Why am I so passionate about rest? To answer that I want to take you back on a journey not too far back to a time when I was full of energy, passionately living life to the full, alive, energetic, happy, thriving… until one day I wasn’t anymore and the walls all came tumbling down.
Back then I was a brilliant award winning hairstylist with passion and drive and oozing creativity. I also sang a lot and loved the stage. One day I felt my whole world start to cave. All of a sudden I lost all of my energy and the smallest of tasks became huge unclimbable mountains. I couldn’t stand on a stage. I lost the ability to hold a microphone and soon afterwards as my health deteriorated I lost the ability to hold a hairdryer or my scissors. The smell of chemicals in the salon became so potent to me that I could no longer work in the environment I had called home for the last 20 years. In a single day I went from a thriving business woman to a bed ridden cripple and I remember clearly the day that I had to step out of the creative hair studio and give it all away. I remember my speech slurring and the incredible amount of effort it took me to try and express in a coherent way that I needed to resign and go home right there and right then. I remember my beautiful colleagues helping me to a chair where I collapsed into tears and resting a while until I could gather enough energy to get to the car and go home.
I was diagnosed months later with myalgic encephalitis- a debilitating combination of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and a breakdown of the nervous system and immune system. Both of these were running in overtime. My whole system crashed. Completely crashed.
The next two years I would learn the importance of rest.
Of undoing all the warped thought patterns I had convinced myself were truth.
Of rediscovering my true identity and purpose and the importance of not living out somebody else’s dreams or passions and to re discover my own.
That day I stopped and did the bravest most difficult thing I had ever done.
I let my raw out. Not my roar, at this point… my raw. I was a mess. A complete authentically undone train wreck.
It felt debilitating and humiliating and lonely and I felt like a failure as a mum because in that season I could hardly care for my beautiful children let alone myself. I had to choose if I would use my energy each day to eat, or if falling onto the floor and crawling on all fours just to go to the toilet was all that I could do for the day. I couldn’t shower. There was no energy left for that. The house was a mess.
I had to let a lot of things go. And I mean a LOT of things. You don’t realise how much you are carrying until you start to let it all go and really release it. Daily I learned to release the expectations that I had on myself to hold it all together. I surrendered to the fact that people didn’t understand and they may never understand. I lost most of my friends in that season because people really didn’t fully understand the extent of my illness or it’s longevity. I looked fine on the outside, but inside I was desperately fighting to make my muscles smile, and speak my words in a coherent sentence and tell my children that I loved them. I was trying to rest and allow my body the time it needed to heal.
The couch became my closest friend. Each fabric held my DNA and knew the sound of my heartsong and inner cries. I was too weak to physically cry. But as I lay there, day after day, a beautiful thing started to happen.
I began to slow down and pace myself, but I also began to remember me. The real deal. As the layers of who I had been pretending to be were stripped away, the real true beautiful me began to emerge from deep within my soul. She was buried so deeply that I almost felt as though she was a stranger and I’ll be honest, I am still getting to know her again. But she’s rising and I am in love with her. It’s funny what we place our identity in - the gifts and talents we have been given, or the job we think we have to excel at to impress who? Others at the expense of ourselves? It’s a cruel game with cruel consequences and the trauma that happens as a result is real too.
I came to the realisation that I had been walking in someone else’s destiny. It was purely subconscious, but the things that I thought were bringing me joy were actually zapping me of all of my energy and robbing me of joy. Who wants to live like that? Not me. Not ever again.
I am nearly 50 years old and it’s taken me this long to realise the importance of rest. The importance of listening deeply to my own mind, body, soul and especially to Spirit. And in a way, the forced halt was a blessing. A gift that stopped me in my tracks and made me stop and realign with truth.
There is no time to live a lie, or to live in anyone else’s shoes but my own. I have been strategically placed here in this timeline with purpose and destiny and there is no time left to waste it doing anything except operate fully in my own original design.
Discovering that, too, comes from a place of stillness. Of rest. Of pausing and listening and deliberately making time to just BE.