Marika’s pursuit of happiness has transformed her overall health and well-being. She is facing life’s challenges and gained an understanding of the importance of connecting with others as part of this process. Marika is learning to find peace within by focussing on her journey, not the destination.
Happiness comes from within. Your career, your relationships, your appearance, your finances, none of it matters.
For the longest time, I was baffled by the notion of “loving myself”. I just didn’t get it.
On the outside, my life was great! I had a wonderful husband, a successful career, took fabulous vacations and so on. However, I loathed myself. I always felt I was not enough. I felt like a walking, talking imposter in my own life! I was depressed and extremely anxious. My whole body ached. It was as if my soul was crying out for me to stop and take care.
And so, I stopped. I left work to work on myself.
In this time, I have seen doctors, a naturopath, worked with therapists, attended group therapy, and, gratefully, I discovered the transformative power of yoga. Despite doing “all the right things”, I continued to struggle with my mental health. It was exhausting. I was tired, and I even felt suicidal at times. I took a hard look at my life, and I decided that I would quit drinking.
Cutting out alcohol was harder than I thought it would be, but it is not impossible. In fact, it is THE best thing I have done for myself! I feel so much better, not only physically, but emotionally. I am learning a lot about myself and uncovering the sources of my depression and anxiety. I am on a journey of healing; the only way past this darkness is to go through it.
Being vulnerable is not easy for me, but to heal, I need to let others in. I have learned it is okay to feel. Vulnerability is not a sign of my weakness but is a sign of my humanity. I am learning to love myself by truly taking care of myself, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Finding happiness is not about perfection but about progress and growing.
Time-lapse forward, ONE YEAR.
Looking back, I see my greatest act of self-love is when I finally surrendered to my broken state and asked for help. It was dark; I felt wounded, and I was lost. I have learned that out of this darkness comes light.
To begin to heal, I have had to be honest, open and willing to delve deep into my psyche. It is hard work. I am unpacking WHY and HOW I fell into such a state of deep sorrow.
One of the most significant lessons I have learned on my healing journey is how important it is to connect with others. I have met weekly with individuals and in groups; we talk, we listen, and we share our experiences. At first, I was fearful and quiet, but I have grown to feel safe in these spaces. I know that I can say anything because I am being supported. It took time, but I can now open-up and show my most raw and human self. By opening myself up, my vulnerability has helped to bridge my life-experiences and my feelings with those of others. I have found ease and comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Sharing with others has helped me better understand how my past has impacted me, and I continue to work through its long-term effects on me.
I spent decades trying to escape grief, pain, and fear.
I was trying to escape from myself.
I was perpetually weighted down by the chains of lack: lack of self-worth, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, and I was filled with self-pity. I am learning to manage my depression and anxiety. This is a daily practice. Even so, at times I have found myself skidding sideways in fear or slipping into the dark. However, I now have a growing ‘tool-box’ of coping skills and behavioural strategies to call on. I have gained a deeper understanding of what I need and what I can do to help support myself. It feels good to know that I am more emotionally balanced and better equipped to deal with life of life’s terms.
Day-by-day, I know I am healing and growing. I am beginning to find genuine beauty in who I am. The darkness is making way for light, for colour. Some days I feel I need a time-lapsed film to see more clearly how I am changing in this process. At times it is painfully slow, but I am moving through the shame and pain. This is where the healing happens.
I am growing, and beauty can arise from within.
WATCH ME BLOSSOM.
Watch me unfurl and be as the new growth emerges in the spring.
This past year has also brought amazing opportunities for me to reconnect with my creativity. This is a part of myself that got lost some time ago, left in the dark. However, I have welcomed back the artist and the writer with open arms! I am trying new things like: pottery, playing with layers of colourful inks and wax on paper, printmaking, art journaling, photography and writing poetry and prose in my journals. A lot of my work has reflected and been a means of self-expression, self-exploration and healing. Most importantly, it has just brought me so much joy. I have been reacquainted with a part of myself in new and exciting ways, and it feels like a home coming. There is a flow of energy and the ability to get lost in time and to just be. Me.
Breathe it in,
the fresh forest air.
The grasses at the forefront
Obscure the lapping lake.
The dusky tree-line under the ink, blue sky features a new constellation. ME.
I AM new to the night sky,
A beautiful arrangement that one cannot always spot.
Given time, the right lighting,
and the necessary circumstances,
I WILL shine bright for all to see.
I AM the constellation in the darkness that shines when no one is looking.
I WILL show you just how brilliant I am.
Pausing in a moment, I may close my eyes, then take a breath. I focus on my in breath and my out breath and say to myself, ‘Wherever I am right now is where I am meant to be” This has helped me almost daily.
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