Is there beauty on the other side of suffering?

I am currently on the mend from a bad cold or sinus infection. I had long travel days surrounding a weekend in Brooklyn - I woke up at 3am to kick off my trip to New York and at 4am for my return to Santa Barbara. Lack of sleep and germ-ridden planes is enough to throw my sensitive system off, but add to that the abnormal amounts of dairy, sugar, and gluten I consumed while I was there, and SICK I quickly became. (More on foolishly slipping back into old eating patterns, later.)

Fatigue, runny nose, sinus pressure, headache, sneezing, phlegm - I have it all! There’s an element of suffering that comes with me getting sick - it’s typically so rare that when it happens, it’s the full force, and I go into complete 'baby mode' and can’t handle it. Now, this is not the first time I’ve noticed that suffering from an illness causes me to suffer emotionally as well. Does that happen to you, too? Please share if so. I know all is connected in our bodies - body, heart, mind, soul - and therefore understand how this can happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier to handle!

I call this blog post “Breakthrough” because I can only hope that at least one breakthrough is happening during this miserable time. After all, life is happening for us, right? In moments of resting my weak body, my mind seems to replay all aspects of my life before my eyes and give me glimpses as to what is wrong with them, what I am struggling with, and on occasion, what I could do about my issues. Turns out, the ego doesn’t take sick days when we do.

My ego likes to tell me what’s wrong. I believe my sense of things that were wrong when I was growing up left me subconsciously analyzing the wrong in situations, especially considering I didn’t feel free to talk about them. For example, it seemed wrong that my parents divorced due to infidelity when I was just 5 years old. Subsequently, it was wrong for my sister and me to not call my dad as often as he thought we should when he was living elsewhere. And it was wrong for my sister and me to run to my neighbor’s house, as soon as our dad dropped us off after spending a weekend with him, before embracing our mom with love and whatever else she was needing but couldn’t communicate. It was also wrong that she severed a bond with me as a result of that experience by never sharing her feelings and instead being angry and passive aggressive. I had a nightmare that night and woke up afraid to ask her for comfort, even with her sleeping right next to me, because I sensed I had done something wrong (even though I didn’t know what it was) and felt unworthy of being comforted. It took me a long time to realize this tendency to see the wrong and it makes me sad that this is part of my story. What does your ego like to tell you?

SIDE NOTE: Mental health is just as important as our physical health. I hope we can all start talking about our minds - and egos - like we talk about our bodies.

In my conscious, adult life, I make an effort to not view life as right versus wrong. Instead, I try to be accepting. I view my life as a journey, a learning experience, and try to be kind along the way and open to others beliefs and perspectives. A psychologist once told me that my sense of awareness is both a blessing and a curse. I completely agree.

Anyhow, do you care to read about what my mind’s current emotional suffering sounds like? Here’s a glimpse:

So here we are getting into the winter months again. I’m still single and I yearn for a romantic partner. I’m going to try this radical self love thing. I can’t believe I don’t love myself enough to invite a partner in to my life. Or is it just not my time? Am I really going to make it to 11 years without being in a committed relationship? What lesson am I learning in all this? Am I being too picky? NO! You rarely get asked out so how can you be too picky? Why am I not dating? Because you’ve been focused on other things. Rikka picked up that I don’t feel safe. What’s it going to take for that to change? Summer and all its fun is behind me. I’ve been healing a sprained ankle for over 8 weeks and have been limiting my activities to expedite the healing. Limited activities means a limited social life which means less time with friends. I’m feeling lonely. I’m alone in my 700 square foot apartment. But Thank God for my kitties! I’m so grateful for this home. I worked so hard for it and that hard work didn’t bring me happiness. Not that I’m unhappy, I’m just not as happy as I’d like to be. Who are my friends? Why are they my friends? Do they really serve me, help me grow, or make me happy? If they don’t, do I walk away? What do we do together that brings me joy? How many friends do I really want or need? I actually really like my me-time, my apartment and my kitties. I feel safe at home. Everything in my life feels new and is changing by the day. I feel like I’m not the person I was 3 months ago or even last week. Is that a good thing? I’ve gotta get more clients. How am I going to do that? I need to get better doing what I do. How am I going to balance all the things I envision to make enough money to continue to live in Santa Barbara? Do I want to stay in Santa Barbara? There are so many unknowns right now. So much to do and I’m not holding myself accountable to follow through. Am I still putting too much on my plate? Am I setting myself up for failure by assigning tasks that I really don’t want to do nor are in alignment with my highest and best good? How do I know the difference? I try to always be positive but that doesn’t feel like my truth right now. I feel sad, depressed, ugly, unmotivated and unfulfilled. And I have a desire and need to make more money and I’m… SICK!

Is your head spinning yet? It’s difficult for me to organize and synthesize all that material to get some enlightened, conscious takeaways and learnings. I can only hope that the subconscious processing of it all, however, will lead to something beautiful. A beautiful breakthrough.

All the darkness in the world can’t hide a single flame of light. May the breakthroughs happening during this time of physical and emotional suffering further align me to my beautiful light that always shines within!

This thing called life can be stranger than fiction!