Part 4 covers from 03.03.2010 till 08.20.2012.
Naming this period was not as simple as the previous ones. I was not sure exactly what name was the most accurate. The options were “Fight for My Life,” “Surviving till Dawn,” “Path to the Sea,” and “Blooming Desert.”
All of them held a deep meaning, and each of them could be an accurate description of what was taking place at that time. However, nothing grasped better and fuller than this name: “Embracing Life.” Embracing Life is the name of this period.
You see, something happened during that period that propelled me into a different trajectory. The “Surviving the Winter Night of My Soul” shifted to “Embracing the Winter Night of My Soul.” The fight for my life stopped having a part of “accepting” my life and what is in it. It became about “embracing what is.”
“What happened?” you may ask. Fair enough. I am going to share with you “why” and “what.” Here is the story behind that name.
As I already shared with you earlier, this period was the time of the breakdown of my physical body. Not only I had flu, after flu, and all other complications and conditions. I was also hardly able to keep my head above water with all those new and old health demands. If that was not complicated enough, I also started to notice that I could not move freely as I used to.
What I mean by that is that if before I could easily walk for an hour or two, swim for an hour or for as much I wanted and I will be fine, now I could not. Something strange, something weird was happening with me.
In the first ten to fifteen minutes of the movement, be that any physical activity, the wave of pain was coming over me, making me feel as if my body was breaking into halves. Then the uncontrollable flood of tears would follow, with me not able to breathe normally. My body then would go to some frozen shock, creating a feeling of being paralyzed and not being able to move. It was not a panic attack. It was something else that is triggered by intense physical movement. With the result of a full and complete breakdown. Followed by long periods of recovery.
There was something happening on so many levels, somatically, psychologically, spiritually at the same time that I did not even know where to start or what to do with it. The first time I experienced that wave of horror (I still do not have a proper name for it) was during my regular swimming routine. It hit me right in the middle of the pool. In the swimming pool that I used almost daily, year-round, for years. And now I started to drown in it.
Here is an important detail. Not only swimming is my passion and water is where I always felt right at home and it is my element. I also have an amazing ability to float. My natural level of buoyancy was always great. In my childhood, I won every single “dare” on “Who can float the longest?” .
Not only can I float without moving for hours. I can also sit in the water, as if I am sitting in a chair, can walk in the water, and do other cool tricks. Always could. Swimming is my breathing.
Yet not only was I totally breaking down, but my body lost its ability to float. Repeat—my body could not float! Never happened.
Not in the river. Not in the open sea or ocean. Not in the lake, or anywhere else. Now it became heavy as a rock that was ready to go down and rest at the bottom of the pool. Luckily I was right next to the pool lane divider. I was able to grab the pool safety divider rope right on time.
Two thoughts hit me at once. One was “Oh my G-d, I’m drowning,” and the second one is “I can’t move.” The thought that I can drown never crossed my mind before. Not able to move without an apparent reason was also not anything I experienced.
I did not know how to be with it and what to do. After holding over the line and with tears falling as a heavy rain, after a while I was able to start to move again and slowly made it to the end of the pool.
It was an open pool, Olympic size, and it took me some time to get to safety. I was shaken not only physically but on every other level as well. Since that day, I only went to the water with a floating device that could hold me.
It felt to me that I had lost my ability to swim without. The place where I felt the most of joy and the most safe now became a place of danger. It was terribly uncomfortable for me.
It was a new territory, a meadow of a minefield. Where the question about the next explosion is not “if” but “when.”
The drama of that horrible wave stood with me and intrigued and terrified me at the same time. On one hand, I wanted to know “what happened and why.”
On the other hand, I did not now know “where” the next meltdown would take place. Yet I could not allow the fear of drowning to win over me.
So I tried to continue swimming as much as I could. But my health kept declining, and with every break period between swimming, it was more challenging and more difficult to make it to the pool.
When I did come, I could only move to a certain point. It was getting worse. It was happening more often. If I was swimming faster, I was breaking down. If I was swimming longer, I was breaking down. If the water was colder than usual, I was breaking down. If the surrounding weather was not perfect, I was breaking down. Neither weather nor temperature of water was an issue for me before.
So I tried to replace swimming with walking, yoga, Pilates, you name it, I tried it. The result was the same. Moving my body was pushing me into “breaking mode.” That is all. I talked to several physical therapists, psychologists, and other specialists as well. The best answer I could get was “You’re not ready. You have suffered a trauma. You’re not ready.”
I was left without answers that could help me to have a clear and concrete plan of action. Questions were piled up, and additional health challenges were growing.
Overall, the situation was getting worse and worse. Fighting for my life as my son was telling me to do got more and more difficult. I was becoming disabled. My body was falling apart.
Only the work on this project kept me going. It became my “floating device,” my anchor. Yet I was fully aware of the fact that if I wanted to finish this project, I must get better, I must get well. So I pushed and pushed and pushed.
With every good day, I tried to go to the pool and tried to move and swim as much as I could. Then it was a day. Almost three years and two months since our son’s shift. Thursday, June 16, 2011.
The day started as a gloomy morning. I was not planning to go to the pool that day. My husband walked in and said, “Let’s go for a swim.” He never initiated swimming practices before.
Usually it was me who was waving the flag. But that day I was done with leading. That day I was done with “trying.” That day I wanted to be left alone. And yet, not knowing why, I said, “Okay, let’s go.” I dragged myself out of bed. Took a quick shower and we were on our way.
I entered the water; it was somewhat chilly. It was still early, and clouds were covering the sun. I slowly started to swim. With every stroke, I was trying to increase my speed. As my workout intensified, I felt by now a familiar feeling: “the wave of horror” was coming over.
The breakdown started. The tears started to roll. The knot in the stomach created a dark and empty hole inside of me, breaking me into halves. The pain of sudden sadness coupled with the physical pain became a heavy and intolerable load that was drowning me.
I could not move and was losing myself in pain and tears. The voice of my son and his energy softly descended on me. “Embrace, Mom, embrace. Move, Mom, move. Focus on us, Mom,” he calmly whispered in my ear.
I changed the position of my body from horizontal to vertical and started to move in a Cross Country Skiing movement. Now with my body being vertically aligned and with my arms and legs being straight it was easier to breath. I also felt more safe this way.
So, I kept moving . My face was covered with tears. But I was upright! Not only in my body, but in my soul and heart. And I kept moving.
I was trying to hold in the moans and weeps to avoid attention from people around me. “Embrace, Mom, embrace us. Embrace life, embrace the moment. Walk, move, do not stop, walk through it.” He said again.
The pain increased. Now it was intolerably difficult to keep moving. Usually at this point, I would stop moving.
“Mom,” the voice of my son and his energy enwrapped me. “Mom, focus, focus, and embrace, embrace, and embrace pain, loss, failure, tears, grief. Embrace your life with all that is. Keep moving. Do not stop.”
He was leading me upright to the next moment and then to another moment. With my best efforts, I was following his voice.
Not yet fully understanding what it all meant, I kept on moving and moving and moving. Do not ask me how I was able to keep moving. Till this day, I don’t know. I just did. It was as if I was breaking through the wall or something.
Don’t know. The pain was excruciating. The physical pain and the emotional pain and any other pain there is were just simply excruciating. But you see, I could not stop, I could not fail my son.
I had to trust him. I had to follow his lead. I had to! Do you understand?
I had to. It was bigger than just me. In that moment, in that pain, it was my son and me, together. So I kept moving, if not for me, for my son. I had to keep moving for us.
One, two, three, four, and again . . . one, two, three, four . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . I kept on moving.
Suddenly the pain left me, and an incredible sense of peace washed over my heart and soul. It was a sense of calmness and peace that I did not feel since my son’s shift. I also noticed that my movement became free and effortless. The struggles stopped. For that day, for that moment, there were no more struggles.
The following several days, I was trying to understand and integrate what happened. How are “the fight for your life” directions different from the “embrace your life” message?
So how’s “embrace your life” different from Zero Degree of Deviation? And what is so special about the notion of “embracing one’s life” that was not there before in our conversations? And “why” it was so important to change my body position for horizontal to vertical?
What was I missing in my process? Our process? I focused on meditating on the semantics of words, trying to grasp the deeper meaning of it. There must be a reason, I thought, “why” for all these years, my son was telling me over and over again, “Hold my hand. Do not let go.”
There must also be a reason “why” when people around kept telling me, “Get over it,” it felt so wrong for me.
Then one day, the moment of AHA arrived. Suddenly it dawned on me that embracing something not only means accepting what it is but holding on to it very tightly with love. It is about not wanting something different, not wishing for something else.
It is not about wishing away our lives. No. No. No. It is about grabbing it, grasping it, receiving it with love and trust. It is not about letting go of something or someone. Not about rejecting it.
It is about making it your own. Protecting it with all your heart. It is just as a hug. The hug by which we hold our children.
There is no getting over. Getting over “what”? Our children? Our loved ones? There is only embracing, integrating, and treasuring and loving it.
The truth is that who and what we love should never be let go. Who and what we love will always remain the best part of us. We must learn to love not because of something but regardless of.
Regardless of what we are faced with or what is given to us and/or taken from us. Against all odds, we still must love our lives with all our heart and all our soul.
That is true love, the learned love and the earned love. And without true love, there is no embracing. And there is no embracing without love.
The New Dawn is the Embracement of Life in Gratitude, Truth, and Kindness by an Unbroken Essence within each of us. To the New Dawn we shall be lead upright in our soul and our heart!