It was Sunday night. I had just finished a sumptuous session of reflection and celebration of the last three months. Led by the divine Susana Frioni and attended by an intimate group of powerful women.
I was feeling all jazzed about the first quarter of the year and ready to embrace the next one. I had scheduled the date for my upcoming coaching launch (yeeeeehaw) and things were looking great.
But as I was getting ready for bed, I felt what I later described as “crushing pelvic pain” in my lower abs. Now, I hadn’t been doing 1000 sit ups so I knew it wasn’t muscular. And I have a history of lower back and hip issues, so I thought perhaps I’d been sitting on the floor for too long, and preceded to do some stretches.
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help - so I tried something I’ve never done before. EFT. Or Emotional Freedom Technique. Or Tapping. I used the technique that Marie Forleo learned in this interview.
So I was tapping away repeating silently “Even though I have all this pain in my body, I choose to relax”.
This became my mantra as I lay in bed trying to sleep.
But the pain worsened.
My partner got me some Panadol and I got about an hour’s sleep.
When I awoke I knew two things. I gotta pee. And something was very wrong.
So I got up to pee (big mistake!) but after the deed was done, I knew I was going to either pass out or throw up (I did both).
My partner called the ambulance and I sat trying to breathe and remember my mantra from earlier.
Well, laughter might be the best medicine, but lemme tell ya, nothing trumps morphine for pain relief! I am truly grateful for the paramedics for their kindness, swift action, and patience. Anyone who can witness people at their most unglamourous and still be lighthearted and kind is a hero in my book.
Thankfully I was triaged quickly and saw a doctor not long after. This has NOT been my experience in the past, so again, my gratitude extends to the nurses and doctor that took such good care of me. I have boundless gratitude for my partner who stroked my hair the whole time too.
By 3am I was released home with the requirements for more testing. This is what I’ve been up to for the last few days. Resting and testing.
But do you know what?
I’ve been taught an incredibly powerful lesson.
And that is…
It’s all well and god to be able to meditate when you’re in the forest. But the practice really shines in the middle of a sh*tstorm.
I’ve done lots of meditation in the past. But I’ve been practising mindfulness meditation for a few weeks now with an app called Headspace. This practice has been invaluable throughout this experience.
When the pain first came on, I managed by focusing on my mantra.
After the first shot of morphine, the paramedics said I really needed to walk down the stairs to the ambulance. With my partner’s steady hand, I was able to walk down the stairs one at a time whilst focusing on my breath.
Once in the stretcher, I placed my hand on my heart. I began to shiver (my go-to stress response) and one of the paramedics said “Try to relax”. Magic words.
I was reminded to reconnect to the breath; to count the rise and fall; to focus on the areas of my body that were comfortable - not just the parts in distress; to let go, rise above and be present.
Whenever a thought intruded about what “could” happen, how long this would last for, and all the terrible “what ifs”, I would panic. I could feel my breath quicken and tears form.
But to remember that this was just one moment of suffering and all I had to do was focus on a deep exhale - it took me out of the terrifying, uncertain future and brought me back into presence.
Even though the present moment is painful, the story we tell ourselves about the pain adds so much more suffering. - click to tweet
Now, as I write, I have to keep reminding myself of this.
At times I catch myself thinking, “Dammit! Why now?! I’m about to launch my coaching practice in a few weeks”.
I think “Who’s going to want to coach with a sick person? What if I don’t get better in time? I shouldn’t be resting, I should be working. I’m letting everyone down and burdening my partner…” etc etc
Plus I worry maybe this is a sign it’s bad timing.
The truth is none of that is true. And even if it were, it doesn’t matter.
There’s never a good time to get sick or have an accident. Being sick is painful, expensive and a big ol’ inconvenience.
But this moment, right now? This is all I have. This is all any of us have.
To me this is a sign that anything can and does change in a heartbeat.
So I will be going ahead with the coaching launch, but it might be different to how I originally planned. Things may change a little here at TAR HQ. I may only be able to publish killer content sporadically, rather than twice a week. I don’t know yet.
But I do know this. In this moment, I will recommit to self love and self care of the highest priority. And to going after my dreams in a way that is loving and sustainable.
I invite you to do the same.
PS - If you know someone who is struggling with ill health right now, I encourage you to reach out to them. Cook them a meal, send them flowers, or offer to take their dog for a walk. Illness can be very isolating, but the power of community and connection is incredibly healing.