What to do When it Feels Like Part of You is Dying

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Resilience is For All Women: An Essay by Renee Airya

This is my intimate exposé for Amant.

A journal-like entry paired with radical exposure.

This week is my 12 year anniversary of massive brain surgery, and the day that I found out my face was severely paralyzed with no prognosis of recovery.

It is the 10 year anniversary of being nearly fully bedridden for 1.5 years after an autoimmune disease and a spinal tap that almost killed me.

Looking at this image now, I sit examining who this woman is compared to the girl she used to be. My mind doesn’t know where to start… Or how to talk to you about being seen in this way.

I contemplate how to share so that we both feel more comfortable. How do I gracefully inspire renewal when there is no hope? And honor the sensitivity of being seen for all of me: past, present & future, visible & invisible, light & dark, represented in this photo?

How do I clearly communicate my longing for women everywhere to know themselves as safe through all these different versions of Self? My desire for you to have the kind of deep self-knowing where even projections or judgements from others will not sway your own truth of character?

I breathe in. And let go. I center myself. I touch my heart.

My thoughts can only translate into poetry:

Nudity is perpetually novel. After all, it’s our natural state. A vulnerability that we can’t get away from. From here, we are always new. Or more accurately, we always have an opportunity for renewal.

And You are novel. Your body & your soul in it, have a unique, original story.

I believe we are here as humans to share stories. Our stories.

So that we can, as Ram Dass says, “All walk each other home.”

I wonder if you’d care to follow me if I were walking on broken glass?

Would it make me more, or less trustable? More or less desirable?

More or less successful?

And what would it mean about you to walk with someone through broken glass?

These are fair questions.

Questions we ask ourselves versions of every day, although we don’t often realize it.

We usually spend much time scoping out, staying away from, or moving towards danger depending on our mood, intentions, or the payoff.

Or, at least we think we are trying to stay away from it. But we’re not.

It’s an illusion to think we are avoiding danger. Giving us a false sense of control.

What we are really trying to avoid is the mystery. This is the ultimate danger to the mind. However, it’s not the things we can figure out, but the ones we can not that provoke the deepest exploration and ultimately, empowerment of Self.

It may be mysterious as to how and why someone may find themselves stomping on, rolling in, playing with, and then rising from broken glass.

Indeed, there are many unknown elements in the fullness of breaking down. Of falling apart. Of splitting in two. Of dying.

And there is one thing I can tell you with with certainty: perpetual death and rebirth can only be done in one way. Through resilience.

My name is Renee Airya, and my story is about resilience.

Please watch this important 2 minute video demonstrating my journey of resilience:

Resilience is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. I agree that my experiences encompass this definition. But here’s some additional truth serum for your journey:

Resilience is the Intersection of Self-Lovership & Creativity.

Meaning… I know that I would not have “recovered or adjusted to change” had it not been for planting and watering the roots of self-Love and a fierce devotion to the process of creativity.

Intense times call for intense measures which are executed in simple, loving ways.

Believe me, my first thought when I saw my missing smile, my unblinking eye covered by an eye patch, and no movement of the right side of my face was not, how can I love myself more? It was, how do I change this fast? Because I don’t want to live in hell my whole life.

But my ability to overcome only prevailed through focused self-Love and directing my willpower creatively. I switched my perception from what appeared to be a problem and turned it into a welcomed protagonist.

The 2 Roads of Resilience: Lovership & Creativity

1. Lovership

Lovership is not just love. It is love in motion. It’s not a one time statement, but a lifelong renewal process.

I hear many people (including myself sometimes) ask, “I don’t understand why this bad thing is happening… because I love myself.”

And my response is, “but are you actively loving yourself right now?”

Odds are if you are actively loving yourself then you would not be presupposing that the situation is “bad” or that you are being punished for something.

These are three key ingredients of masterful Lovership:

Compassion. Forgiveness. Grace.

  • Can you demonstrate compassion for yourself here and now, in this moment? 
  • From this place of compassion, can you forgive yourself for your current circumstances or emotions? 
  • Can you now surrender and let grace become you?

And the answer to all of these questions inevitably is:

“Yes. Yes, I can.” That is, if you choose this to be your honest answer.

Seek to be this safety for yourself.

It is usually easier to love ourselves in the light… But unwanted people, places, and life events can push us into discomfort and darkness. And that’s exactly when we must deliberately and devotedly ask ourselves these questions again and again and again.

Ask from your heart like you are praying on the floor at love’s altar.

You don’t have to fully accept yourself to love yourself. You just have to choose to be kind to yourself.

Doing this enough times expands your self love and eventually, you will fully accept yourself.

It’s bold to enter into the land of truth. For it’s not an already carved out path.

So, I’m not suggesting that everything will suddenly “be fixed” as you have compassion, forgiveness, and allow grace to become you. I’m suggesting that your life force energy and power will begin returning home to you. You will gradually remember who you really are.

“You don’t have to fully accept yourself to love yourself.
You just have to choose to be kind to yourself.”

2. Creativity

At the time of this writing, it has also been 5 months since I miscarried.

This was my first pregnancy. At age 41. I started miscarrying after we got to our Airbnb right after seeing and hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Talk about a wild, sacred and scary time.

My body wisdom knew right away what was happening, though my mind remained hopeful and focused on protecting the baby from massive amounts of bleeding. But the moment I felt my soul say “release and let go”, I did so and miraculously had an easeful rite of passage.

One of my best friends also went through a miscarriage at the same time and I found myself able to help not only myself, but her and others in the process of grief.

Weeks later, friends started asking how I was and my true response was: grateful, encouraged, and connected.

I had learned so much through being pregnant for 6.5 weeks. It was apparent to me like never before the portal of power I could access in my physical womb as a woman. It was delightful to connect to this hub of infinite creativity and I became very intentional about exploring pregnancy as a deeper connection to self and All Life.

People were intrigued with this perspective on life and death. How could I be in grief and gratitude at the same time? How could I be sobbing and celebrating?

My clear answer was, creativity.

These are three key ingredients of masterful creativity:  

Imagination. Perception. Change.

The following questions can enhance your own relationship with creativity. You may want to choose a specific situation in which to focus on right now. And let your answers inform a new, creative possibility.

  • In my wildest imagination, what can I create on/with this current canvas of life? 
  • What lens of perception am I choosing to view myself and others through? Are these the best filters for the experiences I want to create? 
  • Knowing that creativity is a living, breathing entity, am I resisting or riding with change? 

Here’s a fun notion:

Creativity loves emotion.

This is not about being robotic and programming your mind with answers that you think may sound good. It’s about really deepening your feelings and expanding your visions.

Creativity is casting a wide net and playing in the field of wonderment.

As you open to more creativity, you will discover yourself as a whole cast of characters that you can then draw from whenever you need a certain expertise. Creativity is energy in motion. So anything can be anything.

Art is anything that means something to you.

So what are you assigning meaning to? And do you desire it to be this way?

Refining our relationship with creativity is a direct fortifier of resilience — of recovering from misfortune or change, because it is change. If you are able to reframe a situation that was once viewed as misfortune, then you can change the entire experience. You reclaim parts of yourself that you thought you “lost” to something else, or someone else.

Through 3 near death experiences, multiple major health crises, broken hearts, business busts, and everything in between, the quality of resilience Resilience has enabled me to transmute any baggage I may have into brilliance.

I promise you that the combination of self-Lovership and creativity will be a compass that will point you to your true north of resilience. And I can’t wait to see what mysteries of Self you will discover here.

For now, consider me the voice of your own unspoken resilience.

Because this is not only my story. Resilience is ALL women’s story.

Thank you for hearing mine. And I want to hear yours. So let’s start sharing our stories of resilience.

Because sisters, we need to witness each other’s wounds and glory.

We need each other’s wild reverence for walking the mystery of continually becoming who we really are.

I beckon you to rise, even in amidst your messy fear. You too can walk across the shattered glass of who you used to be…

To Reveal yourself. And shine.

To hear an audio recording of Renee’s interview with Amant, where she shares more on resilience & transformation, click the audio link below: 

Inspired? Learn more about Renee & her work by visiting her site

© 2016 Amant