A Moment of Thanks to Strong Lotus Yogi

I think one of the benefits of pausing to be grateful and reflect on positives is that it helps with perspective. I’ve struggled so much through the last few months, and living with PTSD can be a pretty hopeless situation. I’ve felt that I just can’t so many times, and taking steps in recovery have at times seemed to difficult or overwhelming or inaccessible.

And that’s why I’m grateful for Amanda at Strong Lotus Yogi!

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Photo from Strong Lotus Yogi – Benefits of Side Plank https://stronglotusyogi.com/2018/05/29/benefits-of-side-plank-vasisthasana/

One of my biggest challenges has been exercise or really body movement of any kind. I have mostly just wanted to stay in bed and block the world out, and I am still working through the situation of my brain thinking an elevated heart rate means I’m going to die. Amanda’s blog and her yoga practice have been such a calming and accessible way for me to stay mentally engaged with what I’ve wanted to do even when it was too hard to make my body do it, and she has kept me motivated to stay with it until I could get back to yoga practice myself.

She has many videos in which she breaks down yoga poses so that it’s clear and understandable how to hold the pose in a way that’s most accessible to you, and I think she is a wonderful example of what conscientious yoga teachers do to make the world a better place. She is a truly beautiful person and her good energy is contagious, even in the blogosphere!

Thank you, Amanda! I appreciate you so much!

1% Improvement

I’ve read a few things now that talk about small, incremental change being not only more achievable but more lasting, and by improving 1% every day you can accrue a lot of positive change. I like this principle and am ready to practice!

I also don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. I make changes any and all times of the year!

Every week I’ll decide on one or two small things to do every day that week, whether it’s exercise or reading or writing or working on things I want to get better at, but it has to be something that helps me get better. After being reminded this weekend of how little physical strength I have relative to what would make my life easier (lifting boxes, carrying more things, etc.), my daily minimum for this week will be 10 kettle bell lifts every day. I’m not even going to push it up to swings, just lifts, just beginning the practice of doing something every day that is small, achievable, reaches toward my goals and that I am not already doing.

Starts today!

Practicing Vulnerability

There’s a lot of backstory to it, but my relationship with my boyfriend has been challenging, and I have felt like I’ve been pushed to a place of calling it quits. We’ve both had to learn a lot about ourselves and communication in the last year, and recently I’ve been faced with a choice of pushing past all of that and being vulnerable and honest and starting – and leading – hard conversations, or quitting.

I really wanted to quit.

It’s so much harder to be honest with myself and with him, to say the things that aren’t fun to say, to draw the lines and hold to them, to lay out the situation without making threats, to set boundaries without making selfish demands and to practice love when I have no idea if it will be returned.

It’s exhausting.

I’ve had moments of bright, happy and cheerful the past two days, which quickly tips over into what feels more like manic than actually happy and calm, but I’m still mostly struggling through the confining, dark depression of PTSD. It doesn’t help to be constantly triggered while trying to work through communication and behavior course corrections

I want to take a break from all of it.

But as we know, life doesn’t stop. And if anything, I’m proud of myself for not giving up on me.

I’d Rather Go Play

It has been a long week and a half for me. A lot of travel, a lot of cold, exposure to a lot of germs I am sure, a lot of conflict that was REALLY HARD TO RESOLVE and a lot of time-crunched work. And a lot of sleep, because when my body doesn’t want to wake up IT DOES NOT WANT TO WAKE UP.

I have a self-imposed work deadline today that is completely unnecessary and that goes against what I want to work on toward balancing my day. I like to rush to get things done and put off taking care of myself until I finish a task, but that CLEARLY isn’t working for me, so now I need to practice managing my time and workload to make space for well-being. Which is probably why I want to go play. After putting my head down and working through what I just did, I want to just skip around and smile! And I can…as soon as I meet this deadline

Discomfort Is Working On Your Car

It was a good practice learning to sit with discomfort (something I am not good at) yesterday when I repaired the super foggy headlights on my car. It was getting to the point that I almost couldn’t see at night, which is not safe, especially with shorter days coming up next week. Plus I drive around rural areas a lot, and wildlife tend to lurk on the side of the road, waiting for you to pass so they can get their nightly thrills in.

Being the do it myselfer that I am, I got a kit at the auto parts store, read the instructions and set about making clear headlight lenses. 45 minutes of sanding and polishing by hand, several trips to the side of the house to refill my pitcher with water and a brief stop for a hot biscuit later, I had beautifully clear and new-looking headlights.

It was hard, it was a lot of sanding (my Fitbit thought I had run for half an hour) and I am so out of shape that it was a pretty substantial effort for me. I didn’t enjoy it, my arm got tired, I got frustrated by occasionally splashing water where I didn’t want it, I didn’t like the smell of the chemicals, I didn’t like getting the final lens coating on my ungloved hand and I didn’t like that I couldn’t just buy a new car.

But I persevered, I followed the steps, I pushed through my discomfort, and I accomplished something that is for my own benefit and well-being. Turns out, in more ways than one.

100 Days of Healing – Day 90

I have a Fitbit for feedback. I like to know where my resting heart rate is, I like to know how much I’m moving, I like to know how I sleep, and I count calories. I used to do it obsessively, but I’ve stopped that and now just use it for data. I stopped counting this past weekend when I let my phone battery die. I ate when I was hungry, I rested because that’s what felt good, and when I got home the weather and some chores I wanted to get done didn’t give me the time to go for a walk and get in a little exercise. And that’s ok. My weight is back up a bit, and that’s ok. I listened to my body and gave it what it asked for.

And now it’s asking for something else.

Yesterday started out sleeping a little bit too long and being rushed to get out the door to an appointment. As soon as that was done though, I went back to the routine I wanted, slowed things down, took some time to check in with my schedule, make some plans and decide what was important for this week.

I also decided that I was going to go low calorie through Thursday and start engaging in some small exercise every day, because my body needs balance. I don’t do balance, that has been escaping me my whole life, but I think I am ready to begin balance.

And maybe I have viewed balance as something it’s not – a constant state. I think maybe it’s more acknowledging that things are rocking and responding by doing the things that bring harmony back.

I indulged in food, now I am going to un-indulge.

I’ve avoided exercise, now I am going to practice it.

I’ve ignored unhealthy relationships that called and demanded my time and energy, now I’m being intentional about connecting with people who are meaningful and supportive of me.

I rushed out the door, now I’m taking a few moments to calm and center and drink some tea before I go to the next thing.

It’s a small start, but practice begins with those small starts.

100 Days of Healing – Day 88

I’ve needed some space to think.

I have big dreams, great plans and a love for life bubbling up from somewhere deep. I have creativity that yearns to be expressed and a comfortable in her hard-earned skin person that wants to be seen.

I haven’t given her the space to emerge, because I’ve been covering her up, first because I thought everything was a threat and then because my protectors were disappearing and I started actually hiding from the world.

I’m learning that one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is meet our own needs. I’m doing that by taking a well-timed opportunity for quiet and space this weekend. I stepped away from my to-do list, my chores and my habits and placing myself in a comfortable space that is a bit of a mental void. There’s only what I bring in and what I allow to stay, and helps me engage with the practice of choosing what I want to bring into my life and what I want to stay. It’s a retreat of sorts, but I’m (for once) not retreating, I’m pausing and forming so that I can step forward and live in more light than darkness.

Be kind to yourself, and give yourself what you need. You’re worth it.