I’ve been overflowing with gratitude toward my friend, for spending time here on her farm is the most healing time I’ve experienced in years. I’ve also been grateful for my personal fasting experience. Both have been so transformational.
These last two weeks—three weeks on Wednesday—have been so calming and relaxing: for the first time in over five years, I finally feel free of stress and fear. My nervous system* is re-setting; it is no longer pummeling through Fight-or-Flight mode. This release began in the ashram, but culminated here, because of the setting. For instance, as I sit and write this, a pair of Bluebirds is building up their nest not 4 meters from where I sit on the porch! After so many years fighting the effects of PTSD and stress, I strongly note their absence. I was slowly regaining some of my emotional resilience when I moved to China, and my nervous system was settling down. But the stress of living in China combined with working at a horrible job was too much, and I lapsed back into anxiety and depression. I also experienced several traumatic events while I was living in China, which didn’t help: my Dad died the third week after my arrival, I fell and broke my arm, I had numerous severe respiratory infections because of the air pollution, work was bad enough that it had become traumatic, and I experienced a hiking emergency while hiking alone in the mountains of Kham, Tibet. All the progress I made to recover from PTSD, MDD, and GAD, unraveled during those 15 months in Chengdu!
I thought a sabbatical from teaching, spent relaxing in and touring Australia, would help, but the isolation there was too much and I didn’t get the social connection I needed to help me recover emotionally. My emotional side definitely has shown itself capable of overwhelming my physical self most of the time. Therefore, I definitely did not bounce back and heal the way I had hoped.
But here at the farm, what I feel now, here on the farm, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, is so healing and refreshing! I am experiencing the physical sensations of living without stress, or rather, an absence of all the physical sensations of living with stress, anxiety, and a hormonal system run-amok with stress hormones. I am sleeping better, eating better, feeling better, smiling more, laughing more, and feeling more empowered and positive about the future.