Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

Standard
Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Always begin with the breath – take it   d e e p   and   s l o w. Your body dances when you breath mindfully.

2. Post your intentions. Sing them, chant them, have FUN with them, do art with them!

3. Make the ACTION LIST. Do the EASY items first.

4. Work through the IMPOSSIBLE.

The items left seem IMPOSSIBLE or they wouldn’t still be waiting for attention. Getting to the root of IMPOSSIBLE will take time, effort, and, emotional attention. Healing these roots will make all the difference in the current situation and create different outcomes in the future. The same old shit won’t trigger you into fear-based thinking. I am cheering you through this shift – it is such a worthwhile journey.

Fear is an awesome manufacturer of procrastination. Likewise, anger can be an awesome springboard for action.

I give you permission to be pissed at the situation or circumstances. Allow the emotions to flow. Just take the piss (and the victim) out of your voice once you are enlisting the help of others. The goal is to navigate this with as much grace and healing as possible, which means how to treat others through this process is important. Keep your civility and integrity intact.

When facing the IMPOSSIBLE, it is time to remember you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, learning how to ask and receive help might be an important lesson for you. It certainly was for me. Now is the time to reach into your toolbox or see a practitioner that can help you find the source of pain, hurt or trauma that is probably at the root of IMPOSSIBLE. For me, Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT or Tapping) is a wonderful self-help tool that will take me to the root of my blockage. Use what works for you. I also highly recommend therapy and counseling professionals that can help you navigate shitty times especially if you have PTSD, complex trauma, anxiety disorder, or severe depression. I have a history of all of these and the professionals in my life always helped me pull through. Remember, it is Your Turn to give yourself the experience of courage and freedom using whatever tools make you feel safe and comfortable.

Simple solutions that have used: I made an appointment with a close friend and ask them to be with me during the hard part, whether it was a phone call or appointment. Sometimes all I need is an accountability friend. I ask them to poke me to make sure it got done when I promised it would be done. I have friends that would just let me talk about the possibilities out loud, sometimes giving helpful suggestions, but mostly listening. Talking it through (out loud to yourself even!) can be an important shift. Make a list of trusted professionals, friends, and family members that you can call upon as you navigate this shit storm.

As you read through the IMPOSSIBLE ACTION ITEMS, I have some self-help tools to share:

Where do you feel the tension in your body? What happens if you breath into this space? Use the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath to open up space in your body and mind to navigate this differently than you have before.

Notice your self-talk during this process. Can it be addressed by one of the new intentions you created?

What personality of fear is showing up right now? Panic, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, anger, shame, guilt, intimidation? Stretch your body – do any movement that will help your body let go of the physical tension that has been launched. Dance, shake, laugh, walk, run, stretch and be vocal during this process.

If you feel comfortable doing this alone, ask yourself what is the earliest memory you have of feeling just like this. This might be the root of this trigger. Once you have identified a situation (typically from childhood or young adulthood) then start using the tools you know to begin to work through this old hurt. Again, totally cool to work through this with a pro if that feels best.

Journaling is a great tool right now. It can be as simple as a list of how you are feeling. You can send an email to your self or use pen and paper. I believe your body needs for you to acknowledge these feelings and emotions to begin the healing process. Here are some prompts:

This makes me feel ____ or feel like ______ or remember ______
I don’t know why but this word/action/emotion makes me ________
When I think of ______ I hear/smell/taste/feel/see _______
My <body part> hurts and has a message for me ___________

Honor yourself with some yoga. Find a community that takes care of themselves and you will find a community that cares about you.

This is part 4 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Advertisements

Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

Standard
Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance into your body and mind. Practice yoga.

2. Define your intentions using Contrast and Clarity statements. Let these begin to saturate your awareness and open up your energy to a new way of living and being. More yoga.

3. Take action.

Whatever your situation is, chances are that you have some literal action steps to take to find resolution. Make a list of all the things you can think of to help resolve the mess and create a desirable outcome. If you don’t know literally what to do to solve your problem, gather information. Google it – we have so much information at our fingertips. Read up on the topic if it is foreign to you. Call professionals.

I once took advantage of a legal firms free consultation only to have the attorney tell me I didn’t need to hire him because I had done the action steps needed and just needed to continue on the path I had started. I went to see him because I had let self-doubt creep in and decided I should use a pro. I love the integrity of that attorney!

Now that you have your ACTION LIST we are going to use a simple green light, yellow light, and red light system to get them done. Is there one or two that are time sensitive? Prioritize and tackle these first. (Don’t worry if one of these is a red light item, I cover that in the next post.)

Go through the list and highlight or circle all the actions items that are EASY for you literally, emotionally, and mentally. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for them to be completed. Do one of these items today to experience success.

Go through the list and highlight or star all the actions items that require a measure of RESOLVE for you to complete. With each item note what the obstacle is: logistical, emotional, mental. Sometimes success on our EASY items make this set of items seem more do-able. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for these to be completed.

I know, there are still items on your list. We cover the IMPOSSIBLE tomorrow. For today, stay focused on what you can accomplish.

As you talk to folks that you need to talk to, such as, the banker, the lawyer, the social worker, etc. Be polite, kind, humble, grateful, courteous, and NOT a VICTIM. Lots of situations in life make us feel victimized and I am here to challenge you to not be a victim in the way you to talk to people. Listen to yourself as you talk, be mindful of statements that blame others or lead you to shift responsibility. You will recognize it when you hear it.

You are not a victim anymore. You are taking charge of the situation. Also, do not be self-condemning in your statements, nor shame-based in your language. You are being pro-active now – you deserve to hold your head up during this clean-up process. Intimidation is often projected in shit-storms and you can choose to not be intimidated. Shake it off – don’t allow someone’s judgment of you to enter your head. I will cover strategies that will help you let all of these things go in future posts.

Last, but not least, before you make these phone calls, I am going to suggest you set the intention to forgive yourself for being in this shit-storm. Begin thinking that this is all going to work out and release yourself from those harsh judgments that just cause headaches, stomach upset, inflammation, and a host of other dis-eases.

My experiences with shit-storms have taught me alot about myself and how I grab onto responsibility that is not mine and how I carried shame and guilt with me everywhere. I learned how to allow my fear to just exist and found it helpful to acknowledge it when talking to the person that is assisting me, when appropriate. I way over apologized too – I had so many regrets, but regrets are the contrast – let them go.

I allowed myself to be in the shit-storms of bankruptcy and foreclosure. I say allowed, because I believe that I could have chosen differently and had different outcomes. In the end, neither killed me. In fact, I sold my house and got a bit of the equity. The stress was overwhelming at times, but I would pull back and make a list and do what was EASY to work up the energy to do the IMPOSSIBLE. (We cover the IMPOSSIBLE in the next post.)

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Fantastic! Go again. No? Seriously, get on it. Today is a great day to connect with your Self in the practice of yoga. There are so many types of yoga and thousands of teachers. Did you try it once and not like it? Try it again! A different teacher and a different type can make all the difference. Let yoga be part of your new life.

This is part 3 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

Aside
Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance in. Do yoga.

2. Define your intentions.

It might seem silly to have to articulate “I would like to move past this pile of shit I am sitting in.” However, knowing what you DO want is an important part of the process. Taking time to reflect on what you don’t like often helps create the list of what you do like.

Make a contrast and desire list: I don’t like how this shit smells turns into I really like the smell of roses and lilacs. Feel free to tear off the ‘don’t like’ half of the page and have a burning ceremony. At the very least cut it off and keep the ‘like’ portion of the page to help you define your intentions.

This is a critical step that helps create a sense of safety. Be clear about your boundaries for self-work. Feel free to use the general intentions below as a guide to get started, however, I encourage you to re-write them to reflect you and your language, thoughts, and desires. Add in the important aspects of what you are working on being as specific as possible. I wrote out some intentions regarding healing from childhood trauma that you might find useful.

When reviewing my stinky shit, I only want to address the aspects of it that are critical to my moving past it. (Contrast statement: I don’t want to wallow in this any longer than I need to.)

When I feel stuck, I am choosing to be open to new solutions, especially ones that stretch and flex my Self in different ways. (Contrast statement: I have done this before and this revolving door is getting old.)

If a core belief of mine is challenged during this work, I am open to changing a core belief. (Contrast statement: I like looking at the same four walls, it has given me safety, but I am feeling very limited.)

When I feel stuck, I am open to asking for help and support from the appropriate resources. (Contrast statement: I don’t know how to get out of this shit alone. I keep trying and not succeeding.)

All during this healing process (yep, this is called healing) I am expecting the next right action step to feel natural and intuitive. (Contrast statement: I never know what to do next, I circle and spin but don’t do anything because I am afraid it is the wrong thing to do.)

I am going to surround myself with people and messages of hope, change, transformation, support, and love. (Contrast statement: Everyone I know is in this same shit or something that smells just as awful. Some of them have been wallowing in it for years.)

Remember, these are just samples – create your own. Words are just as powerful as our breath. Use them mindfully.

There is so much more living waiting for us – it doesn’t always come easy. There is pain in life, this much we know. Let’s start a healing revolution and inspire everyone to work with the aches and pains of life to find freedom and happiness. We won’t get there alone or in the same box of shit, but we can create a kinder, gentler life.

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Go again. No? Get on it. It is never too late to start yoga. Read stories on Huffington Post about yoga changing lives through Give Back Yoga Foundation

This is part 2 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

Day 1: Yoga of Self-Care

Standard
Day 1: Yoga of Self-Care

Ok, so the shit has hit the fan and you are in a mess – emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and/or mentally. The only thinking happening is panic induced:
“Help. I need help.”
“What the Fuck – really? Now?”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
“I am so tired of feeling attacked.”

 

Hit the pause button of your thoughts. Take an extra   s l o w   and   d e e p   breath – hold it for a moment – then release it slowly and completely. Make noise, or not. Do it again and allow a mantra to enter your mental space, such as peace and calm. Use it on the inhale and let the exhale take away as much stuckness as you are able to muster. Do it again for as long as you want, knowing that your breath, is your life force. Intentional breathing can help you co-create your homeostasis, your balance. Your body wants, and needs, you to pitch in and help out here.

Use this space you have given yourself, tiny as it may seem, to keep moving forward; to co-create a mental space that will provide a foundation for healing the shit-space you feel taking over right now. This is a critical mass moment – consider yourself in the ICU – cancel any non-urgent appointments and obligations to invest time in yourself. Now it is Your Turn as Guru Seth Godin, would say.

Too often we fail to do this – I know, I used to be the master of busy. It was far easier to show up for someone else than it was to show up for myself. I let life happen to me rather than taking charge. I deferred and procrastinated the ICU matters of my life until someone else made the choices for me or until the situation had deteriorated to such an extent that my options were severely limited. This is not Self-care. This is not, as a recent guru put it, Devotion to Self.

Have you ever been in a hard yoga pose? It takes an enormous amount of attention to hold that position. There is no choice but to be fully present in your body – the vehicle for movement, momentum, changing directions. This latest shit storm? It is your hard yoga pose. I know, it stinks and is terribly uncomfortable in all ways, but I am suggesting you “sit with your shit.” Being grounded and present and in your body is the first step to creating the life you desire.

I know you will find fertilizer for new growth and potential far beyond your imagined limitations of today.

Last, but not least, head for the nearest yoga class, immerse yourself in yourself, and find seeds of faith, hope, strength, courage, resiliency, wisdom, and love for your Self.

This is part 1 of a 7 part series on Self-Care.

Rocket Fuel

Standard
Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel

My friend

Is very quiet

As a child he talked

A lot

Car trip to grandma’s

His 5 year old mind liked to think

Out loud

Mama said, “Be quiet!”

Words = energy

Mama said, “Be quiet or I will put you out of the car!”

Contained thoughts burned his insides

Like fuel

There was no countdown

The rocket fuel was just too strong he reckons

Car stops

Mama takes him out

Dust settles

No traffic

Alone

Roadside bushes befriend him

My friend took apart his rocket

Buried the pieces

Swallowed the fuel

After forever, Mama returned

Grandma visited

Let the fuel flow

I will listen

Valuable words

One of a kind thoughts

Beautiful feelings

Let that old fuel out

Re-fuel regularly

I Remember

Standard

I Remember

I remember, damn you, I remember

You stripped away my innocence

My joy

My freedom

My power

My 3 year old light was extinguished

You marked me with the scent of easy – easy prey.

Others were delighted to find the sign: Dine often, silence guaranteed.

How do I bathe enough to rid myself of that odor?

Unconsciously I have been striving to be better than easy

Perfection = Less Detection

My small, fragile body was used to bring empty relief to your pain, your anger, your rage.

You kept searching for liberation, release

I was not that savior for you

How many did you damage in your search? How many?

You did not know how to stop and I don’t know how you could have ever started.

You had a choice, many choices, and you chose to perpetuate your pain.

I loved you, trusted you – as your title mandated.

Grandpa, I remember now – I remember that you raped me over and over and over.

Maybe death is your savior, your release. Or maybe it is your Hell.

Firefighter

Standard

Firefighter

Rape creates fire
Deep within
Bubbles like lava
Searches for air

Escape

Eruption

My friend
At the tender age of 5
Used a match
On her parent’s bed
Fighting for innocence
Burning for justice
Fight fire with fire

Pull ALL the alarms
Let the fire trucks scream with you
Save your Self
We need (s)heroes like you

Oh Christmas Tree

Standard

Oh Christmas Tree

My friend
Visited her family one
Christmas Eve
Along came Casey

Yippee, a car trip!
New house
Intriguing smells
Lots of new friends

Innocent excitement
Wooden table leg
Resembles a tree
Lifting his leg comes naturally

Family reacts
Hot tempers
Loud voices
Sharp words

Casey confused
My friend defeated
Christmas joy extinguished
Pissy holiday

What if
Christmas joy triumphed?
Ha, ha, ha
Ho, ho, ho

Look what present Casey gave us!
True gifts
Love, laughter
Innocence honored

Feelings spared
People whole
Casey loved
Christmas joy celebrated

Funny family story, 20 years old
Remember when?
Ha, ha, ha!
Ho, ho, ho!

Water and Air

Standard

Water and Air

My friend looks thirsty
I offer
water
No thanks wooshes out with a breath of
air

She dislikes
water
she drinks
air
carbonated and sweetened

When she was 3 and 4 her grandfather
held her head under
water
her eyes wide open begging for
air

Shitty game pappy
rape me, drown me
terror to silence
too much water
not enough air

Grown up now
learning to drink
water
learning to breathe
air

Remembering and healing
the elements of Earth
vital to life
water
air

Leaving the Known and Finding a Silo

Standard
Leaving the Known and Finding a Silo

In the last year, I have had several friends tell me that I inspired them to make changes in their lives. They left jobs, sold homes, moved, left unhealthy relationships, took chances on new relationships and more. It is not easy to leave our known places that are comfortable. I am humbled, and inspired, by these stories.

I did leave a great home of 25 years called Des Moines, IA. I loved my friends, the local scene, the work that I did over the years, but I felt stuck in roles that I had created but could no longer support. I moved to save my Self. To find which pieces of me were worth keeping and to let go of other pieces. For some people, I jumped off a cliff into the unknown. It is true that I did not know a whole lot about my future. I had a temporary place to live, a few family members living near-by, a little bit of money, and no job.

I have heard over and over how courageous I am and I want to argue that many days, in fact, I feel terrified. Most of my fear comes from thinking I don’t have any choices.

In the end, I am reminded that more choices are out there than I can imagine. Most recently, I listened to a voice that said “Put it out there – your desire to live rent free and closer to work for the winter” and just a couple of weeks later, I found myself living in a silo 6 miles from work. I love this silo. It has shown me that I love a small, round living space, and that my needs are quite simple. However, as I packed up my things I wondered why I was leaving such a beautiful and comfortable home that I shared with a very kind and like-minded woman. Is moving somewhere for 2 months crazy? What happens in 2 months? I created a choice and in that choice there is discomfort of the unknown.

How do I discover my choices? I pray. A lot. The prayers have covered lots of territory in the last year: “What is next? Where is my next job, home, meal, tank of gas? What is the next strategy for healing this wound? And God? I am so relieved that it isn’t all up to me.” Then I listen and take the appropriate steps to find the next right thing.

I just want to point out that to live courageously often invites a relationship with fear. To step out into the unknown tells fear that I am accepting the lessons that fear has for me. This does not mean that I am not afraid, it means that I am signing up to practice being familiar with the unknown, uncomfortable, and the awkward. I honor the presence that fear has in my life and give myself permission to move ahead anyway.

It is in these places that I find some things resembling courage, resilience, healing, joy, and freedom.