As the sun streams through the window in my room, I smile. Yes! I now have my own room, three little words that light up my face. My room is painted in olive green and has plants, twinkly lights, a hanging egg chair with fluffy cushions and box files relating to my interests. I have three so far; writing, acting and palmistry. I have some mellow Tibetan tunes on and I’m writing. It has taken me a long time to get to this point and I’ve used a huge amount of resources to get me here, but I’ve done it and to say I feel empowered and enlightened is an understatement. I feel euphoric.
I started my journey almost a year ago to the day when my back started playing up. It gradually got worse with severe sciatica grounding me to a halt. I couldn’t drive, work or even go on holiday! The daily jobs that defined me, stopped. I was barely a mother or a wife. I was bored, angry and felt like a total hindrance. As ever, a side effect of this was guilt.
To cope with the pain I dug out my (never read) ‘Mindfulness for Women’ book. I read it cover to cover and started to realise that maybe some emotional issues were the root cause of my pain. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and here I was with nothing to do but find myself. I was in for a shock! I read the question “What would you like to achieve by this time next year?” I cried. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t think of anything. The next task was to take this goal and imagine it 3 years on. I cried some more and as I desperately tried to think of something, the more apparent it became that I was defined by my children and husband. I had a lot of work to do and began a journey of exploration into what makes my soul happy.
My newly found thirst for mindfulness lead me to Karen Brody’s book ‘Daring to Rest’, (I recommend this book to every woman I meet, it really has changed my life). It gave me permission to think about me. It’s nobody’s fault that I haven’t done this before now. I’m the one that put up the constraints, but now I was being actively encouraged to spend time on myself, something that previously would have made me feel selfish and guilty. The 40-day challenge encouraged me to listen for my soul whispers. I found this incredibly difficult at first, it felt so alien and didn’t have any of the words cooking, shopping or cleaning in them! With practice, I slowly learnt that the family home wouldn’t collapse if I spent 20 minutes meditating. The hardest part was putting that activity at the top of my list, before hanging the washing out or starting tea. I began to realise that I was actually teaching my children a valuable lesson; the importance of spending time just being at one with yourself. I had a new mantra; respect yourself and others will respect you more.
On the 40th day, I felt like I had been rebooted both emotionally and physically. I was booked in for a microdiscectomy but gradually over the next few months my pain reduced and I began to plan out a new path. I joined a writing group, started volunteering at my local community radio station and began a palmistry course. And here I am in my own room reaping the rewards of self-reflection. I have so many goals now, I’m worried I won’t have time to achieve them all but I’m certainly going to give it a go.