I have a confession to make. The last weeks of December and the first couple of weeks of this shiny bright New Year, I’ve been traveling down the road called Denial. Yes, me, a yoga and meditation teacher, personal development coach, whose career spans 20 years.
First, let me tell you what I’ve been in denial about, and then I’ll share why I think sometimes denial is like a parachute that gently allows you to glide down to the stability of the earth and your very own Ground of Being.
On January 5, 2015 at approximately 9:30am my AARP-aged husband of 32 years entered into surgery for a hip replacement. For the past several years he knew he would be facing this life changing event, but it wasn’t until my husband could no longer stand the pain that he called out “Uncle.”
As a successful commercial real estate broker he decided to perform his due diligence.
After several interviews he found the orthopedic surgeon who he felt safe with, and entrusted himself in his care. Of course I went with him and agreed with his choice.
It was from that moment on we arrived at a crossroads. It was if we looked at one another and made a silent unspoken pact to travel down the highway leading towards Denial.
We did the research. Talked to our friends and my students who had undergone the same surgery just weeks prior. We knew what was up the road, but we happily turned a blind inner eye and thought, “Oh, a hip replacement, with todays innovative technology, this will be easy peasy.”
Some parts of this journey has been in fact easy peasy. But the reality is – my husband had invasive surgery and in order not to allow all of the fears, all of the negative possibilities to surface, we went underground so to speak. We chose denial. Whew. It worked for the day and half he was in the hospital.
So, we thought, why not continue on this road when we returned home. After 48 hours without a shower we looked at each other and thought, “What the heck?! Now what?” And it progressed from there.
The first week of 24 hour care-giving is beginning to blur now. Thank goodness. Plus, as the days progressed he literally took one step forward and many steps back.
As I sit with this experience I shared with my husband, though I can never truly understand what he went through, I’m allowing myself to feel the myriad of emotions that surfaced.
I am being kind to myself. I am even amused at myself. And, I am accepting that choosing the path of denial for a short limited time of my life, was actually wise and self-fortifying.
Committed as I am to my own personal work I accept that denial is often a coping mechanism. It is a subconscious protective tool that can at times serve our greater good.
However, we must be self-aware enough to recognize when we are being led astray and are becoming lost. Denial is a necessary medication that is useful to help navigate through the pain. And it becomes destructive and addictive when abused.
With some space and time from the initial days of pre and post-surgery relinquishment of reality I recognized it was time to course-correct as the walker was given up for a cane, and the antique walking stick was returned back to it’s owner.
Though there are some pauses and rest stops along the way of truth, my husband and I both agreed to travel back to life as it truly is. And life as it truly is – is rich, full and promising.
What do you think about walking down the path of Denial? Do you agree that at times denial is a coping mechanism that can be helpful in moving through one of life’s challenges? Leave a Reply Below.