I know, I know...we are almost two weeks into the new year. This post is a little late to the game, but I needed some time to digest and understand my 2017 reflection. There were no major life events for me in 2017 (I shoved all those into 2016...get engaged ✔️, get married ✔️, buy a house ✔️), but 2017 was a huge year for me in terms of my health and in my self reflection and deep personal work.
2017 was the year that I was at war with my body and at war with my mind.
My gut issues that have been plaguing me for the last 3 years became unbearable early on in the year. I started working with an integrative physician and I found out I have some serious issues going on with my body - my gut in particular. I also confirmed that I have HPA axis dysfunction, which means that I live in a pretty constant state of “fight or flight” rather than “rest and digest” (See the connection of not being in rest and digest mode and having gut issues?).
Essentially what all of this means is that my body is out of whack which contributes to depression and anxiety and causes stomach upset, fatigue, brain fog, irritation, painful and embarrassing skin issues and more. In response, I waged war against my body and fought back hard against all of this. I researched, took supplements, constantly eliminated things from my diet, cut out processed sugar, then caffeine. I even spent three weeks not eating any solid foods and only drinking water and a doctor prescribed powder in an attempt to clear up my gut issues. Everything I did was for the greater good of my health, but at the end of the year, I felt exhausted and still very unwell and pretty defeated.
On top of the physical issues (and related to, of course), there was a lot of underlying emotional stuff that’s been suppressed for a long time. Old traumas, old self sabotaging behavior patterns and old messages of not being good enough. They’ve been hanging out in my body and in my mind for quite some time - it’s been relatively easy to not deal with them. I have lived a busy life - a good life, and I have a wonderful tribe and a loving and supportive partner.
But, 2017 was the perfect breeding ground for that old, stuck stuff to come out and play. Just when you think you’ve moved beyond it...BAM! There it is aggressively interfering in your present, wonderful life. You see, past traumas don’t just go away if you ignore them long enough. They must be dealt with. And they’ll show up when you’re least expecting them.
I really isolated myself in 2017. I took a step away from the world in an attempt to step towards myself. Which was really difficult for me. I thrive off of connecting with others. I thrive off of supporting others. But in 2017, I had nothing left for anyone else. In fact, I could feel myself being absent in relationships that I had previously really shown up in. I could feel myself feeling all kinds of feelings like anger, annoyance and even sometimes rage in situations that didn’t seem to warrant those feelings. And on top of all that - having skin issues that made me feel so self conscious...I just retreated. My husband traveled the better part of the year, so it was easy for me to isolate myself and hole up in my home, not connecting with others in a meaningful way. Sometimes it was so lonely that I worried about my sanity. But I also knew it was necessary for my healing.
2017 was the year of digging into the darkness and meeting my shadow side. We all have one, but I know for myself, I’ve lived in denial of my shadow side for a long time. I’ve fought it and beat it up and just been plain mean to it. But the truth is, our shadow side is a part of us, and ultimately I was just being really mean to myself.
It was a tough year, but now looking back, I know I started a growth and a healing process that’s been a long time coming and that is so necessary.
So in 2018, my intention is to be kind to myself. To get to know my shadow side and accept it as a part of me. To learn to love and care for myself in the same way that I’m so good at loving and caring for others. To be well - to continue on this healing journey that I am on. To be gentle with myself, knowing that “being well” doesn’t actually mean being “perfect”.
And maybe most importantly, my intention is just simply to be present. To be in each moment and accept the moment for what it is. Because it will pass, and a new moment will arrive.
If my journey resonates with you, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. We are all on a constant journey of healing and becoming who we are - it’s the journey we call life.
In 2018, I’ll be writing more about my self discovery and my health, and I look forward to sharing in hopes that it will help you along your journey. But for now, I’d love to know...what did you learn about yourself in 2017? What are your 2018 intentions? Let me know in the comments below.
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