Thrown Outside of Normal: Reflections from My Healing Journey
I’m excited and honored to bring you a weekly tip from my guest, Dr. Michelle Robin! I hope you enjoy this opportunity to read and learn from her healing journey.
The summer of 2015, I was thrown outside of my normal when my bike and I were on the losing end of a car versus bike collision. I had to slow down in all aspects of my life, but that gave me more time for reflection.
Empathy is powerful.
I’ve always thought of myself to be empathetic to others’ pain, circumstances, or struggles, particularly with my patients. My own pain, circumstances, and struggles in recent months have given me new insights, understandings, and empathy at a depth that, frankly, I’m not sure I could have reached without directly having had these experiences. The ongoing pain, the inability to do anything for myself, having to rely on others for everything; the shift from no mobility to use of a wheelchair, then walker, then cane – all of this and a million tiny examples I couldn’t begin to list have deepened my empathy for others with similar experiences. I at least knew I was getting better, that this was a temporary scenario. Many live with chronic pain, or will always require help, and may never walk. I’m not suggesting that we pity them; they wouldn’t want that either. There is always a blessing in our circumstances and they do not define who we are as people. I am, however, acknowledging the grace we give ourselves and others when we cultivate and express true empathy.
The body is amazing.
One of the reasons I love what I do is that I get to witness how phenomenal the human body is. The body’s innate intelligence and ability to heal is an incredible thing to watch and experience. I’ve had to really tune into my body, listen to what it needed, and then provide it and get out of the way. That wasn’t always easy. I wanted to push it, especially as the pain began to subside and my mobility improved. Don’t we all do that? We start to feel better and then act as if we’re fully healed. But we’re not yet healed. We’re healing, still. There were a couple times I pushed it, and my body let me know it. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs. It will take care of the rest.
Have a positive perspective.
I do appreciate the efforts and care I have received from my traditional medical team. However, I often felt a little depressed whenever I left their offices. Their training is to operate from a worst case scenario perspective, to give patients caution. They’re intending to keep things realistic, not give false hope, and cover their bases by sharing the negative possibilities. I understand the intent. I prefer to start with reality and then focus on the positive possibilities, all the ways I can and will get better, and the specific actions I can take to move in that direction. Positivity is motivating, creates action and in turn allows progress. That’s my jam.
Lean into your faith.
I don’t speak directly about it very often, but my faith is at my core. I am continuously nurturing my soul and communion with God. I find great comfort, encouragement, and confirmation when I’m in prayer and meditation. My faith has been critical in this healing process. It has helped me with acceptance, perspective, and strength, as well as literally having faith that I will heal. I encourage anyone to not just lean on their faith, but into it, allowing the love to envelope you and bless you with all you need.
Health is a priority.
Yep, you’d think I’d have this lesson covered before now. I did too. I was pretty good at getting exercise in most days, eating well, getting my sleep, hydration and supplements. I’ve been blessed to be very healthy by the typical standards. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t been so healthy then my injuries may have been worse and the healing may be even longer. Yet, this journey has reminded me that my health must be my first priority. That when I’m tempted to skip a workout and take a meeting instead, or work through a weekend in lieu of downtime, I’m not only doing a disservice to myself, but harming my health. Health is your energy source, the engine that powers your life, and the armor that allows you to keep moving if you take a hit. Without it you are limited, weak and exposed. That sounds harsh, but it is true. So I am recommitted to make my health and wellbeing the priority, always. When I’m healthy and well I can be and do my best for myself and others. That’s the me I strive to be.
I encourage you to look at how these reflections may apply to your life. Where or with whom can you be more empathetic? How can you listen to your body (download my Body Talk assessment) and give it what it needs? Where can you shift your perspective to the positive and focus on possibility? Lean into your faith. Make your health and wellbeing the priority so that you have the ability to show up fully for your life.
Dr. Michelle Robin is an author, podcast host, international speaker, and Founder and CWO of Your Wellness Connection, P.A. She is the author of “The E Factor: Engage, Energize, Enrich – Three Steps to Vibrant Health, Wellness on a Shoestring: Seven Habits for a Healthy Life,” and co-author of the No. 1 bestseller “Succeeding In Spite of Everything.” Dr. Robin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.drmichellerobin.com, and as Dr. Michelle Robin on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.