End of Year Reflections from Adele
Late last year I began filming a documentary about aging, ageism, aging in the beauty biz…and other intriguing topics. I was entering a new phase of life and wanted to create an empowering picture, particularly for women. So, I teamed up with an awesome producer and our ideas were overflowing.
Before we started, I prayed that the higher purpose of the film be revealed in an inspiring way and that I gain a more ‘intimate relationship’ with my body. Well, be careful for what ya’ wish for! Shortly before we shot a significant segment in studio, I sensed some discomfort in part of my body that persisted as I continued to power through life, hoping it would just go away.
It didn’t. Eventually the pain got so bad it was difficult to do very simple things – like walk my dog. Within weeks, I went from advanced yoga to struggling to touch my toes or tie my own shoes.
After a few months of limping around and now praying for a miracle, I finally succumbed to an MRI. I’m not yet ready to talk publicly about the diagnosis – there’s lots of layers and all the details will be in the documentary, wink wink. Suffice to say, something happened to my body that I had associated with much older people. I thought I was falling apart before my time and it freaked me out!
There’s a common theme in the world of wellness and woowoo which I’ve subscribed to since childhood: Surgery should always be avoided and more often messes people up.
When I was younger my mom didn’t take us to doctors when we got sick. We used food, herbs, homeopathy, vitamins, and bodywork to get better. Or we just ignored the inconveniences of the body and waited for things to resolve on their own. We rarely got sick, but when we did, our ‘natural’ approach to healing worked pretty well. But now I was told I needed major surgery!
So, for many months, I passionately pursued an alternative cure. I tried stem cells, fascia release, dynamic neuromuscular stabilization, chiropractic, meditation, visualization, countless supplements…and more prayer. Occasionally I’d get little relief, but nothing stopped the suffering and/or resolved the issue.
Sure, there are many unnecessary surgeries performed on people that often make matters worse…AND there are times of course when surgery saves lives. I’m all for holistic healing, but sometimes bone broth, crystals, sage, and celery juice don’t cut it, and no amount of imagination is going to grow an arm.
If I had not surrendered to surgery in October, my lifestyle (and body) would’ve been permanently and severely compromised. Though I’m still in early recovery, already I feel far better than prior to the surgery and am deeply grateful there was a solution.
Spending most of this year in chronic pain was one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced, yet truly transformational. The limitations of my body forced me to slow down (yet again), and reflect on what I truly value. Nothing like pain to bring more perspective!
I’ve often considered emotional pain to be a close companion, yet physical pain was new for me. And so far, it’s been one of the greatest teachers in my life.
Today, I have much more compassion for people who live with chronic pain. Basic bandwidth is so stretched when operating in a body that’s hurting. Rather than sweat the small stuff, I now truly appreciate the small things – like walking without wincing. I feel more compassionate toward myself as well. That ol’ inner-critic who’s messed with me most of my life is just less loud lately. Something has softened and sobered inside me.
Since the diagnosis, the documentary was put on hold….again. This film has actually been in the works for a really long time. There have many gaps along the way, sometimes lasting years as I’ve tended to other responsibilities and career callings. Truth is, I’ve been petrified to put this story out there because it’s so deeply personal. But after a year of reflection on what matters most to me now, this film really wants to be born!
Since January, I put building my business on hold and directed more energy to caring for myself and loved ones. I felt more private and stayed off social media for the most part. I knew I’d re-emerge into the world when I was inspired to do so. After a much-needed retreat, I feel freer, clearer, and more confident. Sometimes you gotta go off-line to come back online!
Next year I plan to focus more on projects, pastimes, and people that inspire me. I also plan to prioritize fitness, something I haven’t been able to do for an entire year. One way to get motivated to exercise: try being in a body that requires a walker and you’ll likely run to reunite with your gym buddy when the time comes!
In the end, what I initially thought would be a terrible trauma turned out to be something that helped me heal more than just my body. Life literally stopped me in my tracks and proceeded to recalibrate my entire being in profound ways that I’m still processing. The body is a miraculous living machine made of many parts, all interconnected. The profound healing I’m experiencing physically and otherwise, just shortly after surgery, gives me renewed HOPE. Sometimes parts need to fall apart to come back together again.
I’m truly grateful for all of you, and hope your holidays bring much LIGHT and love to you and your families. May the New Year deliver a positive reset for all, and beautiful rebirth.
What has your body taught you, whether through pain or even pleasure? I love hearing from you!