By Kami Lingren
As I sat outside sipping on my cup of tea this morning, the cool air brought a smile to my face. In the quietness, I brought my mind into the moment, took a deep breath and closed my eyes against the rising sun's bright beams.
And then I did something I've been doing more of lately. I silently reminded myself: "I'm strong. I'm happy. And I'm healing."
You see, I recently started a new treatment that’s brought up a lot of new emotions. Renewed hope for healing, a genuine happiness, and more quiet rest in my mind. And while the quiet and calm have been so welcome in this tired body, I've discovered some buried debris:
Some negative thoughts I've held onto about my worth, purpose, and talents
You see, I've worked through a lot of the things that have surfaced in these years of health challenges. Ideas that I'm not enough. Thoughts of comparison with someone else's talent or ability. Beliefs that what I have to share isn't of value to anyone else. It's really quite a messy collection of harsh words and emotional knick-knacks that I just don't need.
So I’ve started to question, what do I believe about myself? Do I really believe that my diagnoses define me? That my thoughts, experiences, or talents have no place in this world? Are they really "not good enough" or am I just afraid of letting my talents shine?
I don't want to live buried by a pile of doubts and insecurities so I’ve decided to intentionally shift my thoughts. And in doing so, my aim and hope is to make more room for self-kindness, acceptance, and grace. Let me share a few ways I'm tangibly putting this into practice…
Daily gratitude journal
Over the years, the people I've met with health challenges are some of the most grateful, appreciative bunch I know. We see the beauty in the simple things, soak in the things and moments that matter. So I wanted to be even more purposeful in this. Writing down a list of the things I'm grateful for has created a perfect space to allow the good in my life to shine. And this list is not just about noticing the good, but also recognizing my efforts for the day. This can look like, "I'm grateful I did a great job at sticking to my treatment schedule today," or "I'm thankful I was able to commit to my appointment even though it took a lot of extra effort." It reminds me of positive truths like: I'm strong, committed to my health, determined. And when does that ever not feel encouraging to hear?!
Saying sweet nothings to myself
I can be incredibly hard on myself. So learning how to treat myself with the same gentleness I wish to give others has been a process for me. And one way I’m challenging the tide is by silently reminding myself of my worth. Affirming what makes me, me. The more I've stepped outside of my comfort zone with this one the more emotional healing I've experienced. Why? Because I'm actually starting to believe what I'm saying. That I’m talented. That I’m important. That I have something to offer the world. The beauty of growing in how I self-talk and care about myself is that I believe I’m becoming more equipped for encouraging and supporting others around me, too.
Meditation is something I’ve only recently begun exploring, but it's such a treasured new experience! I love how calm and relaxed it can make me. So each day I make space for a bit of meditation before bedtime as well as another hour at some point during each day. It's something that has taken practice (and I still have room to grow), but I make a great effort to remain focused on healing for that hour. My body sometimes gets restless and distracted, so it's been important for me to learn to be gentle with any thoughts that arise. This can look like calmly reminding myself/my mind that it's time for healing. And in giving myself permission to let go of any harsh thoughts during my meditation, I’ve found that the harsh thoughts have lessened as a whole!
Finding My Center
These three practices, while small and not-so-out-of-the-box, have played an important role in centering me on my quest for healing, fullness and purpose. Because as I've approached each one with intention and grace, they've helped quiet the thoughts that don’t serve me well. It’s helped me refine my focus on healing, be more gentle with myself, and be more accepting of where I’m at right now.
And it’s given me hope that there can be a full life in this moment – as I embrace the now, hope for tomorrow, and learn to dance in the freedom to dream.
Have you tried any of these practices or do you have one you'd add to your own list? What inspires you to stay mindful in healing?
Kami is a writer and dreamer living and healing in the beautiful valley of southern Oregon. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her snapping dozens of pictures of clouds and her pup, wearing leggings and watching yet-another-episode of Friends. On her blog she shares her journey of self-care, healing from Lyme, and finding joy in both the simple and grand gems of life.