One of the things that fibromyalgia stole from me, that I miss the most, is walking my dog every morning. I love the feel of the earth in the morning, and how that’s amplified by the pure joy my dog expresses when he’s out and about.
Reclaiming the treasure fibromyalgia stole from me
I walked my dog this morning for the second time this month. I’m loving the sense of accomplishment this gives me, because it’s one of the treasures I reclaimed from fibro. It’s a far cry from my old routine of walking him daily, but it’s something I’ve accepted, just for today.
You see, I live with fibromyalgia. I’ve done so for many years even though in the earlier years I relied on denial as my management strategy. I pretended there was nothing wrong, ignored my body and “pushed through”.
There were days when I was definitely a member of the Walking Dead and contributed to the ranks of presenteeism*. But I was a working mum and I felt like if I stopped, I’d never start again.
Fibromyalgia would no longer be denied!
Willpower took me a long way, until suddenly, without warning, it didn’t.
The crash came after I left my corporate job and seven years into my business. Oh, there were plenty of other things going on before the crash, even some mini-crashes, some of these stories I’ve shared elsewhere (in these books, in fact) but the final crash came when willpower couldn’t get me out of bed in the morning.
I stopped walking the dog.
I stopped doing a lot of things for quite a while, extended by a bout of COVID in 2021.
This year I feel a change. I can feel my stamina returning. I can feel lightness in my body when I dance. I feel able again to meet my dog’s need for activity and stimulation. I can see how much he’s missed his daily walks and I feel able to give that joy back to him.
I’ve reclaimed enough reserve and physical strength to walk the dog again, even though it’s not every day—yet! But twice this month—that’s a win because it means I’ve had the:
- energy and the motivation to go for a walk
- frame of mind to enjoy the dog’s happiness
- awareness to feel the restorative powers of being outside and moving my body.
That’s in addition to what I’d normally do in seeing clients 4 days a week; being a mum to 4 young women; dancing twice a week; teaching periodically on weekends; as well as socialising every now and then.
Fibro took everything
I’m telling you this because I want to share with you how I reached this point, because I know what it’s like to have to say no to everything all the time. I know what it’s like to see your world shrinking and to be alone in your own space more often than you’d like.
Life with fibro, or any other chronic illness, is unpredictable. You just never know from day to day how you’ll feel, whether you’ll have the energy to follow through on your commitments, or whether you’ll even be able to get out of bed.
This world of shrinking horizons and isolated loneliness isn’t the end of the story.
It’s the start of a new chapter: one that involves truly understanding your limitations, accepting and honouring what those limitations require for the time being, and then gently inviting expansion into the picture.
How to reclaim what fibromyalgia stole
Expansion has nothing to do with force, rather it’s a gentle invitation for change to enter and for you to willingly embrace it by actively engaging in:
- A perspective shift
- Experimenting with nutrition
- Devotional practices
- Physical movement
- Body connection
- Celebrating each and every win, in the really little ones like hanging out a load of washing without being in excruciating pain.
Each of these ingredients is needed for the alchemy of change you’re looking for. The synergy of them together is what creates expansion in you and in your world—softly, easily, like an in-breath of pure joy.
*Presenteeism is a term usually associated with workplaces and productivity, essentially this is the concept that you’re physically present but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, you’re not.