Years ago, I was an ultra-marathon runner with a healthy diet and no health complaints. After a few years in a stressful work environment, I developed an autoimmune disease triggered by stress. I also had chronic fatigue for three years, where I wasn’t able to work a full day, earn income or care for my family in the way I wanted to. It was catastrophic.
It took years to recover and I applied myself to healing in a variety of ways – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. I took the medication prescribed by my doctors, I changed my diet, I rearranged relationships to work better for me and I sought out many types of healers. I learnt to meditate and to treat myself with love and care, I implemented boundaries and I changed my career. In this process, I found my calling and became a writer. My burnout was the catalyst that I needed to correct a life that looked successful on the outside but it wasn’t a happy one.
When I look back, I’m so full of energy now and I have overcome a great deal. But I think along the way, I became fearful. I had to be so cautious with my energy for so long, that I became quite fragile. I do a lot of yoga now and it is a wonderful way to connect mind, body and soul. I haven’t run seriously since I got sick and I no longer see myself as a runner. I walk and sometimes take my youngest daughter along with me. We walk slowly near the river in my neighbourhood and we appreciate the butterflies and wildflowers.
Recently, I wanted to lose a little weight so I decided to run flat sections of my walking route. I realised that I’m so hesitant to run on the grass in case I hurt my ankle. I instantly identified this fear that holds me back in many more ways than my exercise. I made a conscious effort to run on the grass and to take the risk of getting injured. My thinking was that I would get stronger because my ankles would get used to the erratic terrain underneath it.
This seems to be a metaphor for my life now. I love writing but I’m hesitant to get involved in other projects. It’s fear that’s holding me back. When I really think about the risks of putting myself out there into the world, trying new partnerships and running on the grass, what’s the worst that could happen? I created a new mantra while running which is ‘Lose the Fear’. So what if I fall. I will recover because I’m young and strong. So what if the partnership doesn’t work out perfectly. I will gain lessons along the way that are valuable for future endeavours. So what if I get rejected. As long as I treat myself with love and I’m authentic about what I’m doing, it’s worth taking a few risks.