Hello Everyone & Happy Easter!
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and taking time to rest & connect within and with your loved ones. It is an odd Easter day, but rather peaceful and serene. My husband and I walked the dogs this morning and I could hear every bird and smell Spring and I definitely enjoyed the peacefulness in the air. It is so interesting to be able to feel so peaceful in a moment when such tragedy is upon our globe. I contemplate this often and the idea that we can retreat to the sanctuary within ourselves to find peace in the chaos.
This morning I focused on the word “restoration” during my meditation. I was inspired by what Deepak Chopra was talking about in his 21-day meditation challenge. He has been focusing on hope in the present moment and the power of hope. Today, he talked about the restoration of hope, and then, I really liked the sound of that as I inhaled, “restoration,” and as I exhaled, I imagined all the fear and negativity just coming out of me, like black smoke. If you are interested in this 21-day meditation challenge, it is free, and you can access it here.
So, we are a month into this social distancing & quarantining. I think I have officially accepted the change and stopped wrestling with, and resisting it. Sure, I still have moments of anxiety and overwhelm, but all-in-all, we are adaptable beings and the new routine has set in and become sort of familiar. I still am fortunate enough to see about 3-5 clients a day virtually, and when I am not doing Yoga Therapy or personal training sessions with them, I am exercising, cooking, vacuuming dog hair, and taking time in nature. I would be lying if I said this downtime was not enjoyable. While I am deeply saddened by what is going on in the world, I am making the best of the situation by keeping calm, healthy, and deeply connecting with myself and my immediate family.
This pause has opened my eyes and sharpened my awareness to some negative and self-destructive habits & belief systems that have resurfaced over the past few years. While I work on self growth diligently, and help people with it for a living, I am human and still have flaws and get off track. I am so grateful to be able to observe some of the patterns I have been practicing that are not serving me. This “pause” has given me the opportunity to reflect deeply and to examine patterns that are in need of some shifting. I wonder if any of you can relate?
This pause has shown me that I have unrealistic expectations for myself. It has shown me that my deep belief systems could still use some examining and re-wiring. I struggled the first few weeks to have less clients and less to do. I realized that my self worth may still be a little tied up in how much I do for my business on a day-to-day basis. My wellness business, and more specifically, helping others, which is my purpose & passion that fuels me. But somewhere along the way, I started to believe that it WAS me. If I am not seeing ‘X’ amount of clients a day, and filling my free-time with trainings, client prep, and lesson plans, than I am not enough. This started to come up as things started to slow down. Rather than judge it, I noticed it, this is the principle of mindfulness. We hustle and we grind to meet these inner expectations, but we completely miss out on life along the way. Who set these expectations in the first place? And why are they there? Are they realistic? Are they reasonable?
I love this exercise that I learned in Yoga Therapy school regarding expectations:
Take out a piece of paper and list your expectations of yourself.
Next, examine each one. What belief is behind that expectation? Can you jot it down next to the point?
How does this expectation of yourself bring you closer to your highest self?
Next, rip up this piece of paper. Expectations lead to misery.
You can have goals, sure. You can set mile markers to keep you on track, but know deeply and fully understand why that goal is there and what higher purpose or virtue it serves instead of living your life under unrealistic or unnecessary expectations. These are put there by us as a survival technique, but they don’t have to stay. All it take is a little awareness and re-writing, and you can feel like a weight was lifted off of your shoulders. What would it be like if you just showed up, exactly as you are? I ask myself this, too, and even meditate on it.
Even in this quarantine, we are still doing, doing, doing. We did some house projects, (which is amazingly fun and a great bonding exercise as a couple) and Home Depot was SOLD OUT of Shiplap. Everyone in Loudoun County had the same idea. There is nothing wrong with this, I just observe as a culture how important it is that we all keep so busy, with Zoom happy hours, house projects, homeschooling, working out, etc. Rest is for the wicked. Keep doing, keep proving.
This week I focus on restoration. What does it mean to you to restore? Can you take a step back and analyze your routines, your expectations? How can you create more peace in the pause? Just take a moment. What would make your day-to-day operations more joyful, peaceful, or fulfilling? Maybe it’s a walk outside alone. Maybe it’s calling a friend. Maybe it’s sitting on your couch and staring at the wall because that makes you feel peaceful, whatever it is…I invite you to try it. What’s the worst that could happen?
I’ll end on a very positive note. This past week, I finished a journal that I have been keeping for a year. It has been a completely positive journal, no negativity or venting, just gratitude and goal setting. As I finished the last page in the journal the other night, I went back and read through it, April 8th 2019, to now. Over this past year, I have grown so much. I have worked so hard to continue changing my narrative from “mentally ill defective child,” to, “whole, radiant and empowering soul.” I realized as I read on, that each day I am showing up to be a better version of myself, to be closest to my highest self. I am learning where my true gifts lie and how to use them, I am connecting more deeply with myself and others, and I am living in the present moment more than I ever have. I weaned off all psychiatric drugs and was totally medication free by July 4th, 2019. It has been NINE months of no medication (mind you, I had been medicated for 20 years, age 8 to 27). I know I have mentioned this before, but I was told I would NEVER be able to do this successfully. I was told that I was ill and had a condition just like someone has a heart condition. I was told I would most likely not be able to go to college or hold down a job. I was told I was defective. Yes, that is the story I created and I take responsibility for that, but I was told over and over again that I had something chemically wrong with me and that it was unrealistic and impossible to be off medication. Over and over again. 2o years and fifteen to twenty different psychiatric drugs later, depleted white blood cells as a result. But. here. I. am. Nine months. Not even a Xanax on a hard day.
I am not against medicine and fully understand some people need to be on it and it makes people’s qualities of life better. For a period of time, it really helped me, particularly in my adolescence and when I was suicidal. And if I ever need to go back on medicine, it’s nice to know it is there for me as an option. I just didn’t need to continue to be on it and it took an incredible amount of inner work, therapy, and yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, AND MORE YOGA, did I mention I do a lot of yoga for healing? It still takes work. Every day. But I feel whole and I feel radiant and I feel empowered.
The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, has a whole new meaning to me. I believed all the psychiatrists from a very young age. It was my story. I am not “healed” and I am not “recovered.” Like an addict, I consistently do cognitive behavioral therapy (yoga) on myself and live a lifestyle that supports the mind, body, and spirit. I continue to re-write my narrative and this pause is a time for me to reflect on it from a different angle and continue growing.
What does restoration mean to you? How can you use this time to reflect and restore? I would love to hear from you!
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Sending you restorative vibes,