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Ina's Blog

Finding Oneself Anew

The past several months have been life shifting for me and my husband and we’ve been pushed onto an unfamiliar path. I believe this is what is meant by the curve balls of life! I’ve had curve balls, but not quite like this. This time I thought, “Wait. I’ve been in the flow of a life that I’ve liked, and I have plans”. Then I was faced with the reality that the flow needed to change. Many of my plans are not only on hold, but may also never materialize, or at least will not occur in the way I imagined. I know that many of you know this curve ball story in your own lives. At some point all of us have these life-changing moments.

You may be asking what’s happened to have me almost disappear. My husband has been struggling with health issues for the past few years and has been in and out of the hospital in that time. This year he’s already been hospitalized twice, so far. Both times I almost lost him. And both times have affected his body in debilitating ways. That’s the curve ball that’s been thrown into our lives, the curve ball that has shifted time and priorities, the meaning of love and community, and the shifting of what was solid ground. I put most everything on hold not knowing what the outcome would be for him, for me, for us, and where the path may lead. I needed to re-prioritize much of my life and move more deeply into a journey to re-evaluate what was important to me. I knew that I needed to stop and think seriously about the practicalities of what was needed to keep our household going, to care for my husband and to care for myself. This brought me smack-dab to the present moment. It was all I had. My m.o. is to be in the past and future. I am super good at projecting into the future! Oddly, none of that mattered. Only the present moment was important, and still is. And even with everything that was happening, I asked myself how I could make the most out of each moment. How could I make each moment count?

Perhaps the best example of my thought process is from a Ted Lasso episode (adore this show!) in which a street performer was singing “Hey Jude”. One line that the characters focused on was – “Take a sad song and make it better.” This is a perfect way to express my desire to make the most out of each moment. In this very scary and uncertain situation, I have asked myself what I can make better. What can I learn about myself? What can I learn about letting go? About letting in? Where is there joy in my life? Where is there love in my life? What can I open to during this time?

To get to the answers to those questions and so many more that have come up in these last 8 months, I’ve turned to all of the practices that have been so important for my well-being over the years – various modes of meditation, the expanse of energy/spiritual work, and my incredible SoulCollage® work. Oh, and therapy in between. This is really the first time in my life that it’s so obvious that practicing all of these modalities over the years has helped me to swiftly access their wisdom. When trouble started, I dropped right in day after day, sometimes hour after hour and minute after minute in those frightening moments when the news was not good and our life together flashed before me. These practices became my constant companions, keeping me connected to myself, offering self-compassion, self-kindness, nurturing and, yes, inner joy. Their effects reminded me that I can still be in the flow of life and that I am ok no matter what. I knew I was supported in the energy and cradled in love on all planes.

Before I go too far on this theme, I want to share that in this very intense time and journey, I’ve had plenty of moments of anger, doubt, fear, even terror. I have absolutely asked, “Why us?”. We live a very ordinary life – going out to dinner, to the movies, a trip once a year – simple things. So why us? Why are such simple things taken away from us? It is so, so unfair. I tend to dismiss thoughts like this and not dwell on them because I don’t want to think negatively. The truth is that these thoughts are there. It’s healthy to acknowledge them, to name them. I’ve reminded myself that it’s human and natural for these thoughts to come up and not to judge these thoughts and hurts – really to embrace them rather than be a victim of them. With this last hospitalization and brush with death, I also let myself really feel my feelings. I let myself cry and let go of trying to be strong at every moment for my husband. I let him see me cry. I let him hold me. Turns out it was just as important to him to see me raw.

That’s the power of these practices that we engage in year after year. When I did work with all the amazing practices and energies, there were themes that arose, mainly around perspective, choice, birthing, and being in flow. I don’t know about you, but when I’m really up against it, I tend to be very guarded, closed off, in fear, and not wanting to open up my energy. I’m sure it’s a self-preservation reaction – the sense that I need to hold on, hold myself together, and prepare for the worst. But the energetic tools I worked with just did not let me do that! In meditation I relaxed and connected with my body and my heart – confirming this was possible even during this heart-wrenching time. My energetic and SoulCollage® cards pushed me to consider that I could see a different perspective, to let myself be in all of my emotions (and I wouldn’t collapse under the weight), that life could still be joyful in those moments when I got to just be with my husband and when loved ones connected with me and were there wholeheartedly, sending loving messages, calling, texting, and bringing me flowers and food.

I hope that sharing this experience helps you in some way with any struggles you may be experiencing. Sometimes when we read or hear familiar themes it can help us to see what we may need or how we may see the situation in a different light. One thing I can say for sure, keep practicing your self-nurturing practices and practices that have been supportive for you in the past, even in the best of times. You will be grateful you took the time to nurture yourself.