Eye of the Tornado

Patience is something I learned more about in the past year than I ever wanted. It was forced on me. I tried adamantly to resist it. I fought it until there was no more fight in me. Patience is not a natural tendency for me. I credited much of my success to date with my lack of patience. My environment and circumstances bred something in me that I never anticipated. I was a make-it-happen kind of girl. When I wanted to get something, I would find a way. When something needed doing, I was never too proud to do it.

This past year, my body failed me and made it impossible to maintain my make-it-happen ways. It was the scariest and darkest time in my life. I would get slightly ahead, then get thrown back farther than when I started. I lost my livelihood. I lost my home. I lost friends. I lost my possessions. I lost my ability to make things happen. I lost me. I became unrecognizable to myself. Everything I had taken for granted in myself, I questioned. I didn’t know what would happen within each day let alone a week, month, or year in advance.

My life came to a stand still as I plowed head first into a virtual brick wall. I could feel everything spinning around me in a big, dirty mess of a tornado. I was helpless to do anything about anything. When the tornado started, I had no clarity. All I could see was the dirt and getting tossed around. I didn’t realize where I sat in the whole mess. All I could do was feel shame and blame myself. It took months before I started to see that I was in the eye of the tornado. It got to a point where all I could do was let go and observe. Clarity eventually came and I was able to see what happened was something inevitable, biological, and blameless.  I finally stopped trying to be in control of everything around me.

This clarity gave way to patience. I stopped trying to be a superhero for myself and everyone around me. I started asking for help. I stopped pushing so hard. I started being kinder to myself. I stopped feeling sadness. I started seeing the silver linings of my illness. Just as quickly as the day the warning signs of the illness became a full-blown brick wall, I was able to realize the patience I had sorely lacked. That patience helped me understand that this illness was not something I could push through. I was going to have to find a different way than what I had used in my past as that was not an option.

This gain of patience changed me. It was provoked by my worst nightmare. Yet, I have almost made it to the other side. There are still struggles everyday and it will be a while yet before that ends. I tell you all this to strengthen you. I see young people bullishly pushing so hard like I did. I don’t know that what I have learned can be taught. I think it has to be experienced. To have that type of transformation, it has to come from some massive revelation which often comes from massive challenge. When you hit that brick wall in your life and you feel like you will never make it out of that challenge, take a few steps back. Sit in the discomfort and try to observe the tornado from within. Once you can put yourself at the eye of the tornado, you can start to see the whole picture and realize what it was all about.

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