I remember well what it felt like to be unhappy.
It was exhausting. It was isolating. It was such an unnatural state to be in. Like my body was rejecting my emotions by making it physically painful to be so sad.
I had just brought two beautiful boys into the world. They were healthy and they were happy. Why couldn’t I be? I didn’t really have the right to feel the way I did. At least, that’s what I told myself. No matter how many times I attempted to pull up my bootstraps, I failed miserably.
Post-partum anything is nuts. The period after you give birth where you try to make sense of a seemingly new world order is tough for any mom. And when you throw in a mix of hormonal imbalance, extreme sleep deprivation, and – just for fun – mental illness – things get downright absurd.
It doesn’t feel good to yell at a toddler. Period.
So when I found myself making a habit out of it, I turned to the Internet to understand what the hell was going on.
I will never forget that moment when I read the story of another mom who had been diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression, and who had a rage and anger escaping her, furling itself at the people she loved the most, with such lack of self-control, that she was scared. Something changed inside me as I read her words.
It was like she was telling my story.
Before kids I had a normal temperament. I didn’t deal with rage. And I wasn’t an angry person. I couldn’t figure out then why all of a sudden I was feeling such strong emotions. When I learned that depression can cause anger, everything made sense. I had always assumed that depressed people can’t get out of bed and that they cry about everything. Who knew depression could make you hurl toys at the wall?
When I saw myself in another woman’s story, I felt immediate permission to hope. I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing. I wasn’t a lost cause. Maybe, just maybe, I would be happy again.
As I read my story in her-story that day, I connected with her. She didn’t even know it, but her bravery in telling her-story, her bravery in being real, and honest, and flawed – made it okay for me to be real too.
That moment was the beginning of my new life.
It has been eight years since I read that story. And those eight years have had ups and downs, but mostly ups. Along the way I have discovered that there is one thing that elevates a person’s health, happiness and wellness to increasingly new heights, and it’s actually very simple.
That one thing is connection.
We can sit in our despair. We can wallow in our pain. We can remain in isolation.
Or we can seek to feel connected to our true self, to others, and to the larger design of life. When we choose in favour of connection, we move into a space that feels resonant, that feels right, that feels natural to our entire being.
All of the wellness tools and methodologies, and science about good food and exercise, the importance of forgiveness and self-care, the reminders to communicate from the heart, the need for time to be mindful and grateful, the essentiality of positive intention and visioning – all of that, and more – still stands. The importance of it all to good mental health, wellness and happiness is absolutely proven.
But the one thing that wraps itself around each and every helpful technique and good idea, is the fact that all of it, every single last bit of it, endeavours to make you feel connected.
Connected to your real self.
Connected to your body.
Connected to your soul.
Connected to the people you love.
Connected to your community.
Connected to people who share your story.
Connected to source, God or whatever works for you.
Life inevitably takes us out of alignment and makes us feel disconnected – over and over – and will continue to do so until we die. That is a fact. The challenges we face, the expectations of those we love, the pressures from society – they all at some point take us off course. And this is okay when we understand the importance of re-aligning and re-connecting.
When you are struggling or in pain, when you are confused or unsure of your next step, when you are fearful or anxious – none of those states feel right, natural or good. And the fact that they feel icky, unsure and concerning is helpful. That unpleasantness is what pushes you to seek change. It drives you to evolve, grow and build back better. Feeling stuck is actually a beautiful place to be. On the other side of all of it is a better life than the one you had before, if you allow it, and if you regard the discomfort as the sign that it is. A big ass, blinking, neon light above your head, flashing the reminder: “Connect!”.
For the last few years, I have been busy creating safe space for women to be real. It has been my mission to help them get re-aligned and get in their flow – where all feels joyful, balanced and happy. My driving motivation has been to help women live their absolute, very best life.
It has been my deepest honour to create magic through our work at Bliss B4 Laundry – with my amazing partner – Gaby. We have watched literally hundreds of women’s lives be changed forever by the experience of the Bliss Weekend.
And what is getting me all fired up right now is our newest project at Bliss – The Circle – which is a monthly gathering for women focused on self-care, wellness and sisterhood.
Watching ‘connection’ unfold organically at The Circle is awe-inducing. I wish there was an adequate way to describe the lived experience, but there isn’t.
When I am in the moment, surrounded by women, holding space for our collective growth, healing and wellness – the experience is always expansive. It feels so gosh-darn-good to watch women step boldly into their authentic ‘realness’ and share their story. But what elevates that feeling to the level where it becomes hard to describe and relate to someone else, is when you witness other women resonate with the story they just heard and begin to give themselves permission to do the same – to stand in their truth, shed the self they put forward to please others and society, and instead be proud of the phenomenal and one-of-a-kind woman they truly are. Seeing that happen firsthand, in real time, is a gift.
I could not have known that day, eight years ago, how much connecting with that woman’s story was going to impact the rest of my life. At the time, the hope I had, felt small and insignificant. But it was a start – a movement in favour of wellness, happiness and re-alignment.
Now with the gift of hindsight, it’s possible for me to see that life is just a series of moments in time. And it’s in those moments that we are offered a simple choice – to feel alone and disconnected by our challenges, or to choose in favour of our happiness and feel into the connection that reminds us – we are not and can never be – alone.
Sarah Hutchison is a co-founder of Bliss B4 Laundry – a company that hosts life-changing, transformational wellness events for women, including The Circle – a monthly gathering of women focused on self-care, wellness and sisterhood. Sarah loves to connect with Spirit, write about life, and help women live their very best lives. She lives with the love of her life and their two beautiful boys in Ontario, Canada.
Join us this month at The Circle!
– November 24 / Laughter Yoga in Peterborough
– November 29 / Awaken Your Goddess Energy in Colborne
– December 6 / Laughter Yoga in Kingston