing to go. It wasn't too subtle about it either. All those years of repressing the loss, all the time that has been lost, all the love not given, all the injustice, all the grief had to be felt. So, I let it happen.

I let my heart break.

God meets us where we are and I've never felt more embraced than I did crying like a little girl in my plastic garden tub last night. I was held as I let it all hurt, physically incapable of fighting it anymore. So it hurt. Heart, mind, body, soul grieved it all.

I cried some more when I got in bed and had to try and explain to Rodney what the hell was going on.  Tears flooded my pillow while he listened somewhat perplexed but, compassionately. My neck started to relax and I finally fell asleep. I woke up somewhere in the middle of the night and was sweating and still running a low grade fever but it felt detoxifying. Then I woke up this morning and felt better. A lot better.

I know that grief isn't about crying in the tub and you're done. And, I don't expect it to be over. However, now I am open to it. I'm not blocking it anymore. It stuns me that I ever tried to and that I got away with it for so long. It also amazes me that my body would lead me into it. I thought grief would originate in the heart. I guess since I wouldn't let my heart break over it, my body had to lead me to it.

As for redemption, it's coming. I'll always believe that. Everything will be restored and redeemed. It will be better than anything I can hope for. Grief is just one of those things that teaches us the value of love. I hope I've learned the lesson now.

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