BY Karen Dominque: Co-auther of “A Man for Every Purpose, My Naked Journey Searching for Love”
This past week has been extremely rough for me. I have considered deleting all social media, including this blog. After a week of business travel, my body turned against me. And it has been tragic. I have felt feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness.
This vessel of mine is one that I am so accustomed to depending on that when it let me down (for the 2x this year), I couldn’t help but retreat into a very dark place.
And that’s just it.
Our bodies are just a vessel, a container, for all life’s experiences. And when mine breaks down apparently, I tend to as well. Such a strange and recent development for me. Especially because I love working out and lifting heavyweights, it’s something no one has ever been able to take away from me.
When we get married, we make vows to love our partners through thick and thin, in sickness and health, ’till death do us part…
But what about the vows to ourselves?
Have we ever made those?
Thought about those, at all ever?
Have we taken the time to sit down and say, “These are the things I vow always to make you feel, always to remember, and to always live by – even when life gets rough… even when I feel sick… even when I feel sad… even when the world lets me down.”
I just noticed I have never made formal vows like these to myself. I assume that as I age, my body will continue not to respond as it once did. But how do we make it out alive – Out of these uncomfortable circumstances?
I am calling in all the personal vows!
I guess what makes me the most upset about social media is that we rarely post the dark parts of ourselves. I see it sometimes, and it’s refreshing, but not too often. Not enough.
Society teaches us to bring our best selves to work, to school, to family, to life.
But what about the dark days? What about those moments when you fall into a depression just because your body is pissing you off? What about the day your pet died? What about the day your anger gets the best of you and you cut someone off just because you can?
Are those dark parts of ourselves not allowed to be? Are we not to speak to those versions of ourselves? To showcase them and let them be known to those around us?
I used to wear my anger on my sleeve, but that’s not what I am referring to right now. I am talking about embracing the parts of us that make us whole human beings.
I have to admit I feel so much better about myself when my body is strong, capable, and healthy. But why is it that I feel downright pathetic when I am sick? Is this something I was programmed to feel? Did something down the line implicate that I am not allowed to feel ‘less than’ on some days?
I never said I have all the answers, but one thing is for sure t because my body is not 100% doesn’t mean I need to hide it away and pretend everything is okay.
I just stumbled upon this line that speaks to my predicament: “You can be a world-class athlete and not be in touch with your soul.”
Somewhere along the line, I may have neglected my soul and made it something ‘separate’ from my body. But it is all connected – Body, Mind, and Soul.
To nurture this connection, I am making the vow to myself now, in a public forum where I tend to spill all my guts to the world, the vow to always love my body in sickness and in health; To be thankful for it and all of the experiences it has gifted to me.
Just because my body may deteriorate doesn’t mean I need to be mad at it or love it any less; quite the contrary, in fact. I need to continue to celebrate it even harder, for it will continue to carry me on my journey, involving my mind and soul.
And just because my vessel is down doesn’t mean my soul has to go down with it. With or without my tough workouts, I am strong, capable, driven, and dependable.
I invite you to shed light on the darkest parts of yourself. Perhaps you share them with the world, those you love or acknowledge them silently. I invite you to cultivate the sacred relationship between your Body, Mind, and Soul.
Shedding light on your darkness may mean sharing your truth with another or writing a blog. It may mean listening to the darkest album you own at the loudest volume possible. It may mean you stop saying everything is “okay” or take a mental health day off. It may mean you drive until you can’t drive anymore.
Whatever cultivating your most sacred relationship looks like for you – Do that. Let your soul dance in all of its darkness and light, because it’s made up of both…and that is what makes it a beautifully flawed human masterpiece.
What will you do with the darkest parts of You?
Love Deeply and Forever,