I am so, so happy to be writing you today.

As some of you know from my social posts and the ONE blog article I’ve written this year, I’ve been suffering through a major health crisis. As a result, I’ve had no choice but to start learning how to really sit back, take my time, not try to push feeling better (because wow, that does not work at all), and address the way I think about and relate to my goals and dreams.

That last one kinda stands out, doesn’t it?

Being really sick has blown my mind. Having been a meditating, vegetarian yogi since 2005, I never in my worst nightmares thought I would go through the challenges Topical Steroid Withdrawal has presented me in the past ten months. I thought I was immune to them – a superhuman yogi destined for an uninterrupted life of health, wellness, and success.

Sad to say healthy habits do not guarantee shit, my friend.

With all the time I’ve had to relax (like, really relax because the docs tell me that’s how I’m going to get better faster) I’ve gained insight into a lot of my habits and tendencies. Among the all-too-common rushing, pushing, and buzzing about that has come to signify our culture, I am also in the habit of being a slave to my goals, and to my ideal self. Nothing is ever quite good enough. I could always be doing more. Why haven’t I done it by now?

The result of such habits is a perpetual state of discontent, irritation, and – physiologically speaking – fight or flight mode, which has to do with your nervous system and can be totally devastating to your whole body. The latter, of course, is deeply connected to the presentation of my initial symptoms of an inflammatory auto-immune condition, potentially more so than food, exercise, positive thinking, or any other oft-touted remedy for modern ills.

Even though I ate super healthy, did yoga nearly every day, meditated, and even formed my entire career around wellness…the invisible thorn was an actual, measurable level of stress that threw my entire system out of balance, which then forced my hand into an insidious relationship with steroid creams. Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that this stress – for me anyway – lies in the space between where I am and where I want to be…or perhaps more accurately where I think I want to be.

Without careful inspection, our goals and dreams can be yet another sad result of our social conditioning.

Enter September. I always feel like September is the new January. At the end of summer, entering into my fave season, it’s so grounding to set some new goals, check in with where you’re at, and get excited about possibilities and the future. Only problem is, in the past, getting excited about possibilities and the future has involved a very distinct vision of what I think my life should look like. And now that I’ve experienced this insane level of un-wellness, baby that vision has changed!

Before:

Eat all vegetables. Exercise every day. Finish my book in month while working for clients full time and keeping my house clean and my dogs walked and meditating every morning for at least a half an hour. Draw daily. Make lots of money. Hand-write letters to my gram every two weeks. And kale. Lots of kale.

Now:

How do I feel? What do I need right now? Why am I being so serious? Is that really what I want?

However you like to approach your September, maybe just pause to think for a moment: Is the space between where you are and where you want to be bringing anxiety or excitement? If it’s not excitement, consider sitting back and inspecting your goals and dreams. Be on the lookout for what I call “OPS” – Other People’s Standards.

The ongoing habit of wanting to change yourself can keep you in a feedback loop of stagnant frustration. Maybe it’s time to just be with who you are now instead of who you think you should be at the end of September.

Happy fall, my friends.

Jen.

ps. I’m feeling much better, thank you. ♥️

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