Back Among The Living

You can’t come prepared.

There’s no part of you that knows what to do with it, when you’re given that second chance at living, once the sheen of the new chance you have wears off.

After a few health issues, in January I nearly lost my life and I kept hoping to “bounce back” but I realized recently that there is no bouncing back or going back to what used to be. That’s part of the point.

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I remember taking that picture before leaving the hospital, having nearly died, to serve as a reminder months down the road that I made it through for a purpose. I wanted to remember not so much the blacking out, but the groggy relief I felt while sitting in that wheelchair in my room because through the exhaustion the point of it all was loud and clear: I still had another chance.

I look around my life now and see all the things that used to matter so much but now I realized that they’re just a construction; The epitome of illusion. I used to want to achieve so much and it’s not at all that I don’t still want to experience the world around me, it’s just that there’s far less concern for the “I” and more awareness of the “We” that acts like a heartbeat in the background of the day.

Throw in some extreme bullying experiences, continued recovery from health concerns and you get a recipe for an invitation to look a lot deeper.

I haven’t updated this blog, but wanted to, without knowing fully what to say after such a long period of silence. I thought that I could share the recovery process and blog about the multivitamins I’ve taken, books I’ve read, philosophies I’ve adopted and ways I’ve helped to continue the healing process.

What I wanted to say first, before delving into any regular blogging was that this moment is a gift. Even when it’s awful, there’s something beautiful to find and we just have to look closely at it. I say this after nearly dying in the hospital, finding out about health issues in my body that I’ve been healing, standing upright with dignity while my property has been destroyed and people have said cruel things that saw me crying at least once a day for three months straight (finally talking about that nightmare is life-giving); One thing I will never understand is the raw brutality with which people treat others when they perceive their power is threatened.

Yet there is still something wonderful about this process.

Now that I’m bouncing back and finding the beat in my heart that they nearly lost at the hospital and that some tried to emotionally beat out of me, I’m remembering the first post doesn’t have to be perfect. The point I’m trying to make here is that even in the most dire and desperate situations, there are still many beautiful things.

I look around me now and see a world inseparable in so many minds, from the history we’ve collectively created about it. It took a while before I could see things and people as they truly are, separated from the ways we cleverly define them to fit into whatever paradigm we’re working at that particular moment. Nothing was coming close to the perspective I had after leaving the hospital and that’s the hard part. The world spins in its orbit and life continues around you but you’ve lost the meaning that used to make up your days. The people who surrounded you are recognizable but the person you’ve become since that near death sometimes feel like strangers.

You realize that you never really knew the people in your life because you were asleep while walking through it. It’s an interesting way to ease the pain that you don’t realize is there- sleeping harder when what you really need is to be fully awake. Call it a clever trick of the ego, but the truth is that I got into a habit of sleepwalking and calling it something completely different.

What I saw in the world then, became ghosts of the life I saw myself fit into now. All of these changes happen almost without any say- at least that’s how it felt to be steeped in that reality like tea in water that was at first, a little too hot.

It’s too easy to label it into categories of depression or anxiety about life; The effects of bullies exacerbate life and make everything more intense but the point I’m making here is that there’s something so perfect about the way it’s all unfolded.

I used to look at life and want the best and knew I could be the best. I loved being at the top of my game but that’s just it- the whole thing was a game. I remember my vision board was loaded with images of what I wanted financially, what my ideal body looked like and what kind of relationships I wanted along the way. Nowhere though, was the simple way that the world moves me when I’m sitting at the shore watching the waves. Absent from those dreams was the ease that comes with knowing it’s all going to fade anyway, so why not play rather than effort my way to the top? I knew what I wanted in a partner and a relationship and I sought those things like goals, rather than moments that unfolded with perfect timing.

I said I wanted a big life but left out the living.

The memory of blacking out and completely losing consciousness while the nurses tried to find my missing pulse, comes to me often as I still try to make sense of what kept me here and for what purpose. Maybe it’s something that won’t ever make sense with that perspective. It’s nothing like a crisis of faith but a remembering that though the past few months have sometimes been hell, there’s a reason so much bigger than them that’s guided me through.

My purpose and place here are the products of something more important than cruel and insignificant people; They are bigger than the health concerns that went on; Even though circumstances have changed over and over again, I still stand and so too, does that purpose.

There are buckets now, of things that matter and things that no longer do. It has nothing to do with what those things are made of or inherent value in people, but in the reason they’re there in the first place. Gone is the fervor with which I used to approach filling my life with meaning. There is only one question I ask myself now, “Is this for love or is this for me?” Sometimes they are the same thing but life has become crystal clear waters and once roaring waves are now ripples that caress the shore.

And it feels so good to be back.

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On The Wings of Miracles,

Cheryl Costello

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