When I heard his voice on the phone, my hand flew to my mouth involuntarily. Like I was trying to catch the gasp that wanted to escape. It was him, but also not him. His voice was slurred and muffled, as if it was coming from under water. Tears sprang to my eyes and I struggled to keep them out of my voice. I knew the stroke had affected his voice but hearing it was shocking and like a punch in my gut. My "baby" brother was still here but would he ever fully return?
Life can change in an instant
It’s funny how things happen. I had just had two weeks holiday so I was feeling positive and more myself than I had in the longest time. In fact I’d realised just how depleted I’d accidentally become. So when my brother had his stroke on the very last night of my break, I felt a weird surge of relief that I was in such a strong place.
The human brain is amazing
It’s been nearly 3 weeks since that call and every minute of the day my brother’s brain has been busily rewiring. Neuroplasticity means that the clot which damaged the language centre in his brain is slowly being accommodated, repaired and worked around. His brain is slowly finding ways to adapt and get back to full function. Reconnecting. Reshaping. Each day he finds a little bit more of himself restored. And each day he stumbles against the limits that didn’t used to be there. It’s humbling and heartbreaking in equal measure as he is staying with me for his recovery and I witness his journey.
The lessons in the Healing
As I watch him recover, I’m struck by the way we each have to go through this process when we want to change. This hardwired drive to recover and grow is within each of us. Often what stops us is not our physical limits but the limits of our minds. When we experience difficult times, it leaves a physical imprint in our body and mind, just as much as the emotional impact. So if this last 18 months has left you feeling somehow damaged or fragile, there’s so much hope. You’re literally made to adapt. You just need to know how to get through it.
The conditions to heal
We often think of change as needing effort. We try, we push, we make things happen. But the truth is that mostly we just need to create the right conditions to allow it to happen. Most of my brothers healing, for example, happens in the quiet spaces. In the times when he does nothing at all and allows his body to work on its own. So how can you create those conditions? Especially when life is busy and doesn’t necessarily give you lots of time?
A framework to heal and grow
If you know you have some healing to do right now (don't we all after this tumultuous period in the world?), here's 3 steps to help you create fertile conditions. 1. Tune in Tuning in to what your experiencing exactly as it is can be tricky. Most of the time we end up getting caught up in our thoughts about what’s happening instead: "I can’t do this" "This always happens to me" "How am I going to cope if xyz happens" Can you bring yourself back to what you’re experiencing in your senses instead? What can I see, touch, feel, hear, taste? That instantly brings you back into this moment. A meditation practice really helps you to cultivate this skill. But you can also do it in micro moments as you go through your day. Anytime you feel overwhelmed, close your eyes and tune in to the physical sensations of your body and the information you’re receiving. 2. Turn the Volume up It’s not enough to just tune in. You also need to turn the volume up on the subtle things. When you check in and notice what you’re experiencing, find the areas of tension or numbness. They are the spots that hold the clues to what’s really happening for you. Instead of trying to think your way into understanding how you feel, you can experience it in your body first. 3. Raise the Frequency If you have a radio that’s not tuned in, it makes that horrible scratchy interference sound. You can’t understand a thing and it’s both disorienting and unpleasant. In that moment it’s tempting to turn the damn thing off. But then you don’t get to hear the beautiful music that’s already playing. You are no different. There’s already a whole range of "stations" ready to play your perfect song. When you’re in harmony, it’s amazing what’s possible. Once you’ve tuned in and turned the volume up, allow yourself to hear the beauty. Practicing gratitude can really help with that. When you scan for what you’re grateful for, you literally change your frequency and begin to attract more of the good stuff to your life.
Ready for September
Perhaps you’re still in an August slowdown right now or frantically balancing work and family. It’s a funny month isn’t it? I feel like September is a bit like the new January, especially after this year. Giving us all a chance to recalibrate and decide how we want to be. I’m going to be hosting a series of free events to help you find your feet. Keep your eyes peeled and I’ll keep you posted! How good would it feel to ditch stress and overwhelm and feel great again? Take care in the meantime and don’t forget to drop me an email to let me know what you think.
Laura @ Be. x
"The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives." - Louise Hay