Hitting the Wall

Photo from rowingupriver.org

Photo from rowingupriver.org

A few weeks ago, I hit a wall. An emotional wall. A spiritual wall. A wall that I finally can’t knock down in my own power. My counselor recognized it and blew the whistle—game over, she said. It’s time to do something different. She recommended a month of medical leave to take care of myself. My jaw nearly dropped to the ground. My family has been through a lot. I’ve carried more than I could handle for too long. I’m emotionally drained. Yet, self-care is a foreign word to me. I don’t know how to do it. But I’m ready for a change. I’m finally seeing that emotional and mental health deserves equal attention as physical health. Perhaps more so—since our emotional health is so often manifested in physical symptoms.

I haven’t blogged for a year. I haven’t felt I had anything to offer. But today I can offer this—transparency. If I can be an open book through what many would consider a private journey, perhaps I can inspire others who need to step out onto the same journey toward peace. I don’t think I’m the only one who has ever hit the wall. There’s power in knowing you’re not alone. Not everyone is called to go public with their struggles. But I believe I am. While my heart is pounding, I know that God’s calling me to be vulnerable and speak to a world that is “busy”—yet broken as I am in so many ways. So I’m taking a deep breath, and I’m stepping out in faith to share a 28-day journal of self-care and emotional healing. My prayer is that it touches someone else who also desperately needs to know there’s another way to do this life.

Wednesday, April 25 =>

It’s the day before my one-month leave from work starts. I’m scrambling around trying to get things in order. I’m meticulous about details – I can’t help myself. I’m not sure if I’m a control freak or just a thoughtful person who wants to make things easier for the woman who is taking my place for a month (or maybe the latter is just my justification for being a control freak). I want things to go well. I want my students to learn. I don’t believe I am the only one who can teach them, yet I feel compelled to lay out every detail—as if no one else can handle it without my guidance. As if my way is the only way.

I didn’t leave work until 5:15, but when I walked away, I felt like I truly walked away. I don’t need to fret. I don’t need to think about it. It’s not my responsibility. It’s not my problem. Tears come to my eyes as I write that. It feels good to say that it’s not my job for the next month. It’s not my load to carry right now. A year ago, I couldn’t have done this. Now, I feel excitement and liberation. My job is important, but I am not defined by my job. I’m also not defined by the labels I’ve given myself at home. I am so much more. I have so much more to explore. I have so much more to experience and awaken within me. I long for balance—something I’ve never had but now crave with every fiber in my being. I desire a life of living in the moment, not worrying about every detail of my family’s existence or that every lesson I prepare for my students is perfect—as if life somehow depended on whether my students learn their verbs or not. How ridiculous. My goodness—I have so many more important things to share with my students and my own children—like how to live their life with joy, how to experience and cherish life in the moment, how to find their gifts and use them for good, how to recognize what’s important and what doesn’t mean diddly-squat in the big scheme of things. That’s what my heart longs to teach them—but I have to learn it and embrace it for myself first. That’s the journey I’m on. A journey toward living what I believe. A journey to healing… and peace within.

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