By Lynn Lombard
Mindfulness: “Being conscious or aware of something; focusing one's awareness on the present moment, especially as part of a therapeutic or meditative technique.”
On New Year’s Eve last year, a friend asked our group to come up with one word we wished for ourselves in 2017. Immediately, I heard the answer loud and clear: mindfulness. It was a term that had found its way into my daily path several times that year. Deep down, I knew that I needed to make a positive change in my life, and I believed that being more aware of my present would surely be a start.
I began the year by counting all of my blessings: a supportive husband, two beautiful daughters, solid relationships with family and friends, and a job I enjoyed. I had my health and the health of my loved ones. I was thankful for the house that we lived in, the food on the dinner table and our closets full of clothes.
During this period of being appreciative, I recognized that it wasn’t so much my present that was causing havoc on my emotions but the days already behind me. Yes, I needed to be more mindful, but I also needed to reflect on my past as well.
Though I was certainly grateful to be able to wake up each morning to experience a new day, not all days were good ones. Some days I would walk around in a haze of what I dubbed “hormonal funks,” suffocating with the weight of life on my chest. I would allow trivial things that were said or done to upset me. I would obsess. I would want to change things clearly out of my control. I’d feel anxious and alone.
After journaling, meditating and discussing my angst with others, I finally realized that though I live a happy life, there were traumas from my past which left marks on my mental and emotional being – happenings I moved on from but never fully recovered from.
I had an awesome childhood, but the loss of my mother at an early age caused a lasting scar. In fact, I am still feeling the aftereffects of her demise. Part of who I am began to develop the day we buried Mom, and the innocent child I once was disappeared. I grew up with a strength I have now realized was far less stable than I thought.
And while I have two healthy daughters I wouldn’t give up for anything, it didn’t erase the damage of delivering twin babies who never had the chance of survival. That kind of ache cut to my very core, but I repressed it because we live in a world where we brush it off, suck it up and get over it.
This year of awakening has allowed me to take a step back and finally begin to rip off the Band-Aids covering up my “boo boos.” Though it has been freeing, I also find myself conflicted and confused. How can I feel loss, pain and regret when there is so much joy in my present? Is it possible to feel sad and happy at the same time?
I’ve come to conclusion that yes, it is possible. Not just possible, but it’s OK! So instead of acting as if all of my memories are happy, I have accepted that I have painful ones, too. And that doesn’t make me weak; it makes me more aware of who I was, who I am and who I want to become.
My bruises are all part of my story. And this year, I’m ready for the next chapter.
Lynn Lombard made a point of making a positive change.