Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: challenges

Just Breathe

I find all of the om-mimicking “just breathe” quotes plastered on the web incredibly annoying. Telling one’s self to “just breathe” when one doesn’t have a practice or space between the frustrations and the thinking of this phrase feels like such a slap in the face. Like, it’s another thing my mind uses to boss me around…

If you would just breathe through it, honey, this wouldn’t be so bad… aka if you were just stronger, more organized, in better shape, had more money, thought ahead more, etc we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Sheesh.

Telling myself to “just breathe” used to make me feel much much worse. And now when I see friends put it in status updates, I just want to hug them and say, “No. Don’t just breathe. Feel it. Feel every crappy thing you’re feeling. And take a break. And cry. And go for a walk. And give yourself some space. Call a friend. Take a nap. Do something for yourself that is nurturing, not abusive”.

Bit dramatic, I know, but this is about allowing ourselves what we need. And ending the knuckle-down options. This has a lot to do with my yoga practice, so stay with me.

Two weeks ago, I gave myself a small challenge – yoga for 5 days in a row.

I made it 4 days, and they weren’t easy, but they weren’t hard. My favorite part of classes is when the teacher says things like “Honor where you’re at” and “It’s not supposed to be easy, but stay with your breathing”. In this space, I feel like they’re giving me permission to do what I need, to choose the beginner or more challenging modification. To lay in child’s pose for the entire class if I so choose.

Because I don’t give myself this type of permission in my usual day. Even the act of doing yoga feels like a luxury.

We all have an inner dialogue, some people’s friendlier than others. Mine can be like living with an insane person. Insane. There is an incessant mix of self-deprecation, Nazi-like commands and random music playing all.the.time.

Yoga brings me back to myself. It’s like someone takes the volume of the voice in my head and turns it way down. And I’m given space to honor me.

I practiced at home 6 times over the past two weeks. And I attended one amazing class with a friend. And I’m looking forward to practicing again today.

Let me tell you, all of that deep breathing really helps.

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Do you have a yoga practice? Do you practice at home or at a studio? If you have a favorite website or studio in LA – please share in the comments. I love resources. Currently, I use yogatoday.com and took a class at InYoga Center.

Replace Numbing with Relaxing

I think of personal developments, especially the kind of self-awareness that comes via therapy, as an upward spiral staircase. You continually pass over the same places but you’re a few rungs higher each time. As one place in your life constricts, others may open. My black and white thinking can pull me out of this ebb and flow. If one thing is going poorly, it seems everything is. I’m sucked into the drama and I can’t detach.

This weekend I felt so stressed, unable to explain it or shake it off. I was faced with a conversation that I dreaded, worries that it would escalate into a fight, knowing I had to somehow stand my ground. Even though I found myself shaking, shivering and being extremely uncomfortable during the whole thing, it all worked out. Relief.

And just as life hands you one challenge after another, I found myself faced with another conflict today, one in which I couldn’t do much to resolve (so frustrating). With the help of my man, I was able to get some sleep. With the help of the mantra, “Just listen. Be present” I was able to stay with the conversation and give what I could.

I know I’m being vague (still trying to figure out how to navigate my life online and, really, how to tell my story). The point is that in the past 3 days I’ve tried new approaches to confrontation and how I treat myself within these situations. Which brings me to today’s DreamLab focus: Numbing.

List of default habits that I use to numb my emotions:

  • Eating, especially sugar
  • Caffeine consumption, especially in the form of sugared tea or flavored lattes
  • Sleeping. The more stressed I am, the more sleep I need, but I also use it to avoid thinking and therefore feeling
  • Continuously doing the next “productive” thing on my To Do list, instead of giving myself a relaxing break
  • Talking too much on the phone with certain people
  • Dicking around on the internet, especially checking email (especially on my phone) when I don’t have to (this boarders on self-abusive)

It feels extremely difficult to give up even one of these items, especially as PMS starts to creep in. It’s only for a few days though. My hope is to avoid the sugared tea. We’ll start there. More importantly, I continue to replace numbing actions with positive ones:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Working out, especially getting outside for a run
  • (Relaxing) conversations with people
  • Reading
  • Snapping photos
  • Blogging
  • Snacking on fruit and drinking herbal tea
  • Taking a bath

There’s more to say, but not right now. The important thing is that I am proud of myself for the work I’ve done the past few days. I’m learning… and really, that’s all we can do.

Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab: play, practice, learn

Challenging | Walter’s Wiggles

Triumphant, but only half-way

There are all sorts of challenges in life – physical, emotional, project, interactive – but really it comes down to how we view these challenges. By view, I mean think about them – the name we give them, the context we think they exist in, how our feelings about our past and our future attach themselves to the current issue at hand.

My significant other retitled homework assignments as “learning opportunities”. Sounds a lot more inviting now, doesn’t it?

After my last post, I’ve kept up working with Inquiry and it’s helping. A lot. I don’t have the energy to go into it now, but I can say it’s allowed me to take a leap professionally, however small, that I didn’t want to take. Or, thought I didn’t want to take.

If you’ve ever hiked Zion’s Angels Landing hike you’d know that the thrill of the view, the summit, is so worth the fear of falling over the edge at any moment… but what I want to write about right here is Walter’s Wiggles.

Walter’s Wiggles is a series of 21-switchbacks that make your thighs explode. This is also the last section of the trail before the open landing of Scout Lookout and the beginning of the Angels Landing trail. Of course, the goal is to ascend Angels Landing and have a wide-reaching, stunning view of the canyon. Which I did. But that’s for another post.

Because tomorrow I am facing a symbolic Walter’s Wiggles in my own tiny career path. No, it’s not the tricky summit or the steady climb of the path, but a quick bunch of hoops to jump through on my way to bigger, grander things.

So, it’ll be OK if I don’t make it past this juncture. Climbing the Wiggles and making it to the open space of Scout Lookout probably could have been enough. I’ve learned it’s important to celebrate the milestones. To climb the ladder one rung at a time. And while I hope this trail leads to another more challenging route, I am just happy I’m moving, putting one foot in front of the other, and not feeling that sticky stagnant depression.

Life has its plans for me and I’m willing to see them unfold.