When I was a small child one of my favorite books was “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Marjory Williams. There is a passage when Rabbit is talking to the wise old Skin Horse about what being real means. Rabbit expresses his concern over whether or not becoming real hurts. Skin horse replies, “Sometimes.” for Skin Horse is always truthful. Then the Skin Horse says the following to Rabbit:
This small passage has been sitting in my heart since I was seven years old. The first time I read these words they made me cry. As I sit here almost 35 years later having experienced deep love, crushing heartache, immeasurable loss, and the most life changing joy and gratitude, I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my skin as I let the words sink in again. You become.
We really aren’t all that different, you and I. Our stories shape us. They allow us to become…
When my youngest child was 18 months old I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My excellent physicians at an award winning university medical center said that there wasn’t really anything they could do to help me and prescribed medication after medication to help manage my pain, and debilitating fatigue. I was 28 years old and the life I had “planned” was crumbling around me. One day I finally had enough of all the doctors visits. I stopped taking all my medications. I sought out complementary and alternative medicine. I made significant dietary changes. I learned how to manage my stress. I learned self-care. Four years later I considered myself fully healed.
A few years later my life took a 90 degree turn to the left and I found myself in a foreign country with two young children and questioning everything I had become. The Universe was screaming at me to do something. To DO SOMETHING!
My something turned out to be changing careers. That’s not to say I left the art world behind me (that’s another post!). I simply put it on the back burner to simmer away and decided to go back to school. I won’t bore you with the details, but after many sacrifices made by beloved family and friends, I graduated at the top of my class and pursued a career in Integrative Medicine as a manual therapist. I started off as a teaching assistant and then moved into seeing clients in a physical therapy practice, started very small private practice, and then became a clinical specialist in integrative medicine at a large teaching hospital. I left my ego at the door and let my clients and my patients become my mentors. I am now 4 years into my new career and it is shaping who I am becoming as a person. It is teaching me compassion. It is teaching me empathy. It is teaching me kindness. It is teaching me love. I am learning how to speak and live my truth.
I am becoming.
This is just a tiny part of my story; it is the beginning of my Sādhanā.
What is your story?