Hello My Friends....
How are you doing?
How are you really doing?
How are your thoughts? Your energy? Your physical body feeling?
Are you sleeping restfully?
Have you settled into a groove or level of acceptance with the isolation?
The big question.... Have you been able to persevere through the monotony of life's circumstances while in the dead of winter, and still smile??
Let me say, I feel you and I see you....I'm here too!
I feel like the little circus monkey that is beating the drum with one hand while rubbing the top of his head in a circular motion with the other, stomping on the symbols with one foot, and hopping on the other foot....blindfolded to boot!! OHHHH and lets add yelling HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY every day when you wake up just for fun! (as you read that please add my sarcastic tone right?!).
Being happy or grounded at this time this is not a small task my friends, not for the faint of heart that is for sure! It takes a courage of a momma bear protecting her young, the strength of a lion defending his pride, and the perseverance of all humanity trying to stay safe and protect our loved ones one day at a time!
I won't lie.....I have struggled this time around. I have spent days in the house riddled with sadness, despair and grief, struggling to get out of my PJ's and make my bed. Days have felt like years and the loneliness settled in quickly this time, unlike the last quarantine where it didn't seem that bad. As the snow melted last March/April, I remember saying to my family 'wow that wasn't that bad...we kinda enjoyed the time together reinventing ourselves'. Sometimes it felt like I was intimately connected to everyone's sadness, pain, suffering and fear and couldn't help. It felt as though they were all sitting on top of my shoulders, and snuggled in bed with me as I slept, had coffee with me in the morning, worked out with me. I couldn't get away from them all. And no matter how hard I tried, personally or professionally, I still couldn't connect.
I just trying to do my best.
So what to do? Anyone that knows me knows I wouldn't just give in to all of that nasty that easily. Not to say that I don't have my down days or days that I'm just a grumpy bear that needs to stay hidden in my den. I don't hide my emotions very well so trust me when I say hiding in my house is best for all sometimes.LOL
What I do to stay in check with my emotions, my thoughts,, my body and my life!
1. Do something to increase your heart rate everyday! I WALK
(and do some form of strength training)
Everyday I go outside for a walk, usually a substantial walk of 6-10km. If I cannot get outside to walk for whatever reason I walk inside, around the house the bedrooms, up and down the stairs....anything to add steps into my day for at least an hour a day. And YES I will walk at night around my island while watching TV just so I can beat my husband in his steps. I do one walk for my physical and emotional body and one walk for my mental body.
Walking is a fantastic way to increase your cardiovascular health, decrease your stress by burning off stagnant energy in the body from the day/week, reduces excessive body fat, boost muscle and endurance and strengthens bones.
My first walk allows me to socialize safely with a friend and stay connected!!! Since the beginning of COVID, like many of you, I have craved connection. If you have read my previous blog on 'my journey' you will understand I am a lost soul without connection. Connection with people helps grounds me, it allows my heart to speak, connection gives me purpose and provides a sense of wholeness. SOOOO.....I am blessed to have a few incredible people in my life that craves the outdoors, exercise and connection like me. We walk and talk and solve the worlds problems....oh and sometimes we take travellers I wont lie. Whatever you need to get you through the day right?
What do you do to get your heart rate going everyday?
If you don't that's OK....your just doing your best in the moment.
What do you do for your body everyday?
2. For my thoughts and my brain I MEDITATE.
(enter stage left the justification of my second walk in a day...just me no dogs or people)
This is a new phenomenon for me. Until the beginning of COVID I would teach meditation in my yoga studio, offer guided mediation in my classes, boast about the benefits of mediation ....but I never did it myself (insert feeling shame and guilt for this). However, I justified this by telling myself I was benefiting through osmosis when I was guiding others. But never did it for myself.....hmmmm
Previously, I had many misconceived notions of what mediation really was. I thought meditation was sitting still with eyes closed while trying to think of nothing.....are you kidding me??? It wasn't until I truly needed help for myself that I opened to what meditation could BE FOR ME! At that time I was consumed by my life's circumstances, overwhelming sadness, despair, loneliness, grief and the incessant nattering that had taken command of my every thought. I was desperate for the healing of the meditation practice, the calmness, the focus.... and THE QUIET IN MY HEAD.
For me meditation is time where I can release energy from my thoughts and my body. I need to move, sitting still does not feel good for my body, so I do a walking meditation. Every meditation for me is a walking meditation. When I move I am able to release unwanted energy from my tissues, joints and clears my brain. I would walk and plug into an incredible app called INSIGHT TIMER...my new best friend. It took some time but I was able to find the meditations that were mine, exactly what I needed to hear and offered a path for me as I began to heal from the inside out.
At times you could see me with my eyes barely open, kept my gaze soft and to the ground as to not focus on one thing, just enough to not fall. I found myself lost in 'not thinking' just listening, or following instruction as I vocalized and mimicked the narrator or just standing there and cried until all the pain was gone. I'm sure that my fellow forest walkers didn't know what to do when they saw this woman standing holding a tree crying her eyes out. The forest or nature is a powerful force. Its a grounding force of energy and strength, the quiet allows you to hear, the ecosystem reminds us on how we all are connected to each other and all things through an intricate web of roots and roles. Everything there happens for a reason and as it should. There is no judgment or expectation, just existence. It is the perfect place to feel our connection to life and feel alive.
What do you do for your mental health?
What is your favourite meditation? How do you meditate?
3. Stay connected and talk to family and friends, read, sing, dance, AND YOGA
(helps me keep the 'crazy' in check)
Now again, anyone that knows me knows I absolutely detest using the word 'crazy' to describe what goes on in my head. What happens in my head is not a result of being 'crazy'. What happens in my head in not intentional thought processes that can be easily stopped, changed or controlled. I am not 'over emotional' nor am I a 'hot mess' (I love that one the best and I do use it from time to time). The best way to describe my 'crazy' is from the words of my favourite self help guru Brene Brown, a brilliant shame researcher and human. This book truly transformed my perspective. Through her audio book, The Power of Vulnerability (2012) I was able to see my 'crazy' for what they truly were.....GREMLINS and for the first time and helped me to see my true power. I listened and studied her audio book as I walked around the island of my kitchen during COVID March (2020) and I was in awe of Brene Browns brilliance. Her stories and narrative spoke to me so deeply and I finally understood in a way I never did before. I no longer internalized with the stuff in my head, no longer identified with the thoughts or feelings in my head....they all were just my gremlins, the triggers that illuminated the shadows in my mind (conscious and unconscious mind). For the first time I felt in control of my mind...that I was normal and not 'crazy'. Being aware of my gremlins gave me power and perspective to finally understand and nurture these shadows/fears/skeletons (insert your words for your stuff).
Through this revelation is when I truly found a new connection and surrender to my yoga practice and teachings. Each movement within each practice is crafted to open our body temple and allows us to illuminate and release the shadows or gremlins that hide within and cause suffering. The practice was birthed out of the desire to move unwanted energy from the body/mind and bring about peace, balance, clarity, strength and build resilience. So simple yet complex right?
And sadly we must acknowledge and accept that the journey of self realization and growth may include loss, a letting go of the things in your life that no longer serve you. This task is not easy. Be courageous to change the things that do not serve the new healthier person. From changing routines, breaking old habits, changing jobs to sadly letting go of friends that just don't fit anymore. Choosing change means choosing you and your needs, your desires, your safety, your ideals, your voice, your creativity, your mental health!
YOU PUT LOVING YOU FIRST!
....and that's what you do! Find the support you need and do whatever it takes to get you there. Talk or video with a loved one everyday, walk with a new friend daily until she turns into that person you cant go a day without talking to (XO), dance while you clean your house, drive your car with your music loud, create daily rituals for yourself to grounds you and allows you to feel self love, and for the love of all things sacred find a yoga practice for you!!!
Yoga moves energy in your body, it liberates your inside voice, awakens your spirit, ignites your internal flame, empowers your thoughts, strengthens your body temple in every way and the best part it will help you get out of your head and into your body!!
Oh and if you happen to walk in a forest and come across a woman (or any person) crying as she is touching or hugging a tree, send them love, they are just doing their best.
I would love to hear which books you have read that have been your gift to yourself, a must read.
What do you do for yourself to heal? to stay connected? to get the 'crazy' out?
I know this journey is hard, I would be honoured if you shared your journey with me.....