I made it. For the past two weeks I’ve had my children back in my loving arms. It occurred to me to share the story of our reunion. But, I can sum that up in one word – blissful. So, I sit here in my nest, which feels warm, secure, and richly complete with two little bodies snug in their beds.

Instead, tonight, I’ve found myself reflecting on my own inner journey over the seven weeks that they were gone. I’m trying to take an accounting of what I’ve accomplished, and the most rewarding things I can point to took place internally – deep inside the narrow, winding maze of passageways in my mind.

When the kids left I can only describe my mental state as being akin to “trigger finger.” My poor body and mind were on such high alert that the slightest unexpected news which might be construed as bad sent me into mental fits. Me, a lover of world news and events, had gotten to where I didn’t read my beloved New York Times in the morning. I had shut out the world of news as it was overload to what I had to deal with in my life.

I should back up for a moment. In the prior nine months, my youngest son, who just turned 6, had developed asthma. In that time he’d endured five or six illnesses requiring many emergency visits and sleepless nights applying a nebulizer so he could breathe.  By the time late spring came around we’d taken a train ride to Seattle to see specialists and I was ever vigilant. The slightest cough or runny nose and I went into “battle mode.”

Without knowing it, I’d lost control of my thought process. I’d let worry control my mind and permeate all of my thoughts. My poor body, in response, had nothing to do with this information. So, I’d begun to suffer from anxiety. I spent many winter nights, curled up in my bed, heart pounding, feeling isolated and alone, with prayer as my only security net. But, even the Holy Mother, could not give me the solace I needed.

No, what I needed, I discovered was a break from the 24 x 7 responsibility of child-raising. I needed that time to realize that I’d let my thoughts run amuck and that I’d given my body no outlet for my thoughts. Without the children here, I began to recognize the irrational nature of my thoughts and slowly I began to reign them in. But, it took work, and I read something that really helped. It was such simple advice, but the most helpful I ever read. It said, “Your mind can only truly concentrate on one thought at a time.” And, I took that and ran with it, slowly replacing every worry, every unnerving thought with peaceful, calming, secure thoughts.

I also gave my body the outlet that it needed. I began a workout program in earnest, pushing myself until exhaustion so that my body had something to do with my anxious energy. I became addicted to the calm after a workout, and the peace that permeated my body because it’d been given an opportunity to transform that anxious energy and release it. I’ve always been a runner for that very reason, but being a single mom with a sick boy, you don’t have the luxury of heading out for a run. So, all winter my body had not had an outlet for my anxious, dire thoughts.

This process took weeks and the transformation was subtle. But, one day, I found myself going to the New York Times and diving into the headlines again, ravenous for world news. When the headlines appeared on my Yahoo browser or CNN, I didn’t immediately flip away from them; instead I read them with compassion and empathy, but not with irrational fear.  When I crawled into bed at night, I let go of my worry, releasing it in prayer and slept soundly.

Through this process, I found a peace that has remained, a peace that permeates not only me, but this house and my children. It is a gift that I am able to give to them and I am grateful. I’ve always believed in the healing power of the mind and body, as well as the interconnectedness. The journey I made over the course of seven weeks convinced me of how deep this connection is. So, while the time away from my children was unbearable at times, it also was necessary for my own healing.

I can now say that I have let go of fear and worry; as any mother will tell you – both, significant accomplishments.  Peace be with you.

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