The good news, no, the GREAT news is that I FEEL GREAT! My body has pretty much healed up, and I have a ton of energy. My family and friends now have to deal with my endless need to create, plan, act, dream, talk and make people laugh. The good news is that I feel like myself again.
The bad news is that my forced “sabbatical” introduced me to some pretty dark thoughts. Actually, I don’t know if it introduced those thoughts as much as unearthed deep-seated beliefs that I didn’t know were there. They are impractical fears and ugly beliefs based on experiences that I witnessed but never personally had. My mind is MUCH better today because I was forced to work on it the last three months, but there are some residual thoughts there much like the residual symptoms that let me know my body is strong but still completing the healing process.
So, I decided to go on a thought fast. Basically, for the next six months, I’m giving up entertainment like tv, movies, music (le sigh) in exchange for reading that will enhance my thought life (i.e. the Bible and books on subjects that will help me level up).
Why so long? Well, I realize that most of these thoughts have been dormant in my mind for years, some of them at least a decade. I’ve allowed the circumstances of life to “dump” these ideas into my subconscious mind without evaluation or challenge. This is my way to aggressively acknowledge my thought life while still being kind to myself. Instead of distracting myself from my thoughts, I’ll be addressing them and filling my mind with new thoughts: creating my new life from the inside out.
Why not food? The last three months I’ve basically only eaten fruits, vegetables, nuts. I ate very little meat on occasion to for nutrients, but that’s pretty much it. I’m ready to round out the food groups again, in moderation. But my nutrition isn’t the root issue, my thought life is. I’m doing a “cleanse” for the mind.
What am I hoping to get out of this experience? A stronger mind. I want my knee-jerk mental reaction to be positivity, rather than the absolute worst. I also want to see progress in my professional life, which I’ve hindered with years of my mental negativity. Lastly, I want to see the complete manifestation of healing in my physical body; I want the healthiest, strongest version of my body that I’ve ever had. So, a fast is worth it in my opinion.
I hope the experience is awesome! It might be boring over time. Who knows? I’ve never fasted this long for anything. I’m proud of myself for taking this step to better myself. I just ask that you pray for your girl because six months is a long time. I promise to keep you posted!
I wrote myself a love letter this week. It gave me a little lift and made me smile. I encourage you to do the same for yourself. It’s a beautiful exercise. Here’s mine:
We’ve spent a lot of time over the last three months healing physically and emotionally, and I just want to say that I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for not running and hiding when things got scary. You faced the ugly, frightening parts of yourself and made yourself deal. You cried fear out of your system, said goodbye to painful memories and the need to have total control. You got to know God: presented the most vulnerable version of yourself in prayer and experienced total acceptance. You embraced silence and learned how to fill your subconscious with healthy thoughts. You dealt with a hard season and came out stronger on the other side. For that, I salute you.
I love your commitment to truth,
Your passion for peace,
Your courage to pursue what feels impossible sometimes.
Your smile is contagious.
Your groundedness is enviable.
Your willingness to learn excites me.
Don’t let life’s circumstances define you: you already know who you are. Stay open to love. So much of it is available if you refuse to close your heart. Freely receive it and freely give it. Stay honest, even when it scares you. Keep believing for greater, and it will happen honey.
You will see your dreams come true.
You will end generational curses in your lifetime.
Your children and grandchildren will call you blessed and want to model their lives after yours.
Health, wealth and sweet companionship are yours. Expect and accept nothing less.
I love you.
I see you.
And I’m so stinkin’ proud of you.
Who’s in your five? A mentor of mine asked me that question, and I honestly couldn’t answer. He was saying that when you have a challenge in life, lean into the five closest people in your community.
Over the years, I’ve developed a tribe of very positive, inspiring people. I have a church home, lead a small group for young married couples, live on a street where everyone knows everybody, teach an acting class, take an acting class, participate in a group chat and keep up with family. My tribe looks great on paper; it consists of people I look up to, people I mentor, people I do life with, people that make me laugh, people that show up when asked. On the outside, I’m surrounded by good folks. But my mentor made me realize something: I hadn’t really let any of them “in.”
Here’s a perfect example. On my wedding day, I handed out three plaques to the women in my life who have stepped up as “mothers” in my life after my mom passed. In essence, I was telling saying, “Tag, you’re it. When I need a mom, I trust you will show up and support. In turn, I will show up as a daughter and love your family as my own.” It was a beautiful gesture, and I’ve been in contact with all of these women. But overall, I’ve only really talked to them about how life is going when life was too hard for me to handle alone. That’s not relationship. If my mom was still here, I would show up for dinner and check in just because. The reason I haven’t really done this with these ladies is because I don’t want to be a bother.
So, back to my “aha” moment with my mentor. “Who’s in your five?” I decided for the first time to conduct an experiment. Typically, I go through challenging times in private and celebrate the victory with my tribe after I’ve gone through it . . . alone. I know that’s crazy, but what can I say? It’s learned behavior. So, here’s the experiment. The last time I was in the middle of a challenge, I decided to reach out to my tribe. I mean everybody. I wanted to know what it felt like to be supported; I texted/called my substitute moms, messaged my small group, texted my friends in the group chat and called my dad.
The result was interesting. Some people didn’t respond at all. Some people didn’t know how to respond. Some gave me the basic, “love you, praying for you” response, and they kind of disappeared into the business of their own lives. (I’ve done this before SOOOO many times, so I’m not judging.) I had hour-long conversations with others: people I hadn’t really talked to in years. Some people LITERALLY showed up, which surprised me.
Now that I’m better and on the other side of the challenge, I learned something about my squad. Not every relationship is created equal. Some people, I’m there to serve. Some people are clutch when I’m in a bind and need good advice. Some people are great at just being there. Some people support me well and are safe to lean on. I learned that in order to have true relationships, I have to let some people in. I don’t have to let everyone in, but I need in “inner circle.” They can’t just orbit around my life, they have to be invited into the messiness of it, and in turn, I need to jump into theirs.
So, I chose my five. They’ve always been there, but I’m proud to say that over the last week, I’ve contacted all of them and intentionally let them in. They may change over time, and that’s okay. The point is that I started a journey of vulnerability in my closest relationships, and I’m elated! I’ve had some “just because” conversations. I’ve also had some long, hardy belly-laughs. I’ve had some deeper conversations, with awesome exchanges of wisdom. It’s been amazing. I feel supported. I feel loved. I’m not doing life alone, and it has been life-giving to my soul and body. My friend, I hope and pray that I maintain this practice because it’s just so healthy. I feel a difference already. I also pray that your squad supports you well and that you “belong” somewhere. If not, take the risk and start letting someone in. We were made for that kind of thing.
We were helping my in-laws move. Well, my husband was helping my in-laws move. I was sitting around and catching up with family. I’d just gotten off bedrest and didn’t want to overdo it, so I was just kind of there, hanging out.
On our way back home, I was deep in thought as I watched the trees go by. My thoughts: why do certain areas of my life seem to just fall into place, but other areas feel like a constant struggle? My recent health issues were overall non-threatening but seemed to go on much longer than necessary. What was the hold up? I thought about it, had some light conversation with my husband, realized it was late, and let my musings go.
I woke up at 5:30am the next morning for quiet time and did some reading, praying and meditating. While reading, something popped out at me in a different way. I was reading a Bible passage in Matthew. In the story, someone approaches Jesus, asking him to cast out a demon that his disciples couldn’t. His disciples struggled, but Jesus was able to do it with ease. When his disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon, Jesus said, “Because you have so little faith.” Then he went on to teach them that if they have faith, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” I felt like God was whispering the answer I needed to my spirit.
The reason why I struggle with certain areas of my life is my lack of belief in those areas. The reason I win with ease in other areas in my rock-hard confidence.
For example, I never worry about making rent or paying the mortgage. My husband is a contractor, and I’m self-employed. It’s been that way our entire marriage. Before I married him, I was self-employed, so we technically don’t always know where our next check is coming from. We are responsible adults who work, budget, pay bills, save. But sometimes life happens. When it does, I don’t worry. I trust that we will have a roof over our head, clothes on our back, food to eat, and a way to get back and forth to work. For whatever reason, I’ve always felt like those things would just work themselves out. God will provide. And he does. Every. Single. Time.
I’ve also always believed I was worthy of healthy romantic love, so I’ve never been pressed. When I was single, I repelled romantic drama and attracted healthy relationships. Meeting, dating, marrying and living with my husband has been a simple and beautiful process. And I’m STILL not pressed. If he changes his mind and wants to leave, he’s free to go. I don’t own him. He doesn’t own me. We’re both here because we WANT to be. If he did decide to leave, I’m sure that someone else amazing would come along. I don’t worry about it. I almost never think about. There’s so much ease in this department of my life because there’s ease in my heart.
The recent struggle with my health was a result of my mental back and forth. I would have one symptom, then worry for weeks as my body healed. Then, I’d get another symptom, and the worry cycle would start all over again. I was holding the issue too tightly, trying to control something that I ultimately couldn’t. What I learned is that the way I believe really does affect the outcome of my situations. The key to my victory is a sense of ease: releasing the issue and trusting that it will all work out in time.
Where am I with this now? Mentally, I’m in a good place. I finally stopped worrying. I still have some symptoms that I don’t understand, but they are minor, and I’ve prayed for wisdom. While I’m waiting on the answer, I’ve let the issue go. I’m now clear that manhandling my problems doesn’t work, so I’ve chosen to release my problems and just stay on the healing path, no matter how long it takes.
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.