Wellness // Learning to Say Yes + Lessons from Tolkien

When we lost our first baby, I knew it was time to take my health seriously. I had been somewhat on autopilot, unsure of where to turn. I had made a lot of changes and just assumed that my lingering symptoms were normal and part of life. 

It took lots of time, lots of tears, lots of rest. And much letting go. But my body healed in major ways and I saw incredible improvement. A little over a year later, I felt ready to ask my body to again take on the roll of human-grower and by God's grace, Ruby Louise is here to talk about it (well, one day).  

As hard as I had been working to take care of my body (ie: sometimes that meant not working hard . . . which is a struggle in of itself) I knew my focus needed to shift. I had a baby growing inside me and she needed all the good stuff. Yes, she needed real food but she also needed love, peace, rest, and joy. I knew I wouldn't find wholeness in being nit-picky about what I ate. I knew I needed to loosen the reigns a bit. I needed to nourish my body and her's through more than just diet and herbs. My body was asking me to expand, both literally and metaphorically. 

Since Ruby's birth, I've been trying to give my body time to figure itself out again, learning what it can and can't handle. A little over four years ago, I started this whole process and as much as I want to throw in the towel, it's time to tighten those reigns again. 

This is tricky and really humbling. My definition of "health" has so very much changed. I see health as an all encompassing state of being . . . it has nothing to do with muscle definition or protein shakes. I believe it has as much to do with your heart as it does your body. And yet, as much as I advocate for the cupcake and churro . . . I can't do it. My body and emotions suffer in major ways and in turn, those around me suffer. I have some concrete answers as to why my body is So. Damn. Sensitive. but I won't bore you with them here. I'm thankful for these answers because they provide some tangibility to hold onto. Yet despite these answers, there's a part of me that is so tired, so frustrated, and unwilling to give my body the time it needs. There is also a part of me that is embarrassed. I loathe the fact that my necessary "strict diet" would make those around me feel like I am judging their plate. This is a silly fear, really, and something I am working on resolving. As much as I believe in the power of real, whole food . . . I also believe in the power of late night pizza with friends. Both are necessary. 

I recently heard a sweet lady share her perspective on addiction and though it may seem unrelated, I found much encouragement. When we choose to say, "no" to whatever the variable might be, we are actually saying "yes." We are saying yes to joy though we may be saying no to immediate gratification. We are saying yes to life though we may be saying no to fun. We are saying yes to healing though we may be saying no to pleasure

I might be saying no to a lot of things . . . STILL. After 4.5 years (and getting a lot of eye rolls). But I'm saying yes to long term healing. I'm saying yes to long term joy. I'm striving after goals that are made up of a thousand, mundane, tiny steps that are lived out in the context of everyday life. 

Whatever the trial(s) you may be going through, whether it be health related or not, they are physical reminders of something intangible. I like to borrow Mewithoutyou's analogy of an "invisible rosary," though we often want to let go of them (or them of us). 

The quote below may seem a little unfitting . . . but I think Tolkien says it best. No matter the trial, big or small, it is often a weird mix of joy and sorrow and our tears have the opportunity to become like wine.  

And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness (The Return of The King).