During the CrossFit Podcast Ep. 18.14, Sevan asked me about what life post-op was like early on, and a parallel to it being similar to solitary confinement started up in conversation. (Click over to watch or listen, I thought it was a wonderful conversational rabbit-hole to dive into.) Being locked up. Alone. Solitary confinement.. It's a reasonable direction to turn to for consideration, as one could readily connect feeling alone and dealing with things on your own that nobody would understand to the state of someone locked in a room with limited space and surrounded by constant constraints. That said, my experience was not confined or contained or locked up in terms of where it left me - who I am - how I am. Tear those walls down. Remove the shackles.
It wasn't solitary confinement.
It was a vast wilderness.
How can I explain it further for you? Dr. Brené Brown's book 'Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone' had a section that spoke to me and felt similar to what I had felt in the days, weeks and months post-op.
“Belonging so fully to yourself that you're willing to stand alone is a wilderness -- an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can't control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
― Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
Wilderness. Solitude, not simply being alone. Wilderness. Searching, not knowing completely what is going on with your body. Wilderness, untamed, as what you are feeling might not be describable in the physical sense you're used to. Wilderness, with no control that you're potentially used to in how you live day to day.
Wilderness, as you venture into the vastness and unknown of experience.. or not.
(Pro tip: Do not sleep on this link.. dig into this further.)
Wilderness, as you find yourself there, and thank God for the unfolding and peeling of new layers in this stage of metamorphosis of your life on all fronts.
Wilderness; I'm here. I don't know where here is. I don't know how I'll do here.
Decide to do, and learn, here.
If you recently had heart surgery, or might be facing question marks of your own prior to getting cut open, let me encourage you: Please, no matter how tough it gets, do not see yourself in the confines of a boxed in room. Embrace the adventure the wilderness offers you. Embrace the challenge that the steps, lessons, sights, and health markers offer. With each of them be intentional, one moment at a time. You will feel uncertain. Engage in activity. Your days will vary. You might feel confused about having a bad day after a good day. Press on, the sun will rise tomorrow. You will hurt. You will heal. Both variants of health will teach you and guide you and show you more about yourself inside outside upside-down.
Your heart is a vast expanse. Learn about it.
Embrace the wilderness with the clouds and cliffs and wild it brings.
Take heart, today.