Monday, October 17, 2016

Practicing Gratitude When I Slept All Day

Each of the days of this gratitude exercise, I've asked myself, "What are you grateful for?"

Life. In this moment, I'm grateful to be alive. Not because life feels good or because circumstances are encouraging, but because I have lungs that breathe in and breathe out. 

In and out. 

Look at them working so hard for me. My whole body, especially the parts that aren't struggling, show up every day and every night to work for me. My body believes in my purpose even when I've lost track of it. It serves me unquestioningly, even when I've done things that make it's job harder.

With parts of my body struggling and erratic symptoms, it's easy to start seeing nothing else. I don't understand why I'm shaky today. I don't understand why I couldn't sleep last night. Why do I feel flushed? Why does a poor nights' sleep screw me up for so long? My mind tries to track it and back at the beginning I wrote it down faithfully for months and still saw no patterns/answers. It feels much like having a newborn who won't sleep at 1am. My tired brain would do the checklist, "She's changed. She can't be hungry already. It's night time...what else is there?!" I knew this wasn't a simple math problem and I knew I couldn't figure it out, but because I needed sleep so badly, I tried. 

But tonight I'm setting that pursuit aside. I need to shift. Today was my day off and I always look forward to getting things done, but because I slept poorly last night, I slept most of today. I feel discouraged when this happens and I did today. For sure. 

But if I put a hand on my heart, I feel it beat. My chest tightness is anxiety, not a failing heart. I'm grateful.

If I show up to yoga (which I did today), I can practice even with my weak wrist and painful psoas. I'm grateful.

If I lay on my back, I can watch my stomach and lungs expand, gently rising and falling, because they're strong. I'm grateful.

Parts of me are weak and parts of me are strong, but my whole body is on my side. And if my body's on my side, and it was God's idea, then it's a testament to what he's willing to do for me and what he thinks I'm worthy of. And like his always hoping love, my body doesn't desert me. It keeps breathing and pumping until I find my way back to my purpose. While I'm busy doubting my navigating ability, it's inhaling and exhaling. 

I want to be humble like my body - just do my work and trust. Just believe in goodness and possibility and keep working or resting, whatever it's time for. 

My body is a friend to me. It's taken some big hits and I no longer hold that against her. I used to blame her for so much of my pain. Lately, I'm tempted to blame her for the things I long to do, but can't. But it was never her. It was never me. And in that place where I'm starting to understand my body and I are one and the same, I realize we haven't lost faith in me. 

We still believe I can heal. 

We still believe I'm worth whatever it takes to heal. 

We still believe we're carrying a gift the world needs. 

One of the biggest hits my body ever took was carrying and delivering my twin babies. I got very sick at the end and was horrified when I saw this photo of myself walking into surgery. I swore I'd never, ever show anyone because I was so ashamed. But now, I feel so much love for my body, I can show this to you. I see the beauty now. If you can't, don't feel bad or freak out. It will come. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen Kendra! You just made me feel a bit better. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, I've had neck surgery, asthma, Poly Cystic ovary disease, fatty liver disease, and kidney disease. I was supposed to be in a wheel chair by the time I'm in my 40s because of degeneration, but I say no. I have become overweight from the PCOS and will catch myself downing myself due to that and my health issues. I Know I have my kids and family's love and that has pulled me through some very tough times in the last 2 years, but it's easy to overlook God's love. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has been through this, you have encouraged me and I know I can change my way of thinking. Bless you!