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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce

Over It

Updated: Mar 18

One of the first things I learned here in Cote d’Ivoire was perspective. I threw my back out, was in wretched pain and wanted to give it the fair airtime that I thought it deserved. After all, if we do not nurture and baby ourselves a bit, who will take our suffering seriously? So when the drummers, neighbors, anyone would ask “How are you? How is your back?” I would make faces to accentuate how unwell I was. This did not elicit the response I hoped for as the same person would ask me less than an hour later, “How are you? How is your back?” I learned quickly that being less than good was not really acceptable and that others would push me to get to a place of being okay with how things were in the present moment.

My dear friend explained to me why the response to “How are you?” is always “Good.” Every once in a while you hear “Ca va un peu.” “I am a little bit good.” Still good but not strongly good. I think I have heard this twice in two weeks and it has been brought to my attention that when others do respond this way, it means that it has been a really bad day. Perhaps there has been a death in the family.

I like to think that my loves in the States know me as a non-complainer. I have secret pride that many friends newly found out that I have a migraine all the time, or MS, or that I was going through a divorce this year and that I always seem fine. I embrace my determination, my toughness. What I was missing was that I AM always fine. That this aura of everything being okay is not for others. That I can own it, believe it and really step into a space of gratitude for every second of this heart-expanding existence.

The way I handled being incapacitated at the beginning of my journey here in Cote d’Ivoire was a triumph for me. I accepted in the kindness and well wishes of others while acknowledging that my back was not going to take center-state for myself or any others. I took ownership over resting and self-advocating when it was needed. I kept dancing. I busted through a major life-long patterned block of clinging to suffering as a means to receiving the unwavering love and attention from others. Equating love with sympathy has been my way of safely ensuring that others will show me affection and, with a large Catholic dose of guilt, will be prompted to stay with me and keep the love flowing. For the first time as an adult, I trusted myself to take care of myself, I trusted my community to love the deeper part of me, and I loved my body enough to no longer use it as the sacrificial lamb of suffering. I can really feel that I am enough and that I am worthy of love from all directions, with no reason or ulterior motive needed.

I am proud to acknowledge this growth but again I am being prompted to move on from it. I am in a community that clearly cares deeply but at the same time is telling me lovingly to get over myself. I have teachers all around me showing me how to do this with every moment. It is important that I bow to this spiritual advancement, the release of this major block to my healing, but also important that I do not dwell in the process of it. It is done. It is gone. What if it is all simple. What if love, life, is really this easy. Not because it is without it’s struggles but because every moment is exactly as it should be and each breath is pregnant with possibility. Every moment an invitation to believe it’s all good.

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