“All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am. So many stories of where I've been and how I got to where I am.” – Brandi Carlile
A few weeks ago I shared with you about my struggle with infertility. Though I have moved past it in many ways, the scars on my belly are a constant reminder of my 8 surgeries – 6 for ‘treatment' of the endometriosis that caused my infertility.
When I look in the mirror at my belly, I see scars marring my otherwise unmarked skin. Flaws on nature's design.
But a simple conversation with my boyfriend led me to a powerful reminder: My scars tell my story but they don't define who I am.
Like the lines upon my face, my scars are more battle scars than defects. They symbolize my strength, my perseverance, and my ultimate triumph over my endometriosis. They represent not a loss of the ability to bear a child, but the gift of getting my menstrual cycles back after entering menopause for 9 years at the age of 26, the gift of my feminine nature, and the incredibly powerful ability of my body to heal itself. So maybe I should consider them beauty marks instead of battle scars.
Most importantly, my scars remind me to take care of myself, something I have been neglecting lately.
And this realization led me back to one of my ‘bibles’ of women’s wisdom: Sara Avant Stover ‘s The Way of the Happy Woman. In it, she encourages all women to make an Absolute Yes list and an Absolute No list. On your Absolute Yes list you should put everything that makes you a stronger, better person. Things you truly don’t want to live without. The Absolute No list contains things that weaken, irritate, and lead you away from who you know you really are.
For example, my Absolute Yes list is:
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night
- Eat nourishing, home-cooked food every day
- Daily yoga practice
- Daily meditation – morning and night
- Go outside every day
- Exercise (or do some sort of movement) every day
- Read for pleasure every day
- Get a massage at least twice a month
- Unplug at 6pm every night
- Take at least one whole day off each week to play and have fun
- Daily gratitude practice
My Absolute No list says:
- No checking email until after 8am
- Minimize eating out as I can make more nourishing foods at home
- No squelching my feelings
- No putting other things in front of my me time
- No checking email more than a few times a day or zoning out on my iPad or internet for more than 30 min at a time
- No eating when I’m anxious or upset
I made this list almost two years ago. My life was very different back then, yet my Absolute Yeses and Nos really haven’t changed that much. I still struggle with items on both lists, but I think having them visible helps keep them in the forefront. Time to print them out and hang them up! Or better yet, let my scars serve as a reminder that I am worth honoring my Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists. That when I don’t, I only end up creating more ‘scars.’ And while I strive to wear my scars proudly, I’d prefer not to have experienced the pain that caused my scars in the first place. You see, my scars are but leftover reminders of past Cosmic 2x4s the Universe felt I needed to receive to learn whatever lesson that ignoring my Absolute Yeses and Nos caused. Valuable lessons learned.
What stories do your scars tell? And how are they connected to ignoring your Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists?