When I was a child I hated brushing my teeth. I can remember my mother standing in the bathroom, handing me my toothbrush looking at me dragging my feet along the tiles, grumbling the whole way. She would smile sweetly and say ‘one day you will thank me for this’. And it would drive me absolutely insane! I’d think, ‘Thank you? Thank you for what?! This is such a waste of my time!’
But at age 30 when I sat in the dentist’s chair with my near perfect teeth – impatient as ever - and was told I finally needed a filling I thought to myself, ‘Thanks mum.’ Most of my friends had needed fillings way back in high school and I made it this long without needing one. She was right.
And my mum, like most mums the world over, was full of sayings and advice that she would share with me as I was growing up. Insightful things like ‘what goes around comes around’ and things every teenage girl hates hearing ‘there is no such thing as bored – go out and do something’. And then things everyone should be reminded of at least once in their lifetime, although preferably not after just being dumped, ‘you need to love yourself before you can expect others too’.
Her words were wise, and sometimes harsh but fair. But they all came from the heart and they all pretty much proved correct, as I would slowly come to learn over the course of my life, one by one. But one of my mum’s sayings really struck home for me recently not just because it was true but because it completely changed the course of my life, and that was ‘from a bad situation comes good you just need to find it’.
For me, the ‘bad’ was the monthly chronic pain I have suffered from since the age of 15 when I hit puberty and started experience the affects of endometriosis. Not that I realised what it was at the time! That would come many, many years later but by bad I mean vomiting, blacking out, days off school and many operations, visits to hospital ER’s at all hours, and many frustrating dark days. And this bad has plagued me on and off for the past 16 years of my life.
But 2012, I turned the bad into something good. You see, everyone has a story to tell of dealing with the constant pain of endometriosis and mine is that yoga helped me deal not just with the physical pain but more with the mental and emotional pain and frustration related to this condition. A condition were there are currently very few answers and solutions.
You see, I had started practicing yoga as a teenager and found it was the one thing that gave me relief and support. The breathing exercises calmed me, the yoga postures gave me an awareness and understanding of my body that I had never experienced before and the mediation relaxed me and taught me so much about who I was inside. And I soon found my yoga practise extending off the yoga mat too, into my every day life especially on those ‘bad days’ when I would put my breathing, stretching and meditation exercises into practise when the pain killers and hot water bottles just wouldn’t cut it.
And so a few years back, I had one of those light bulb moments–ironically whilst brushing my teeth. I would take this ‘good’ in my life and run with it, grasp it with both hands and make the scale of ‘bad to good’ tip the other way so that the good days and good feelings out weighed the bad.
So…I decided to study yoga and went on to leave my well paid, hectic and often stressful job as TV Producer to teach yoga full-time. And I haven’t looked back since. In fact, I have never felt better! Of course, I still have bad days due to the endometriosis but thanks to my yoga practise I have come to accept and acknowledge this rather than let it build up inside and get the better of me.
But I am not going to lie, it wasn’t an easy decision to make initially – just like anyone who has made a big, life changing decision will tell you. I remember the night after resigning I woke up at 3am and sat bolt upright in bed with my heart racing thinking, ‘what have I done?! Is it too late to change my mind!?’
However, a year on and I couldn’t be happier with the direction my life has taken. In fact, I am hoping I can share this experience with others as I offer a free, monthly yoga class to other women with endometriosis and their families. In fact, my mum comes to these classes and I hope she realises how much her words, even as the years have gone by, have resonated within in me and have steered the course of my life. And after just being married, I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my life, the prospect of starting a family and becoming a mother. But like any endometriosis sufferer, I am well aware of the fertility issues linked to this condition and that the road ahead may not be easy. But I know everything will work out just as it is meant to – whatever that may be - because I can hear my mother’s wise words in my mind, 'from bad comes good you just need to find it’. And I know she will be right.
Simone Skinner-Smith - The Mobile Yogi