Another Lesson in Surrender and Trust

Another Lesson in Surrender and Trust

Even as I sit to write this, I can feel resistance coming up. I can feel something in me that thinks things should be a certain way, and that this isn’t it. It’s not “what I want” in my mind, but here it is…

My book, “Flourishing with Chronic Illness,” will not be available for pre-order this month, as I had previously announced. I made a decision last week to let go of my original deadline for submitting the manuscript to kindle.

This was a huge act of surrender. I cried, I grieved, but as soon as I let go of my resistance and made the decision, I was flooded with a sense of relief, of confirmation, and of knowing deeply that it was the right thing to do, for myself, for my readers, and for all those around me. I could feel myself being held by the Divine, being reassured that yes, this is for the highest good.

This was not an easy decision. Despite several weeks of getting clear signals from my body to take a break, I kept pushing, blinded by beliefs that things were meant to be a certain way – to go according to “my plan.”

And the timing! By all appearances, the timing is just so ripe! It’s as if the universe has orchestrated this AMAZING opportunity – the “perfect” time to have my book available, at least for pre-order, while the Online Positive Psychology Course that I filmed with world-renowned researcher and author, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is live, while I’m being exposed to tens of thousands of people all over the world!

By outward appearances yes, the timing couldn’t be more perfect, but if I listen to my body, and to my inner knowing, it has been SHOUTING, “no!” so clearly. I just hadn’t wanted to listen.

A few weeks ago, I started experiencing severe symptoms, unlike anything I’ve ever dealt with before. At first, I thought I just needed to rest. I thought that I could get away with just “taking it easy,” spending extra time in meditation, and still working towards the deadline without stressing too much about it. Last week it became clear that this wasn’t cutting it. The symptoms were getting worse, and it finally broke through to me that it would be crazy to try to force it any more. I needed to accept the circumstances, listen to what my body was telling me, and surrender; trusting that everything will be just as it’s meant to be.

My mind keeps trying to rationalize. There’s not that much left to do, and I keep thinking that I “should” be able to just pull it all together, put on the finishing touches, and get it into the hands of those who need it. But I have a deeper knowing that this is what is best in the big picture. This is what is best for me, and what’s more motivating than that is the knowing that the better I take care of myself, the more I am able to give to others. Even though I want people to have access to the book right now, I know that by taking this step aside, I will be nourishing my inner flame in a way that will make what I have to offer people that much more powerful.

This project is so much bigger than me. I know that it is going to help so many people, and that it will happen in whatever way it’s meant to happen. It is going to get out there, one way or another, and it’s going to be big. This work has already touched so many people, and I know that it will benefit many more for years to come. I am only the vessel. I am letting go of my plan, and trusting in the timing of the Universe.

I am still dedicated to doing all that I can to get it into the hands of those who can benefit as soon as possible, I am still committed to putting in the effort, to going all the way. I am also dedicated to listening to my body and my inner knowing, and to trusting that even if things aren’t going according to my plan, everything is unfolding just as it’s meant to.

 

Flourishing with Chronic Illness

Flourishing with Chronic Illness is a special body of work, dedicated to helping people who are living with chronic conditions to see that they have the power to shape the experience of their own lives. In our society we have become overly dependent on the advice of doctors, but they only know part of the story. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you do not have to take on a typical passive-patient role. You have the power to shape your experience! Some things may help improve the course of an illness, others can ease symptoms. Even in the face of persistent symptoms and progressing illness, there are ways of shaping your experience that will allow you to live a deeply rich and fulfilling life. This work is an exploration of the many ways that you can make a difference in your own health and life, from healthy eating and exercise, to meditation, self-compassion, and beyond! Flourishing with Chronic Illness presents a holistic, mindfulness-based, love-fueled approach, infused with insights from 7 years of exploring the many ways to live life to its fullest with chronic illness. It is based on my own journey of living with Multiple Sclerosis, and the many ways I’ve found both to improve my health AND to have a deep and gratifying experience of life even when faced with extreme difficulties. We can’t control everything, but there is so much we can do!

The book, “Flourishing with Chronic Illness: A Mind-Body-Spirit Approach to Living your Best Life with Any Diagnosis” is coming soon to Kindle! Click here to learn more and get notified when the book is released.

Self-Care: Because You’re Worth It!

Anna M. Maynard

Many of us feel that we “should” be putting more effort into taking care of ourselves, but it simply is not a priority. Why? Many people, either consciously or unconsciously, don’t see themselves as worthy of their own care and effort. We may give selflessly to others, and perhaps “treat” ourselves to a momentary indulgence here and there, but how many of us really put in the effort to nourish ourselves on a deeper level so that we feel our best in the long term?

In order to achieve optimal wellbeing, self-care must be seen as a top priority. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just knowing that we would benefit from putting more effort towards self-care. In the long-term, it must come from caring enough about yourself that you want to treat yourself as lovingly as possible. Imagine what it would be like if you were to treat yourself as you would a dear friend. For some of us it is uncomfortable even to think about this. We may think that self-love means being selfish or self-indulgent, but this simply is not true. The more we nourish ourselves, the more we are able to truly give to others.

So how do we move towards this aspiration of self-care?
With time, practice, and patience.

Start paying attention to negative self-talk. The way that many of us speak to ourselves in our own minds is nothing short of self-harassment. Having this near-constant, inescapable negativity is extremely stressful, whether we realize it or not. Most of us would never consider allowing another person to speak to us the way we speak to ourselves, and we certainly would not treat others in this way.

Life is difficult enough. We can’t control the way other people treat us, but we can learn to control the way we treat ourselves. We can learn to notice when we are thinking or acting in ways that are unkind, and we can make the choice to replace these thoughts and actions with more nourishing ones.

It may feel unnatural at first, but that’s perfectly okay. It makes sense that after thinking a certain way for so long, it will take some time and effort to start thinking differently. Just be patient with yourself and you will find that practicing self-kindness gets easier with time, eventually even becoming second nature.

Cultivating mindfulness through the regular practice of meditation is one way that has been proven to help individuals develop self-kindness, patience, awareness, and many other beneficial qualities.  Not only have these benefits been demonstrated repeatedly through scientific studies, people have been enriching their lives through meditation for thousands of years. Meditation does not refer to just one practice. There are many, varying forms of meditation, and it’s worth exploring which method works best for you. One particular type of meditation called Metta, or Lovingkindness, is particularly powerful for cultivating self-compassion and non-judgment.

I love helping people get started with meditation, and mindfulness is a huge part of the work I do. Soon I’ll have some of my own recordings available through the website, but for now, there are plenty of free resources online that you can check out! One of my favorite teachers, Mooji, has several meditations available on YouTube. Here’s one that I find particularly powerful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4zArI0uqWY

Check it out and see what you think! If this one doesn’t resonate with you, I encourage you to keep exploring. And check back here for guided meditations in the near-future!

 

*Photo by Anna M. Maynard