no more cold sores

I got a cold sore the other day. Not the most glamorous introduction to a blog post but today that's what I'm talking about. A cold sore stops me dead in my tracks to shout, YOU ARE OVER DOING IT. This one came near the end of the first month back to teaching. I hadn't had one since my husband and I had gone on a very lovely fifth anniversary trip to Paris in February. 

Upon returning home I would say it wasn’t so much jet lag as it was whiplash. Life was seemingly on pause while we were away since we were in an almost opposite time zone. We were blissfully unaware of all that was happening back home and as soon as we landed, life came at us with its full force. It was as though it was on double-time to catch up for the time we were away. Some strange fast forward mode to catch us up, beat us up, and say, "I'll always be waiting". Oh, Life. 

I got food poisoning on the lay over just before home, it was that or I am allergic to orange peppers 🤔 not sure which, and don't really want to test it out as the peppers still make my stomach a bit queasy. Then, wouldn’t you know it, my husband got a bad cold, then I got the same cold. Then work got strange, then my family had issues, and then, pop, a cold sore. This time around I thought that I was managing well enough with the new gig...¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

With a cold sore comes tears. It takes one blister for me to realize all of the ways that I have been dodging, moving, keeping just outside of the reach of stress. It is as sure as the sunrise, tears come with a cold sore. I’m not crying over the sore lip, it’s the awareness it brings that I have overdone it. It's the physical reminder of all the stuff that is piling up on the inside. Stress literally manifests itself on my lip and announces to the world, she can't take it anymore

Maybe I'm over doing it, or maybe it was just from the super dry lips. But that would be from not drinking enough water -- not looking after myself which ultimately leads to a ugly, burning, pulsing blister on my lip.  

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
We meet with a small community group once a week and we were learning about boundaries. When to say yes, and when to say no. Truly, boundaries are about being proactive in your life. 

Being proactive is determining which things I care about and want to give my time to. When we aren't proactive, we become reactive, and life hits us with all it has and we react. It says: "Pay attention over here!" "Look at me, look at me!", "HEY YOU! I'm IMPORTANT!" and we listen and respond only because it's yelling at us. We react, give attention to the things that don't need it, and regret it later when the things of importance slip. 

One of the exercises that we had with our community group was to talk about a time that we did something solely out of a heart of love. We had to share how it made us feel, why we did it, and the lasting impact that it had on us or the people it affected. Each of us talked about how the experience that should have drained our energy resulted in more energy, a feeling of gratitude and love, and an enlarged heart for the people that were involved. 

Next, we each shared about a time that we did something because we "had" to. Each of us spoke of different things that we felt tied to, we felt obligated and did the thing despite it not being a priority. We determined that obligation came out of fear. Fear of what people will think of us if we don't do the thing, fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of missing out, fear of not measuring up, fear of expectations, fear of hurting someone's feelings.  Obligation ultimately leads to resentment and bitterness. Or, in my case, a cold sore. 

Bitter indeed. 

Even though my cold sores have to have a perfect storm of stress + low immunity + chapped lips +  just the right amount of sun - the true sum of the equation is not looking after myself. I used to get them often. They have been fewer and further between in recent years, but the one that I got this week is a reminder that I need to be proactive, I cannot pour from an empty vessel. 

That's all.


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