There is nothing in life that is certain, but most of the time our days flow in a predictable pattern, and that routine is comforting.
Right now I feel as if I decided to climb into a rain barrel and allowed someone to push me from the edge of Niagara Falls.
I made the choice to quit a job I had been at for a long time, I brought a puppy into our home, a couple of the boys moved out, and then one moved back in and brought their cat, I'm starting a new job, and I just sprained my foot on my third day at said new job! We need to sell our house, which will be another big change, and none of this is routine. Even good changes can be frightening, and so I find myself slipping into eating disordered behaviors. Relapse is part of recovery, but I thought I was past relapsing. It is difficult not to be disappointed in myself, especially when I'm working in a recovery facility. Beating up on myself is not helpful, and actually gives the eating disorder more power. Silence gives it power as well, and more than anything, I'm trying to let go of shame.
I have been going through an intense trauma training in order to work in a psychiatric facility, but the training is bringing up my own trauma, which is painful. It makes me doubt myself, and if I have chosen the right path. I feel passionate about teaching yoga as a powerful tool for healing. I know I can help people, but I have to find a way to seperate from my pain while doing this job, otherwise I'm going to be in a world of hurt.
I have had to slow down while trying to heal my foot, but that gives me more time with myself, more time to ruminate, and so here I am, writing through all of it.
Deep down, I know I can do this, and that everything will work out the way it is meant to happen. I have not arrived in this exact place without a reason. If I expect myself to be perfect, I most certainly will fail. If I believe that others expect perfection, I will also fail. I may tumble all of the way down, beaten and bruised, but smooth waters await if I can have faith and patience through this journey. I can only be honest with myself and others. I don't want to feel alone, and silence is a lonely place to live. It is okay to be exactly where I am, but if I keep it to myself, and hide my struggles, no one can help me. If I've learned anything through this recovery of self, it is that asking for help is crucial for healing to occur. I have so many more tools other than an eating disorder to fall back on, and this blog is one of them. I stopped writing because I was afraid to be honest, and afraid of letting people down.
I haven't posted here lately, although I still write everyday.
I'm feeling more private, and not as open about sharing.
My navigation system is somewhat faulty at times...
I slept fitfully last night with nightmares of being held down and trapped.
Those dreams are nothing new, but they often come when I am feeling unsafe in the world.
The senseless massacre in Orlando weighs heavy on my heart.
I was reading the listed names of the victims in a news article this morning while in the waiting room of a car dealership having my car serviced, and when I made it to the last name, I suddenly burst into tears.
The horror hit me right away when the news broke, but it takes time for the reality to sink in.
Real people, with lives, and families, and possibilities, all gunned down...
When tragedies such as this take place, it is a helpless feeling, and of course, it is natural to want the world to make sense.
Hating what makes someone different from you doesn't make sense.
Violence doesn't make sense, and I don't care to ever understand.
Love, compassion, and unity make sense, and so tonight when I teach my restorative yoga class, I hope that through community, we can all spread peaceful energy.
The only way to begin to heal the world is by beginning with ourselves.
Teach love and compassion in your home, let your family and friends know how much you love them, educate yourself so that ignorance doesn't stand in the way of understanding and compassion, and when in doubt, be kind anyway.
I am in a strange place in my life, and I'm not even sure if I have the ability to articulate it here. Often the reason I write is to help me make better sense of not only this world, but my place within the confusion.
I haven't written here in a couple of weeks, and at first it was because I wasn't feeling well physically.
Of course, it is normal for that to carry over into not feeling well emotionally, but that sinking feeling of the blues can be terrifying for someone prone to depression and anxiety.
My yoga practice is how
I center myself, and how I reconnect physically and emotionally, but my body was too tired.
I easily fall into a self-critical thought pattern, and I decided that just because my physical practice was on hiatus, I could still meditate.
That would be my yoga practice...
I still have so much to learn!
The problem with sitting in a silent meditation for me, with only my breath, is that I dissociate.
I'm a pro at leaving my body, so that was not working.
Instead of using an alternative, I berated myself for not being able to meditate "right."
I asked a friend from teacher's training, who specializes in meditation, and also happens to be a psychologist, if I should continue to keep trying.
Even though in my heart, I knew I should find an alternative, like guided meditation, I needed someone else to tell me it was okay, and she did. I don't have to be perfect. I need joy to teach yoga, but joy was missing. I get stuck in a feeling, and fear that it will last forever. I'm definitely not the most rational person in the world. I talk the talk, but I do not always walk the walk.
I should mention that one by one, our boys are moving out. Every morning, I walk by empty bedrooms, and although I love that they are moving toward independence, it is different...
I will be 50 in August... am I even a grown up? I'm still working on that, so it feels incongruous with reality. I'm taking my sweet time... I want everything! I want to take care of myself, but to be coddled, and it changes from moment to moment.
Is this how you feel?
Do you feel like your heart is breaking from joy and pain, and that you don't even know the difference?
I noticed the fatigue, the aching, the tightness in my chest suggesting a panic attack was imminent. I knew I needed to slow down, and had even planned a spring break breather. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my body is on it's own schedule, and spring break wasn't soon enough. The first sign was an unattractive fever blister, followed by the full blown flu. Thank you, Universe! I get it! There is always a lesson, and as my life came to a halt, I had no choice but to listen.
I love being a caregiver. If you give me a chance, I will wrap you in a warm hug, and tell you how amazing you are. I'm not nearly as comfortable being the recipient, and that may be an understatement. While being sick, my lovely friends offered support, soup, pep talks, and love. When asked if I needed anything, I refused. It didn't matter. I was still well taken care of. I was embraced with care at every turn. Complete strangers cared for me, and it brought me to tears. I have arthritis in my hips, and I needed a steroid injection. On Monday morning, I went to the pain clinic here in town, ready for the giant, terrifying needle. The nurse who checked me in was soft spoken, and kind. She asked if I wanted a warm blanket while I waited. I said, "No, thank you." She draped a warm blanket over me anyway, placed her hand on mine, and smiled. The doctor and his assistant came in and talked with me. The assistant was a yoga teacher, so we chit chatted about yoga, and then she took me back to the doctor. Everyone was incredibly kind, and that kindness began to swell inside of me. That swelling feeling usually means tears, but I fought the good fight. I had the injection, and afterwards, again they asked if I wanted a blanket, or juice.
"No, no, I'm fine, but thank you..."
Still, I was covered with a cozy blanket, and handed a cup of orange juice. My blood pressure was taken a few times, and when I was on my way out, the nurse who had been with me the most grinned, and whispered, "What is your favorite color?" She disappeared, and then returned with two pale purple tulips wrapped in green tissue paper. My throat was tight, but I managed to thank her as I left with my husband. I'm uncomfortable with people caring about me, but it touched me deeply, and it made me think of how often I refuse kindness. Why? It is wonderful! As if that wasn't enough, when I returned to the studio to teach yoga on Thursday, my students were the sweetest! At the end of my class, I found two students cleaning up my room, and sweeping the floor for me. Accepting care feels awkward , but I am deserving of care, and as always, I learn from strangers, as well as my friends, family, and students.
This life is...
"The person you'll have the hardest time opening to and truly loving without reserve is yourself. Once you can do that, you can love the whole universe unconditionally."
I have been in pain for weeks, clenching my jaw through yoga practices, and doing the opposite of what I tell my students to do, which is to listen to and honor their bodies. It isn't the first time I have pushed through pain. Emotionally and physically, it is how I lived for a very long time. Although recovered from anorexia, the toll it took on my body has left my bones and joints weak from osteoporosis. I developed osteoarthritis specifically in my hip joints, and eventually they will both need to be replaced. I manage the pain with medication, but occasionally need steroid injections to decrease the inflammation. I have been teaching a lot of classes, and physically exhausting myself. The added pain is wearing me down. I went in to see the orthopedic surgeon, and the nurse took my temperature. I had a fever of 101.8. I have no idea why. I don't have a cold or anything. I just feel exhausted. I love teaching yoga, but it is difficult when you don't feel well. I'm feeling down today because I couldn't get the injection with a fever. I started to beat myself up with negative self talk, as if the anorexia was a choice, and I brought this all on myself. I know better, but I went there for awhile. Eating disorders are mental illnesses, and not a choice. I don't deserve to be in pain, and I worked hard to get where I am today. I gave myself a pep talk, and I know it will all work itself out as long as I don't allow myself to be defeated by my own mind. Impeccable self care is needed, along with compassion and patience. All of those are a challenge for me, but I can do it!
It began as a recovery journal and has evolved into a space for poetry
and how yoga was the catalyst for my healing
but it is no longer about my destruction
My identity is not the many diagnoses I have procured throughout the years
I am not anorexic or a PTSD acronym
depressed or suicidal
I am not manic or bi-polar
I am not a label
I am a person... sometimes happy
and sometimes sad
I am scared, overwhelmed, giddy, and devastated
I am human
I am joyful, and insecure
doubtful, and filled with hope...
We are all a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors
and when our colors radiate out
the magnificence blinds me
My identity is more complex than all of those meaningless descriptors and yet we can easily allow ourselves to become trapped inside of empty boxes
We begin to wear these labels as an excuse and although they can be necessary for treatment they are not meant to be crippling What if we began describing ourselves by our abilities and not our supposed disabilities? Try something different If all you ever talk about are your illnesses your pain and why you can't do something trust me; you are pushing people away and it is not because people don't care At a certain point if you do not move beyond those lifeless adjectives you will drown in them You deserve a life filled with a mosaic of beautiful colors so begin painting your world with a new pallete and see what happens Artwork by~ Carol Cavalaris