Healing from the Inside Out
When I was collapsing from the outside in, I immersed myself in finding ways to heal from the inside out. I was literally at the point where I would try everything, so I put it all onto an artist's palette (metaphorically speaking) and began to paint myself a new life. I literally changed everything about myself, just to test the waters on the other side, and found healing in places I never dreamed possible. Some of the very situations that used to make my skin crawl became my norm.
There are some things that I started before embracing a plan for recovery, but the important things stayed with me and fueled my hope for a healthy and happy life. One of the biggest shifts I made, that was inspired by my children, was how- and what I ate. I knew that what I grew up on, and how I always felt too skinny or too weak, was not how I wanted my children to feel. I started to learn about food, and as my voracious appetite for nurture grew, so did my desire for knowledge of the food system from the ground up. I wanted to be immersed in everything that went into my body, and the more I learned, the more I loved discovering the connection to the world around me. But, as with everything in my life, I became obsessed and embraced too much. Granted, I loved every second of the time I spent on food, but that lifestyle was consuming and it wasn't sustainable for me. I had to find happy ground in the middle, notably far closer to my newly discovered side of the spectrum, but still not as deep in the process as I had been. I will say that finding people who know about food, farming, and nutrition changed my life for the better, and I'm grateful for every recipe and tip they passed along through their inspiring books, blogs, and instagram posts. Here are just a few I love:
Amazing Food Inspiration Resources:
- 100 Days of Real Food
- Kate Aseron's cookbook
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
- Barefoot Contessa on Food Network
- Fully Raw Kristina on Instagram
Another shift I made was connecting with mindful parents. I got into their practices of babywearing, cloth diapering, gratitude jars, Waldorf learning, and being outside a lot. I felt like an outsider for a while, but I quickly realized that the moms I met were either super-friendly or that they were just as nervous as I was. They were all incredibly smart and kind with their children and I treasured the time we all spent together. So I picked up their habits and I watched my kids blossom. I was never perfect, but I felt good about my parenting 80% of the time- which was a vast improvement. I figured if my kids could learn to love me in spite of the times that I don't get it right, they would be better equipped to deal with all the personalities they would encounter in the future, so that would be good for everyone. For the first time since becoming a mother, I felt happy and capable.
But my marriage. That broken marriage from the start had no hope when I fell into a pattern of enabling and badgering. For that, I had no clue where to begin. I began entertaining the idea of therapy, but took a while to pull the trigger. I say pull the trigger because my marriage literally exploded within weeks of starting on my "sacred journey." The sign caught my eye as I drove through a winding road with beautiful homes day dreaming. I called that week and made an appointment. The problem was that I was so shaken up and skeptical that I literally sat through our sessions practically catatonic from the exhaustion of Motherhood. I barely spoke, but I absorbed some really good habits from her. Thus began my evening ritual.
I started drinking a cuppa tea with honey (burtsswarmbustin- the best!), curling up with Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Han, journaling, and hand stitching dolls. It was so simple, quaint and quiet that it blocked out a bunch of the insanity around me, but really just gave me a method to "check out." An hour into this nightly practice, my husband would come in from the bar and we would either find ourselves in the type of existential conversation you can only have with a drunk or in a shouting match that ultimately ended in doors slamming and tears. It didn't matter what we fought for. We just needed to be broken.
I pressed on with the need to get better- to feel whole- and found myself in the rooms. In Al Anon, they asked right away, "what are you doing for yourself? What do you need?" In that moment, I knew I needed yoga. The practice had weaved its way in and out of my life over the previous decade, but I set it aside once I became a Mom. I had to get back to a class, so I started going to Seva Power Yoga and it was one of the three places that saved my life over the course of the next year.