Illness: A Blessing in Disguise?

In November of 2019, my body gave me lots of signs that I needed to pay attention to my health.

I had two choices: succumb to fear and the very dark places your mind likes to go or realize…I have no information other than they’re running some tests and I need to go on with my life. I chose the latter. I lived in this weird state of “it’s probably nothing, it could be somethingbut my kids need a snack and help with homework right now so I need to be a mom and not freak out. Besides, there was a birthday and Christmas to plan.

My husband became unusually quiet and more helpful than he usually is – which was a bonus. Extra help? I’ll take it.

I will always remember that in between time as a loop of go to the doctor, get some more information and then wait for another test…go to the doctor for results, but they need more information so wait for another test…and so on. In the meantime, I focused on my mental health, my emotional health and my faith in order to truly complete each step of my physical health journey in a way which would ensure to bring my body back into balance and ease.

I am recovering from surgery and waiting for more results to see what happens from here. I have a general overview of things – but in this process I’ve learned specifics come when the time is right. Talk about a lesson in SURRENDERING!

So why am I sharing something so intimate about my health? Because I cannot believe what I have learned!!!

This time at home has offered me the opportunity to writeCapturing a Countess’ Heart is up on Amazon (.com and .ca) and Kobo for pre-order and will be live on April 28!!!

I have time to read and to meditate – to learn about my spirituality in ways I hadn’t been able to before. For once, I don’t feel like I’m stealing time in order to do the things that fill my cup. I am being cared for by all of the people I love and most of all I am learning compassion and self-love in a deeper way which I will take with me for the rest of my life and hopefully pass on to my children.

My physical yoga practice is so different. I have been on my mat every single day since my surgery. I have modified my practice and I have been in the asanas I struggled with the most – stillness in savasana? Camel that is merely looking up without the effort to reach my heels? And I have learned that ease, love, compassion, and breath will bring my body back into balance. (I am aware that I will probably keel over the first time I attempt a power yoga class when I am well…but that’s a problem for another day).

I have learned gratitude; to ask for help; to receive help; to receive the outpouring of love with a feeling of worthiness.

Each moment has become more sweet. Losing my father in my twenties taught me to always appreciate and enjoy life…perhaps, somewhere along the way of having kids, managing a career and a marriage some of that lesson was lost…Life has a way of making sure we stay true to the lessons learned…

This time at home has afforded me so much on my path to full health, and I can’t help but think, perhaps this forced journey to health was a blessing in disguise.

Fidgeting and Fussing

At yoga practice, the instructor made a comment about the ways we tend to distract ourselves on our mat when we find a pose difficult or challenging or perhaps, in our perception, too easy. If we pay attention, we can see these tendencies off the mat.

Now that my understanding of yoga practice and philosophy have deepened, I understand that whatever I face on the mat is exactly what I need and where I need to be.

My mat reminds me to stay when things are difficult. My mat reminds me to rest and be kind to myself when things are easy.

This is a valuable lesson for my writing life. I am currently overwhelmed by all I’ve discovered about what I don’t know. And, I know, there is still so much I don’t know that I don’t know…yet.

I fidget and fuss by researching and researching and researching some more. When in reality, I just need to go through this step-by-step and address issues as they come up. I fidget and fuss by not allowing myself to absorb the small victories in this writing and publishing process. I read and re-read, edit and re-edit, go into highs and lows of this is awesome! to what am I doing?

As a first-time writer of historical romance, and long-time lover of reading it, I am proud of the way my book has fared in contests. I have received incredible praise and feedback from judges. I am proud of the incredible and detailed rejection letters I’ve received. I’m proud of having worked with an editor from Harlequin Historical because she loved my book. All of this from a question late one night a few years ago after finishing one of my many regency novels…I wonder if I can do this?

I am just about finished the final edit. And, I know it is the final edit because it feels right. It has been through multiple reads from friends to complete strangers to editors and all feedback and research I’ve discovered about historical romance and editing fiction along the way has been applied.

Capturing a Countess’ Heart is ready.

Next steps: continue blogging, formatting my book…and something I’m really excited about, commissioning my cover! I’m sure I’ll find ways to fidget and fuss throughout each of these processes – but, my process is my own. And, in recognizing my tendencies, I can use them to my advantage instead of letting them deter me.

How do you fidget and fuss to avoid accepting where you on your journey?

Suo Jure. Wait. What?

What does this mean?

in his/her own right  â€”used especially following the title of a noblewoman to specify that she holds the title independently of her husband

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I love the idea of women having some kind of opportunity to be themselves in a world so defined by patriarchy.

So, when I started toying with the idea of a protagonist who is a Countess and not a widow, I immediately began to research how this could be possible in an era such as the Regency.

Apparently, it was completely possible. Some women received the designation for life only. Which meant the title was for the duration of the Lady’s life and her children would not inherit said title or lands. A well-known peeress in her own right was Her Grace Lady Henrietta Godolphin Duchess of Marlborough, whom inherited her father’s title as a Duchess of the realm.

Once I realized that being a peeress in her own right wasn’t quite so outlandish, distinct yes, but not out of the realm of possibility, the character for my first novel would not let me go.

My protagonist is a Countess in her own right. And, interestingly enough, when I was plagued by doubt while writing her, I was also in the midst of marathon watching one of my all-time favourite shows, Downton Abbey and it was as if the universe had a special message for me.

If you know the show, you know the show! In a short scene near the end of the third season, Robert (Earl of Grantham) describes the family structure of his cousin and her husband, Shrimpy. Apparently, his grandmother was a Countess in her own right. He actually used those words! Well, then I knew I was absolutely on to something.

So, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Ashbury, Countess of Bentwick in her own right took flight. And, does she ever soar.

How do you feel about a Lady in the Regency era having a title of her own, even if for life only?

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