How I Practice Self-Renewal While Living With Epilepsy
February 3, 2020
What is self-renewal? In reflecting on this, it’s looking at life anew, or maybe even sewing the seeds of things that you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Self-renewal is all about reinvigorating yourself, refreshing your life and taking a look at things with a new zest and spark.
When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, that concept was foreign and beyond my grasp. I was held captive by my own sorrow, vexation and denial. This is not the life I wanted to pursue. This is not who I wanted to be. Ruled by my condition. Bound by my negative emotions.
Epilepsy entered into my life, and altered it but I eventually learned that as challenging and inconvenient this condition can be, it opened the door for self-renewal. Gave me pause to consider my existence for which I am much more thankful for.
Without hesitation, I give rise to self-renewal within my life regardless of my epilepsy.
Below are 5 ways that I practice self-renewal:
Reconnect with nature
I have always found solace and clarity when going to places of nature. A park, an arboretum, or even my backyard apple tree. Look around you and see if you can pick anything that symbolizes renewal. You might find tiny white flowers sprouting amongst a patch of vibrant green leaves, the harmonic cries of little birds somewhere off in the distance, the trickling sound of water in the nearby creek. Pause to appreciate the quality of newness that it invokes in you as you absorb it mind, body, and heart. Breathe in the newness and let it wash through your entire being. Feel a sense of rejuvenation and tranquility.
Modify those vibes
One of the quickest ways to modify those vibes is to express gratitude. Think of five things you’re grateful for right now. Write them down. Speak them aloud even. When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, my mind had become clouded and I couldn’t think of anything that led me forward; only held me back. To break through these clouds, I turned my attention to how I might feel if I didn’t have the things I have now.
If you can’t think of anything that you’re grateful for, you may be taking your treasures for granted.
Starting with our physical body – Vision. Imagine no longer having the ability to see. Those you love, the smiles on their face, this big beautiful colorful world, and even the tiniest to grandest of miracles that happen each day. Now how does it feel to have both your eyes and vision?
Do this for your limbs, organs, and senses. Then branch out to the people in your life, to all that’s around you, to the abundance in the world. As your appreciation grows, you will feel more and more renewed. Filling you with positive vibes.
Be a social butterfly
For the better part of my life, I’d been more of a shy, quiet and reserved individual. Part of the reason being, having been bullied. With epilepsy making itself a new tenant in my body, this reignited feelings of low self-esteem and self-consciousness from my childhood. At that time I knew no others with the condition and I felt like a black sheep in a sea of snow white sheep.
An important thing to place on our hearts is that we must undoubtedly love ourselves for who we are. To not let the negative opinions of others have any influence of how we feel about ourselves inwardly or outwardly. We are all flawed. Embrace those those flaws gladly. This became apparent to me once leaving school and much more apparent to me following my epilepsy diagnosis.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and speaking with people you don’t typically interact with can open your eyes to new experiences, enriching you in ways you might never expect. Join a local and/or social media group, or volunteer for a charity or project. Keep an open mind and who knows! You might just stumble upon some exciting sources of inspiration. You may even meet yourself in a new way. Taking that leap out of your comfort zone to mingle with new people can fill you to the brim with gratification, love and inspiration.
I found this to be immeasurably true, having forged countless friendships with individuals, those affected by epilepsy and other conditions. I watched as my talent for writing awoke and I began blogging my journey with epilepsy, and founding an epilepsy organization. I began pursuing and creating works of art that I never knew I could accomplish. I found my voice to speak my story. My meek voice can speak! All-in-all, stepping out of my comfort zone was immensely scary but ultimately fulfilling and I continue to do it because the lessons learned are wisdom gained.
Declutter your space
Our environments have an effect on the way we think and feel. We are constantly absorbing messages from our environments. If what you see around you is messiness, disorganization and clutter, your mind will link all those qualities with what is going on inside you.
I’ve always been an organized individual. Some might even go so far as to say OCD organized, jokingly. This is because it helps reduce stress, boost energy and enthusiasm, encourages creativity and much more!
Get rid of anything mentally and emotionally toxic, broken or unused. Clear up space to create a feeling of openness within you – giving you more room to maneuver and ideas to arrive.
Breath is one of the most overlooked and under-used tools that we have. It can be used for relaxation, dissolving psychological blocks, invigorating our spirit, and much more. To renew yourself, ease the stresses in your mind, as well as worries, hurt, sadness, loneliness, anger and resentment, by releasing it out of your breath as you exhale through your mouth. Imagine that your breath is a breeze that carries your stresses out of you. As you inhale through your nose, imagine breathing in fresh, healing energy. Continue with releasing heaviness on exhalation and replenishing your energies on inhalation until you feel renewed.
This simple practice has helped me in my times when I would find myself experiencing frustration during a seizure setback or on any given day wishing that my seizures would cut me some slack. Taking a few moments of quiet time to breathe and recenter myself has proven to carry away any stresses and anxieties that I approach.
How about you? What are ways that you practice self-renewal along your journey?
I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!