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Blog: Flourishing Amidst Adversity

by Courtney Arellano

I am a highly sensitive person, a mother to three children (ages 6, 4, and 1), and married to my soulmate. I also have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. When I wake up each morning, sometimes it is sheer grit and love that pushes me through. As a wife and mother who is working hard to raise kind, compassionate human beings, I show up for my family no matter what challenges my mind or body are facing. I have also learned, however, how important self care, mindfulness, meditation, and following my creative endeavors are to living a fulfilling life. These things feed my soul and fill my cup in ways that allow me to feel rejuvenated and able to return again and again to my innermost self.

My journey to get to where I am today has been a long and complicated one. I think many people experiencing disability, chronic illness, or many other health issues go through some darkness first, before being able to cultivate a healthy, diverse, and balanced life. It’s important to me to honor wherever I am on my journey, to not fall into toxic positivity, but to not linger in the shadows too long as well. This has required a lot of self awareness, healing, and growth along the way. Cultivating daily gratitude has become a key component for me and reminding myself that a hard day, week, or month is just that. It’s easy to get swept up in ruminating thoughts, debilitating pain, or frustrations about one’s health, but allowing those feelings to pass through while finding humor or lightness about it all can make all the difference.

Another important part of my journey has been rediscovering a sense of play, joy, and silliness. This is something I am still working on even today. Dancing with my kids and husband while staying in tune with my body’s limits and listening to that. Letting go of my shyness to do goofy voices and faces, tickles, and finding the magic woven within the spells of giggles that would ensue. Being able to laugh even in the midst of tears, clumsiness, or brain fog (while still holding space for those hard things). And lastly, being able to breathe through triggers and big emotions to move into a heart minded, sweet, kind, and playful way of being with my loved ones.

I nurture my spirit each and every day with light, love, kindness, elements of nature, and coffee… a lot of coffee. I remember that none of us are promised anything more than the very moment we are living in and that what can feel so permanent, can change from one breath to the next. I allow myself to feel deeply, to stay authentic to all of who I am, to be vulnerable with my heart to the world and I encourage others to do the same. Your sensitivity, your vulnerability, your story, is so valued and so beautiful. I think society still has a lot of growing and healing to do but we can all make waves by just being our truest selves and always coming back to love, compassion, and kindness. The world needs more of that, and many of us need to give ourselves more of that as well. These are some of the things that allow my heart to bloom each day and I hope that sharing a small part of my story inspires others' hearts to bloom too.

Photo by Courtney Arellano

Image Description: A pink flower in the rain. You can see rain streaking in the background while the flower predominantly takes up the foreground.

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