“We are all born whole.. we’re trinities, just like God. We’re body, mind and spirit. And the healthiest of us live out lives of the body (physical lives), lives of the mind (intellectual lives) and lives of the soul (spiritual lives). But what happened to me so young is that our culture gave me so many confusing and objectifying messages about my body that I just started disassociating from my body. Right? Because good girls don’t desire. Good girls don’t hunger. Good girls don’t even grow. But I did hunger, and I did desire, and I did grow. And so I started to become ashamed of my body. And you can’t love and claim anything that you’re ashamed of. So I just voted my body off the island of myself.
..So my therapist said, listen Glennon, we have to vote your body back on the island. And I said, “That sounds really hard, do you have any more pills?” And she said, “No more pills, Glennon, we’re going to do the work.” – Glennon Melton Doyle, Super Soul Sunday session First the Pain, then the Rising.
I crawled into bed early last night with the intention of listening to Glennon’s Super Soul Sunday session talk. She goes on to share a little about her personal battles growing up against bulimia. What I didn’t realize is how much her talk would resonate within me. I went to bed thinking of her, woke up thinking of her and still am. While our experiences are different, our journeys towards healing are similar.
Before last night, I’d never pictured myself as a trinity, like God. I grew up hearing in church that God was within me but never comprehended my three separate lives in one. I realized last night, that after Sam died I began to disassociate my body from myself.
As little girls we’re taught that our primary job as women is to carry and give life. Procreation. I’ve shared before of the betrayal I felt from my body after Sam’s heart stopped beating in me. We loss Mothers constantly ask ourselves what we could have done differently. Did we work out enough? Eat healthy enough? Listen to our bodies enough? How could we have saved our babies? Why would our own bodies betray us and allow death literally inside of our life?
Much like Glennon, my healing began on my yoga mat. Yoga taught me how to love myself again, but there still lacked a trust between my body, mind and soul. A broken relationship between my own trinity equates to a real disconnection in my life.
The lack of trust in myself, particularly in my body, has allowed me to harbor a very real struggle with pregnancy after loss. It’s brought to light my anxieties that Norah might die, too. Like Glennon says, how can I love and claim anything that I’m ashamed of? After all, at the root of our loss is a feeling that we’ve failed. That our bodies failed because our babies died. In an effort to avoid more hurt, I’ve allowed myself at times to shut down physically. A disassociation between my body and the rest of me. Living only in mind and soul. You may call it a spiritual crisis, of sorts, where I’ve done or said things out of my brokenness.
How, then, do I bridge the gap between the disconnection of my body from my spirit and soul so that I can fully love and claim myself? Glennon shares, “First comes the pain, then the rising.”
Two and a half years later and my healing is still a work in progress. It’s an incomplete healing that evolves and takes work. In Rising Strong, Brene’ Brown shares, “While vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for – love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust, to name a few – the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are. ..I define wholehearted living as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
I’m in it – still – the pain of life after the stillbirth of my Sam. I don’t have a complete answer as to how I fully love and claim myself again; body, spirit and soul. But I am journeying to figure it out. I require grace just as much as the next person, from others and towards myself. I desire wholehearted living. As Brene’ shares, “Falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”