I recall Elizabeth Gilbert speaking at a Business Chicks event in Brisbane during March, 2020. I have revisited my notes many times since this day; of particular potency was the revolution she was longing to initiate in women’s lives. Her hope was for women to stand in ease, as a ‘relaxed woman’. Ironically, speaking to our pandemic of stress!
When did it become a badge of honour to be a superwoman, buying into the ideals of having it all and doing it all (ourselves) I wonder? Raised deeply in my masculine; focused on financial independence, I welcomed motherhood with such visceral trepidation. Grasping for moments to draw breath and prevent excruciating levels of anxiety and stress from overwhelming me. Overwhelm me they did.
It was a Tuesday around 5.30pm, having collected my three (hungry) children from school and with only 5 minutes till reaching our home; my right eye began to flicker, followed by the feeling of a hot poker digging into my right ear and finally, my right frontal lobe felt as though it ‘let go’.
Safely making it home, I managed to herd my children (9yrs, 7yrs and 3yrs at the time) inside. In denial, I began making a quick dinner and rang my husband; who later confirmed I had slurred speech. He asked to speak with our eldest child as he raced to his car. Our 9 year old returned to my side in the kitchen, standing watch like a guard.
Without warning, I promptly collapsed on her. She caught me as best she could and with us now on the ground she gently helped prop me against the kitchen cabinet. There I was, a 40 year old woman, dressed in her corporate finest – a yoga teacher. Had I learnt nothing? A stream of tears, filled with my shame and guilt began to drench me. I felt an inability to articulate words and weakness down my left side was prohibiting my movement – I couldn’t talk or move. My brave 9 year old reassured me, wrangled her 7 year old and 3 year old siblings to the table, taking their hastily prepared meals to serve dinner. She returned to my side on the ground, wrapping her arms around me and telling me everything would be ok. In that moment, I felt the full force of what I had done; to myself and my family. My tears multiplied with remorse.
The parallel story running was the impact on my 9 year old daughter. She couldn’t sleep for the next several nights, unable to go to school the next day. She didn’t want to be left alone with me in case I collapsed again. Over the coming years she would intermittently tell me she was experiencing weakness down her left side. The realisation that I had role modelled a life of chaos fuelled by stress and anxiety weighed heavily. I promised myself, this would not be my legacy.
Today, as a senior leader within Corporate (with over 28 years in the financial services industry) I have found balancing the delicate ecosystem of mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend has no perfect science. My experiences since my last mild stroke and the years that followed have led me to a slower pace of life, filled with rituals and a deeper connection to myself and others.
I have done ALL the things!
Breath work, yoga, meditation, journaling, contemplation, reflection, mantras, affirmations, rose petal baths, lashings of self-care rituals, sacred circles …
The most powerful of them all has been a week unraveling alone in Ubud, Bali along with a divine adventure to India where I meditated at sunrise on steps overlooking the magical Ganges River and burst into tears when the Taj Mahal came into full view.
The essence of my reflections after all of these;
- The necessity to tread more slowly and return to our divine feminine instincts,
- Welcoming more stillness into our life to allow our intuitive body wisdom to speak
- Focus every day on unraveling limiting self-beliefs,
- Build self-trust through consistent, mindful daily action
Until ever so gently you feel glimpses of a life as a relaxed woman.
Ready to cultivate more joy and radiant health? Kylie is a ‘high heeled yogi’ who specialises in connecting busy working mothers with their buried feminine wisdom. Her pursuit of knowledge across this variety of disciplines was (in part) motivated by a significant health issue in 2013. She suggested, “that the events that followed were my unequivocal warning, to practice radical self-care or face the consequences”. Kylie’s journey since has seen a dedication to prioritising her own health while manifesting her own dreams – and facilitating those of others. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook @kylielano