Little did I know, but my reading of Daring Greatly pairs well with my focus on stronger heart. Much of this project, Down in Flames is about surviving and growing from what didn’t kill you. It’s about creation from destruction, taking the ashes from before and using them to sketch out new possibilities.
If I’d suffered a serious physical injury, this is where I’d describe the difficulty in learning to readjust to life. Instead, I’ll ask that you think of paralympians and the other incredible success stories of those with physical limits. Or, consider the refugees you hear about who’re already changing the world. One such survivor of terrorism and war just one the Nobel Peace Prize. If that tells you anything about the importance of strengthening your heart, I don’t know what else will.
These people have struggles I’ve never experienced, and will hopefully never have to. You can’t predict the sharp twists and turns of life, so you keep yourself open to anything and everything. This seems counterintuitive, but developing a strong cor means hard work and risk taking.
As I’ve said, I’m no paralympian or Nobel Laureate, but a person with her own struggles, too. Most of these come from within my own head and heart. I’m blessed that my ailments are are fleeting and mostly invisible (e.g. exceptions are my open-book face, tears). I’m blessed in that it makes people think I’m stronger than I feel. In turn, I’m inspired to believe and act accordingly.
I’ve called my ailments demons, shadows, and other poetic obscurities. Brown called them gremlins. These are just metaphors for depression, shame, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Sometimes, it’s only a once-a-month sort of fight. Other times, it can last days or weeks. The worst I’ve ever had was over a year, maybe longer. These aren’t usually things you keep accurate, chronological account of. The time’s usually tracked experientially, so things tend to jumble.
I mention mental health as it’s the biggest, ongoing struggle I’ve had. If you couldn’t tell, my writing usually comes from a personal place. I use language and story to shed light on my inner darkness, occasionally revealing relatable truths.
Strengthening my heart is important for who I am and who I dream to be. I took a hiatus after burning myself out last year. I was at a point where I called into question my innate gifts and vocation. I’ve always had empathy and compassion within me, but wondering if my heart was strong enough to bear counsel was a sign. It was a sign I needed to work out the kinks in my soul.
In this break, I’ve been growing spiritually, emotionally, and socially. All of these seem from my deep love for life. Of course, I have my limits, but I’m always looking to expand d them as much as I can.
I’ve learned to be open. Do something that makes you want to get up every day. Don’t let your flaws define you. Forgive yourself and love yourself for the good and bad. If you’re unhappy with who you are, change what you’re doing.
Make something that helps you feel life’s energy. Creation is one of the most human and divine things you can do. Use your past as the canvas, plot twist, drumbeat, punchline of your next creation.