Do you know what it is like, to give and give so much of yourself until you are running on empty? How about the opposite? Have you experienced being so full to the overflow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? Lend me your imagination and picture this. A bottle of water is half full, you take it and hold it under a running faucet until it is completely filled, but instead of turning off the faucet, you leave it running and the bottle begins to run over. That is the overflow I’m talking about.
Well I’ve experienced both. Today, I will focus on a point in my life when I experienced a season of emptiness. All my life I have pushed myself really hard. In college, I chose the overachiever path, studying all through the night during finals, shutting out the world, friends and family to stay laser focus on getting that A or A+. I love learning and so I extended that same strategy to writing papers and completing assignments. Sleep who needs that? If I had a deadline, I would intentionally alter my body’s need to sleep. How, like most college students, energy drinks, coffee, sugar, whatever it took to stay awake.
That was the beginning of my journey towards cultivating my alter-shero, that high performing, I-can-do-it all-by-myself, high-performance super human/machine.
I remember during my senior year in college, I received a project in our mass media research class. I decided to do mass media research to figure out how to disseminate information across campus. You see as a student, I stumbled on so many hidden resources but starting out as an evening student, these opportunities were out of sight for us. Sure, there were fliers but if you did not get a flier, you were in the dark. I did the project and found, yes the college marketed by fliers, and there was a radio station that many students had no idea even existed. Information sharing was a hit or miss. So I did the research and out of that project created the news network that still keeps information front and center, in the library and in main buildings. The outcome was not intentional, but my passion helped me pushed pass the layers and share this possibility with the school president.
That drive continued after graduating from college and moving through my career, I took the same road. Why? I was in love with the stimulation that came from outward success. My push took me to a national news network. First as a Production Assistant and moving up to produce award-winning documentaries. I celebrate my efforts to finding unforgettable TV characters. I travelled all over the US as the brain behind leading journalist. Yes! From a third world country to first world, I climbed from the bottom and held my dream.
Work was a huge part of identity. With a passion for knowledge, a talent to connect people, I got addicted to information dominance. That resulted in my mind always powered up, ideas and creativity were nonstop. I’m the girl you’d come to for fresh ideas, clarity and to dream big. And I gave and gave it all away. #Operationalwayson, #Superhumanmode, #Beastmodeever is how I would describe my work ethic. Coming in from the bottom, I took pride in doing it all, because I could. Instead of setting reasonable boundaries, the pusher took it all on. This went on for ten years. Until…
A few months ago, right before my 40th birthday, a crash! My mind went blank, my body caved in on itself, anxiety choked the air out of lungs. I did not recognize my trembling body. My vitals were all over the place. My vessel began running empty. Super girl took flight and my humanness moved in.
Forty wasn’t the fabulous forty I expected. No one told me about the aches and pains. No one told me, I would be faced with the wall of human limitations. I did not expect that one day I would have to wean myself off coffee, so my heart could beat as normal.
It took months for regular sleep to return for more than four hours a night. Exercise like simply walking, left me exhausted and gasping for breath. One day I completely blacked out. There I was on Meds to help my body to function as normal. I hit rock bottom with no idea how to climb out of this pit.
My doctor took my life into her hands and shutdown the broken energizer bunny. Eventually, a cocktail of treatments and time, healed my brokenness. Meds, rest, prayers from friends, affirmations, juicing, therapy, writing, the love of family and me embracing my new reality that getting older means loving me enough to care for my body, mind and spirit above other people’s needs. Eventually one day I felt the cloud lift.
It has been a journey. Under the surface, I’ve always believed that it is selfish to be more concerned about me. I felt if I gave without limits, it will come back unfortunately I did it to the point of self-neglect. The truth is if I am not my priority, I won’t be around or present for others. So I have embraced this new truth, purged the lie and moving in a completely new direction.
Instead of practicing a scarcity mindset towards myself, I have made a shift. I am embracing abundance to the overflow for myself. I am learning what it means to love me, to care for me, to accept abundance for me. That means setting a timeline to add a few things to my morning routine like nature walks, meditation, visualization, and affirmations. Last week, I took sometime to just admire myself in the mirror and appreciate my image, my essence and to give thanks for my life, my beauty, my greatness and inner light. The poem below came out of that exercise.
The late Whitney Houston said, it best, “Learning to love yourself is greatest love of all. So I’m learning to love me and when I pray I listen for the lover of my soul to speak, more than I speak. I allow myself, with all my flaws to appreciate me. If I feel tense or stressed, I breathe deeply to release the tensions from every part of me. If I feel tired, I simply rest, instead of trying to caffeinate and pushing myself to be super human.
Next blog post I hope you follow me as I share the flip side. Recently I encountered an abundance of fullness, that started this new chapter in my life and it is like every empty area in my life was full to the overflow in just one weekend.
Share, like, tweet, comment, if this spoke to you deeply.
My Mirror Exercise
Oval shaped brown face
With Perfectly slit radiant eyes
Beneath arched brows
Eye balls a slight tint of pink,
From sporadic tears flowing over the lid of my eye brim.
Tears of sadness no,
But tears of fullness
Heart filled fullness
For I came out of their shadow and collided with the image of me, the essence of my greatness and the light of my Lord within.
In this rebirth I shout into the wind “Hello world meet me, a woman of statute and light.”
Not waiting for love from outside
But loving myself from the inside
Not perfectly sized, I love me,
Not my ideal BMI, but I love me.
Imperfections under construction
I love me, purely deeply, freely
Like a mother loves the baby created inside of her.
No earning it… Just receiving it, freely.
I give myself permission to appreciate the me I am in this moment!
I accept me and love myself. I am a magnet of acceptance.
(Say this to yourself in the mirror in morning. Whatever your age is, for example I am 40, so I repeated this 40 times. 20 times in your normal voice, 10 shout it loud and 10 in a whisper. Something in your psyche, in your emotions and in your spirit will shift into alignment!)