I went to Banff last week for five days and although the original purpose of my trip was to attend a friend’s wedding the trip ended up being one, which felt like a stepping-stone in life. I camped solo for the first time ever (a testing endeavor for sure), I read, I wrote, I had some crucial conversations with loved ones, I went to multiple yoga classes at the beautiful Rocky Mountain Yoga studio and I had my cards read for the first time.
The stepping stone piece for me was realizing how important it is that I stick to the things that make me happy. I need to stay true to myself despite the ability of life and our busy-bee minds to pull us in every freaking direction imaginable. I hit a point during the alone time where I couldn’t make sense of anything that was going on in my head. It was all a mumbo-jumbo mess of random thoughts, half considered ideas, visions of a life that I wasn’t sure I wanted, and torturous anxiety about the relationships that are most important to me. I read some of my writing from that day and it honestly scares me - there's a hopelessness in my words; I can hear my heart hurting.
I’ve never been a believer (or perhaps I am a believer and it just terrifies me) in what I’ve come to call “spiritual psychics”, however a friend advised that I meet with a teacher in Banff who reads cards just to see what came of it. She reasoned with me that it’s less about predicting and more about opening me to alternative ways of thinking. I obliged and went to see the reader with the intention of listening but with a skeptical ear...
The session was fantastic, and although I take the entire concept of life predictability with a grain of salt, it DID get me thinking about my life in a totally different way. It inspired me to make changes, to talk about sh*t that needed to be talked about and it fuelled my desire to take the next step in my yoga teaching and in life. It confirmed some things I think I knew were there, but I needed a push to come to terms with. It confirmed the mentality I've held for a while now - you make things happen to you.
I've become a little idle in the last few weeks. Sitting quietly, letting life confusion take over. It's not a good feeling to feel lost in the way that I've been feeling lately. Whereas normally I embrace lostness as a benefit, this lostness is one I don't care to know. It's different. The lostness I'm open to is rather navigation and adventure. This - this is hopelessness.
I heard the card reader speak of my ability to make positive change. I heard her talk of how it's so important to act, to push fear aside and to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to me. Did I already know this? Yes, I did. But it took me hearing it aloud from someone on the outside to feel assured in the way I've chosen to live my life.
I believe in making things happen to you. I believe that the power to make the world a better place rests in each of our hearts. And NOW is the time to release that power and watch it grow and blossom into something that is of benefit to all who come into contact with you. That idea you're considering, that thing you've been thinking about, that person that you can't get out of your head - GO and move with that.
"We don't grow from idle living."
So, don't be adle - ACT.
Thank you to that friend, and to the reader who gave me a swift kick in the butt and made me realize that I've been failing to take my own advice. Since realizing this I've started to get back on track, and I'm starting to feel lost in the way I like to feel lost again.
I want to thank the individuals who have come to me in the past couple of weeks seeking support and advice for loved ones struggling with mental illness. You reaching out to me has made me realize that there is immense benefit in sharing experiences and being open and honest. You've made me realize how silly it is to be quieted by fear - fear of being judged. This post is for you...
I don't think it's a secret that I've had my fair share of run-ins with mental illness. Ongoing run-ins I'll say. If you know me personally I might have had a brief moment of courage and chatted with you about it. If you read some of posts, bios and photo captions I allude to the struggle openly at times.
I've called it the struggle for years - never actually saying the words. For the purpose of this first post I think I'll call it that - the struggle.
I've gone through life periods where I've become very open about my experiences and conversely times when I've shut down and shut-up completely. Admittedly, moving out west was one of those shut down and shut-up times. And you know what? It made things worse. I moved out west and thought I could start over - start fresh as someone without a mental illness. But moving out west only gave the disorder a change of scenery. And when I stopped talking about what I was going through I became a lone soldier. And it's really, really, really hard to wage a war in solitude.
Here's the thing - secrets make and keep you sick.
Although I haven't got to the point where I'm completely ok opening up about everything (I feel that day nearing), I feel a need to let others know that I've experienced mental illness first hand and that I'm here to listen, talk, help and provide support in whatever way I can whether that be through yoga, meditation, recreation therapy, outdoor therapy, writing or just sitting down and talking over a cup of coffee.
Put simply, I get what it feels like to struggle with mental health and I'm realizing that the only thing keeping me quiet is the fear of being judged.
I say that and realize it's ridiculous. If people are judging me for being open and honest about reality then they aren't people I need in my life. And if I let fear run the show I will never experience full recovery because I'll be living in an illusory world of secrets forever.
So, this is my first step in becoming fully and completely open. Saying the words, I struggle with mental illness.
And saying that is all I've got in me for right now.
But I needed to say that in order to talk about the presentation I had the honour of giving last week...
In December of 2016 I had a moment of sheer anger at the struggle, at the disorder. It was becoming relentless and foreshadowing of relapse. I got so damn angry at it for sneaking back into my life and at me for letting it sneak back in. I received a call for presentations from my national professional organization, the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association. CTRA was accepting presentation proposals for the upcoming national conference in Kelowna, BC. In what felt like a whirlwind of brainstorming, linking and typing I submitted a proposal based on ongoing research I had been doing on the connection between leisure identity and eating disorders. To my surprise it was accepted. And I went back and forth, back and forth about whether I wanted to actually go and present.
But the decision had been made and I knew it was something I had to follow through with. I needed to go to Kelowna in May and share my story, my theory of connection, and my evidence-based research with therapists from Canada, USA and Australia. I needed to go and use the first-hand knowledge I had, combined with the first-hand knowledge of other individuals facing mental illness for benefit. I wanted to offer first-hand insight in an attempt to help therapists provide increasingly effective intervention for clients diagnosed with mental health issues. And my BIG hope is that eventually the profession will be focused on preventative therapy as opposed to interventional therapy.
I believe that mental illness (no matter the mental illness) uses symptoms as a means to cope with distressing emotions and experiences, just as we use leisure to cope with distressing emotions and experiences. And I believe all this spawns from a differentiation between artificial happiness and authentic happiness (a 90 minute introductory presentation condensed into one sentence haha).
I had 26 pages of presentation writing and I looked at the pages maybe five times for the purpose of citing statistics. I just started talking, relaying my theory, answering questions and being me.
And it felt good. It felt so good.
It felt good to be totally open about my life. And to not only be accepted and embraced but to be viewed as an opportunity for advancement in professional practice.
I felt hopeful. Hopeful for my recovery and for the recovery of my peers. Hopeful for the implications and applications that first-hand insight might offer mental health care. Hopeful about continuing to give fight stigma.
I sit here now in Lac La Biche ready to take the next step. Ready to work towards becoming open and honest about my life - about who I am. I want to help those families who came to me expressing the need for support. I think I'm ready to use my voice. And maybe be a voice for those who aren't yet ready to use their voice. I've found some ways to cope with disordered thoughts, feelings and behaviours - yoga, meditation, pranayama, nature, paddling, hiking, camping, writing. I've found some peace and solace in identifying my vision of authentic happiness and developing my leisure identity as a means of moving towards that vision. And I want to put a focus on helping others identify with their leisure interests as a means to cope with stress, tension and disordered thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Secrets make and keep you sick.
Break the silence.
I won't say it's easy. But I know in my heart that it will be worth it.
I look to the future excited about what this openness can and will warrant. With the weight of the secret coming off of my shoulders I can support in a way that is honest, integral and hopefully warranting of forward movement.
It's been a while since I've written here. A result of being busy - really 'effing busy.
And while I was that busy I let the very things that help me cope with the stress of being busy go. My personal yoga and meditation practiced waned, I stopped eating properly, I wasn't sleeping, I stopped communicating with those close to me, I quite literally wasn't making time for the things that make me healthy and happy. I was letting myself burn out physically, mentally and emotionally.
Letting myself - those are the key words. I was letting myself burn out.
So, I stopped letting myself.
It crossed my mind earlier today that most things in my life happen because I make them happen. So, if I want something different to happen all it takes is the decision to make things different. Done and done. My mind complicates this equation a lot, but if I really stop and consider what the true me needs and wants the answer is usually pretty clear. When I stop the train of what ifs from pulling into my mental station I can usually hear what my heart is telling me - that it's time to make things different.
Different can be scary. It can be terrifying. But it can also be amazing and uplifting and transformational and joyous. And if we decide to not make things different - when we listen to the what ifs - we risk never experiencing the ups that can come from taking a different path.
These intensely moving and life changing ups are what fuel greatness. We make the decision to embrace something different and no matter what we move forward. It'll rain and puddles will undoubtedly appear on the road, but you put your rubber boots on and you stomp through them to the other side. You make the decision to make things different - you make it to the other side of that puddle - a side that is different from the side you were first standing on. Growth.
This week there was a death in my family and instead of running from the grieving process (like I normally would) I tried my very hardest to sit with the feelings. I made the decision to try something different.
This week I quit my job because it didn't feel right, my heart was somewhere else. I made the decision to try something different.
This week I hummed and hawed over the new yoga schedule, wondering if people would like what I was planning on offering until I just said teach what feels good to teach. I made the decision to try something different.
I was letting myself burn out. So, I stopped letting myself. I made the decision to try something different.
And although I don't anticipate (maybe, but I withhold expectation) that anything unbelievably amazing will happen right away as a result of these decisions to try something different I am not standing where I was before. I'm on new ground. I've moved forward and now there's the opportunity for exploration, adventure and those profoundly inspiriting ups to manifest. It might not happen right away but good will come from making the decision to try something different.
I took part in Bell Let’s Talk day. I love the idea of generating awareness and raising funds to support those affected my mental illness. I hope those funds go towards what Bell says they’ll go towards – the 48 pages of organizations involved in mental health research, outreach and support.
So, here we are. The day after Bell Let’s Talk day. The day after the day when my newsfeed is populated by stories from my family, friends, co-workers and community members about their struggles with mental illness. Stories about how the illness(es) manifested in their life, how they fought, how they overcame or how they’re striving to gain strength, charisma and confidence while being ravaged by an invisible nemesis. Stories about the difficulties they’ve experienced with the mental health care system. Stories about highs, lows, joy and suffering,
Did you read them? Did you hear their words? Were you moved?
Here we are, the day after Bell Let’s Talk day and my newsfeed has become shockingly quiet. Yesterday, aspiration for a better world spread across my computer screen like wildfire - today there’s stillness. And it’s this stillness that worries me. It’s this stillness that convinces me we’ve still got a long, long road to walk. A road that is absolutely walkable, just long.
I read those stories yesterday; I honestly tried to read as many of them as I could, because I think it’s important to understand how serious the issue of mental illness has become. And the only way to understand how serious it is, an epidemic of this magnitude, is to appreciate how many people came forward declaring their experiences with mental illness.
What the fuck are we doing to ourselves? After reading all those stories that is the question I’m left with. It becomes so obvious and undeniable that we are in a period of mental chaos. Yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel that more of us deal with mental illness than not. We’re an ill society. We are watching ourselves destroy ourselves. And by this I mean we support a world of conflicted intention, first leading to mental illness, then supporting mental illness, then not supporting those with mental illness. We create an environment that nurtures the growth of mental illness, then we shush the mention of mental illness giving consent for those who are sick to become sicker, and then we are inaccessible, unavailable, unaffordable or absent, which again perpetuates illness.
Yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk day and I’m happy to see that we’re trying. We’re trying to make the world more open, more understanding, more willing to accept that this issue is present and that we need to start fixing it. I’m happy to see people sharing their stories. I’m overjoyed to see the world becoming a place where people feel safe and secure to share. This is a step in the right direction.
I am thinking of you - each and every one of you who has felt the pillaging effects of mental illness first hand. Those left without choice because they are sick. Those forced to spend hours a day vomiting into a toilet, cutting their skin, chasing pills with alcohol, confined to the house for days, to be the ping pong ball between polar opposite feelings and thoughts. I am thinking of you. And, I am thinking of you - each and every one of you who has watched a loved one suffer the harsh reality of what it means to live with mental illness. Watched a loved one drift further and further and further away unsure of how to bring them back or if they can be brought back.
I am thinking of you. Please, think of them too.
And then, do something about it. On Bell Let’s Talk day tell your story, share the posts, send the text messages – support. And then, fucking act. Today, the day after Bell Let’s Talk day don’t let the fire die. Don’t let that portal of compassion close, only to reopen next January. Your daughter won’t start eating because it’s January 26th, your brother won’t stop drinking because it’s January 26th, your neighbor won’t get out of bed because it’s January 26th, your best friend won’t seek treatment because it’s January 26th.
When will they do these things?
They’ll do them when they’re ready and they’ll become ready when one of two things happens; they feel safe and comfortable exposing themselves leading to help or they hit rock bottom. It’s an unfortunate reality that the second does happen, and sometimes it takes being knocked down to stand back up. But the former? We - ALL of us - can help those people starting right now. We can help them to feel safe and comfortable exposing themselves so they can move towards recovery.
Self-love. Self-fucking-love! Learn to love yourself, all of you! Protect your mental health by nourishing your mind, your body and your spirit. And then love others. Love all others. Even if you hate them, love them. We all got to where we are by being exposed to experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviors so make those experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviors LOVE. Communicate. Tell your story. And then listen to the stories of others. Talk about it, talk about ALL of it. Let’s slow down and give each other the gift of time.
Now I’m crying. It happens sometimes when I write about topics super close to my heart.
Don’t give up. Keep striving to thrive. Because you can and you will if you don’t give up. And because we now live in an all-loving world, asking for help isn’t scary. It’s what we do. And we do it because we’re met with kindness, compassion and a genuine desire to see each other be healthy and happy.
This world is real. And we can start manifesting it right now.
Bell Let’s Talk day was a testimony to the possibility of this world being closer than we realize. It’s within reach. We have it in us to be more open, to be more understanding, to be more loving. We have it in us to support each other through the highs and lows. We have it in us to make mental illness just another illness that is deserving of society's healing touch.
So, don’t stop talking. On January 26th keep the conversation going. Cling to compassion and move the world to be better. Make vulnerability a strength so we can all feel safe reaching out when we need to. Move, breathe and be love.
Some of you know me, some of you have never met me. Some of you know my story, others don’t. But if you’re reading this, we’re connected and I’m thinking of you. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a friend to drink tea with, I’m here. On Bell Let’s Talk day, on January 26th and on every day to follow, I’m here for you.
Keep sharing. Keep talking. Keep the fire lit. We’re making the world a more loving place. And love is the most healing thing of all.
I don’t always recognize what’s happening inside.
Often, until it’s too late.
Until I’m so confused I’m shaky.
Wondering how on earth I can make sense of the here and now.
Wishing I could intervene.
Hoping for an opportunity.
Attempting to infuse myself with strength.
And then I crack.
The vase that is my mortal being cracks and dissipates into a million pieces.
They lay there scattered on the floor.
Each piece taking on a different shape, a different feeling.
Their jaggedness reflecting the sharp reality of what is.
I, what’s left of me, stares at the pieces perplexingly.
Knowing that in order to exist I have to put the pieces back together.
In a way that is able to withstand the pressures of this life.
I’ve put the pieces back together before.
Only, I didn’t create a structure capable of tolerating this world.
In the long term at least.
I put the pieces back in a way that made sense at the time.
I was unknowing.
But life is full of change. And my pieced together vase didn’t adapt fruitfully.
How many times have I attempted to put the pieces back together?
I don’t know.
And yet here I stand staring at the fragments of my body and mind.
Recognizing that I need a new approach.
Acknowledging the beauty of a mosaic that can be created from the jagged pieces of my being.
Choosing to slow down.
And become aware.
Aware of clues that teach me how to put the pieces back together.
So my vase is steady, yet flexible.
Strong, yet soft.
Firm, yet understanding.
Safeguarded, yet vulnerable.
Going “home", it feels good. The word home now, after three years of living in Alberta, has a slightly different feel and meaning. The truth is I have two homes. My roots are in Ontario and my branches are now in Alberta. I use the word home for both.
I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with split feelings about this reality. It’s funny how as a teen I wanted to leave Owen Sound so badly. I was fixated on being anywhere but that small town at the mouth of the Bruce Peninsula. Then I moved to Alberta. We were planning on getting some work experience in the west and then moving back to be close to our families and our friends. A sort of breakthrough opportunity for our careers. We were pretty confident we’d find work in Ontario after beefing up our resumes.
Upon first moving I honestly thought that was exactly what we would do. I cried a lot. The homesickness sunk in pretty hard after a few months. All I thought about was the day we’d move home. The feelings were very convincing. I thought that moving back was inevitable and the right thing to do. It kinda just felt like moving to university for the first time. I knew I’d be home soon enough. No big deal.
Then we moved again within Alberta. To this tiny little hamlet whose name I figured I was pronouncing incorrectly. The very first time I drove through Lac La Biche I had a hard time explaining to myself that this is where I was going to live. I mean no - no I would not live here.
But everyone we met (truly amazing people) continued to tell us that they never planned on staying... and then the town warmed their heart and they met the love of their life and they found their dream job and there was opportunity... something in me was curious - maybe something in me wanted it to work. So, I made a conscious and solid effort to settle in to the community. I attempted to get involved. I made good friends (like really good friends). I participated in leagues, events and town traditions. I started to feel grounded. And it was better.
When I let my mind adjust to life away from “home” I felt better. When I let my mind accept that this is where I was here and now I experienced an ease of being. Trust in the present allowed me to feel some contentment despite being far from what I knew was home.
Two and half years later I’m still here. And when I reflect on the happenings of this time I am honestly taken back by the growth I have experienced. In this small town I finished school, a task that had been ongoing since I was 19. I realized and followed my passion for yoga and became a teacher. I am co-opening a dedicated space for the practice in just a few short weeks. I have made connections with truly amazing people, making friendships that I am absolutely confident will last my whole life long. I have learned more about who I am as a person in this time than I ever thought possible. And even though I know there is infinite growth to come I am excited for what the future holds. I am ready to live life to the fullest.
It’s still hard at times. I still cry sometimes. I still experience homesickness. I still wish my family and friends were closer. But I know these feelings are normal and they’re not going to go away, probably ever. This is all because Ontario will forever be my home, my root home.
Being ok with the nostalgia and sadness has come from realizing that Lac La Biche has also become my home, my branches-home. A new kind of home that only people who have moved far from their roots and embraced the newness of their whereabouts know. It's a warm and empowering feeling that comes from knowing you left what was familiar behind and made peace with change. It makes you realize that you are capable of adjustment and of finding meaning in your being.
I say I'm going home when I leave Alberta for Ontario. I say I'm going home when I leave Ontario for Alberta. Both are my homes for very different reasons. And what I am appreciating now, sitting at the table in my family home in Ontario, is how fortunate I am to know what it means to have a home and to have people in both Ontario and Alberta that make going home to so beautiful.
Life is utterly fragile. We are really just glass boards and every day is a hammer against us. How we dodge the blows and endure the hits is what maintains our constitution. We are at risk of being shattered at any moment, life forever changed with a single swing of the hammer. And so there are two ways we can exist...
1. We can live in fear of being broken.
We can be scared all the time of something happening to us, to the ones we love, to the life we know. And from that we can shelter ourselves. We can create safety. Yes, you can be safe. You can be safe by taking the travelled path. By walking in the footsteps of others, learning from their experiences. You can learn from the mistakes of others and choose not to make those mistakes yourself. In doing so you are less likely to trip and fall. You're better able to predict where you'll end up. When we choose this path we are often destination focused, which isn't a bad thing, it just means we're a little more obligated. When living in fear of being broken you take steps to be secure, safe and at ease. You consider what might be and you put in place things that promote your ongoing success. Out of fear of being poor, homeless, lonely, depressed and faithless, out of fear of those hammer-hits upon your glass wall; you're able approach life systematically to avoid these situations. You can live in fear of being broken and be safe.
2. We can live in the moment - from broken pieces a mosaic is born.
You can take risks. You can face the hammer and not know what the outcome will be. Maybe you'll break, maybe you won't. The process is an adventure. These people, the risk takers, the ones willing to accept mistakes as their own, are the ones who change what it means to be a glass board. Shattered pieces can be reinforced with the confidence that comes from being broken and putting yourself back together. From risk taking comes empowerment. This isn't a safe life, I won't lie. You will live never knowing what comes next. But in living this way you are open to all possibilities and opportunities that come your way. You will stand in front of all the hammer swings, the ones you persist through and the ones that break you, and you will experience life first hand. You'll look at the mistakes of others and wonder if you could do it differently, what would the outcome be then? You'll live and you'll learn. And you'll grow and you'll become stronger. This is the life of a risk taker. There is no destination. There is no better life than right now. Because there is only right now. And right now you might break. But you also might not...
There is no right or wrong way to live. There's only how you choose to live.
Be you. Be real. Because life is fragile.
I have always been skeptical about essential oils, resolute in my belief that they're void of any therapeutic power. I mean, how? How could the inhalation of peppermint minimize my headaches? How could dabbing cedarwood on my temples ground me? Get real. To be totally honest, I thought it was a bunch of hippie nonsense - as I sit here on my yoga mat eating hummus and seed crackers, listening to Xavier Rudd. A part of me has always wanted to believe in the power of essential oils. So many of my friends utilize them, many of whom are fellow yogis and yoga teachers. I trust these people and there isn't an ounce of me that questions their intentions for using oils or the success they report from doing so. I guess I just veered away from the concept, accepting that maybe oils work for them but they definitely won't work for me. It's not like my olfactory senses are dormant. I promise you they're very much awake. I just never thought smell had much of an influence on my overall wellness. I never thought smell could help me achieve balance in any aspect of my life.
Here's where I was proven wrong. Fast forward - a close friend just happens to be a doTerra Wellness Advocate, an incredible woman who trusts in the positive influence natural oils can have on our physical, mental and emotional well-being (Jenny Pietzsch, I'm talking to you!). She stands behind the therapeutic effects of oils, but has never forced oils on me, despite knowing that I am a stress internalizing, multi-too-much-tasking, never say no kind of person who could absolutely benefit from them. Yes, I’m a bit of a perfectionistic workaholic and my health has definitely begun to deteriorate as a result. I break myself down - this isn't the first time and it probably won't be the last. And these are cold, hard facts. Aside from practicing and teaching yoga and drinking copious amounts of tea I have discovered zill methods successful at achieving mental ease.
I think Jenny sensed my accumulating stress levels, they've been borderline breakdown lately and as a result I haven't been sleeping well, or really at all. Maybe it's the bags around my eyes that gave it away. About a week or so ago she nonchalantly slipped me a few oil samples. She didn't say much just put them in my hand after a yoga class and that was that. Admittedly, I didn't use them right away. They sat on my table collecting dust.
The insomnia worsened and after a few nights of literally no shut eye I became desperate for any sort of sleep remedy. Melatonin was even turning its back on me. I saw the oils sitting there and remembered Jenny telling me lavender was a calming oil known to bring about relaxation. I wasn't really sure what to do with it, clueless as to how I could foster these healing effects. I remembered a teacher massaging oil on my temples and third eye in savasana so that's where I started. I applied the lavender right before bed - and guess what? I slept like a BABY - a freaking baby! It was incredible. I've continued using the lavender before bed, testing it's validity, and each night I sink into a beautiful slumber.
I think I’m hooked. If this is any indication of how effective oils are at balancing us out, sign me up!
I am so incredibly excited to learn more about aromatherapy and its therapeutic applications. I'm eager to add this layer of natural healing to my personal practice and life and am keen to eventually integrate oils into my classes and workshops.
Essential oils (head shake), who would've known?
Fear. Fear is the first word to come to mind when I think about impending big changes. I’m not speaking of the little nit-picky changes that each of us deal with on the daily, taking a different route to work because of construction, cooking the dogs rice in the morning because I forgot to pick up their food. I’m talking about changes that make you reevaluate, struggle and improvise. I’m talking about changes that force you to grow, whether you want to or not.
Yes, just thinking of these changes invokes fear inside of me. It makes me postulate and ruminate and ponder and question and worry. Change has me shaking in my boots. The stem of this fear is the unknown. I can’t possibly know what change will bring to the table. I have no idea what is going to happen once change begins to manifest. So why the f*ck do we do it!? Why do we open ourselves to change? Why do we deal with change? Why do we sometimes search for change!?
The answer, I think, is because it’s inevitable. We don’t get a say in change. It happens when it’s supposed to, it happens when it has to, it happens in the manner it sees fit. And there ain’t nothing we can do about it! Seriously though. It’s going to come, it’s going to weasel its way into my life, your life, our lives and it’s going to make itself known. When we fight the inevitable we’re asking for trouble. If you want to resist change, you best be ready to lace up your boxing gloves and jump in the ring. But really there’s no point in facing that opponent because you’ll lose. You’ll lose every damn time.
There’s this little gem of a saying, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” You have to accept that change is inevitable and along with that accept that fear is normal and necessary and moving. Fear will activate you. It will empower you. It will give you the strength to take the hits and to keep swinging. Fear has to accompany change. Fear is changes spouse. Don’t fear, fear. Fear is going to get you through. Fear is going to make change happen and then fade, happen and fade, happen and fade. It’s going to be the constant. I encourage you to develop a loving relationship with fear. Learn to trust that it will always be there for you, warning you of threats, preparing you for new ventures, mobilizing your energy and pushing you forward. Fear is going to stabilize you during change.
There are big changes on the horizon and I am absolutely terrified of what that means. Terrified but also content and excited. I’m going to trust that fear will carry me in the right direction. It will guide me through the fog of change.
It’s early. Really early. Actually I never slept so the notion of “early” seems irrelevant. Maybe it’s actually really late.
I got up early to meditate and do yoga. But when I got into my living room something in me wanted to write instead of roll out my mat. I try to get to my mat each morning, even for a brief moment of time. But today I really wanted to just sit, have a cup of super strong coffee and see what words came out of my mind…
I feel insanely unsettled. My mind was racing all night. I had to get up another time last night, at 3am, to take care of a few things that felt pressing. I’m sure they were hardly pressing but attending to them seemed to calm me down enough to warrant a few hours of restless lay-down. I’m not sure why I’m so disconcerted. I have a feeling it’s from lack of time. I haven’t brushed my hair in five days because throwing my dreading locks up into a messy bun takes six and a half minutes less than combing through the knots. I should really brush it today, it’ll take fifteen minutes now because it’s so damn tangled. That’s my own fault.
I can’t do this rush-rush-rush thing. But I think I can and I try for a period of time. And whenever I do it, it comes back to bite me in the ass. I get overwhelmed, stressed and easily agitated with people, places and things. I think this was why my first ever recreation therapist prescribed me yoga – she saw that lack-of-time addiction in me and wanted me to learn to accept and embrace the here and now. She wanted me to see the go-drive as an addiction and step out of the denial. I listened to her and you know what - that here and now thing, it works. I wholeheartedly believe it works, I know it works. But it only works if I stay true to who I am as a person – a person who needs to wake up and be able to roll out their mat, not ignore the inkling to do so out of fear that their mind is too crazy and full to meditate.
There. There it is. That’s why I needed to write. For those words to come out. For that realization to be made. I didn’t feel like meditating and doing yoga because I was fearful of being with my mind right now. I was fearful of learning that what I’m doing right now isn’t in my best interests despite my perceptual mind trying to convince me that it is. I was fearful of shedding light on who I am – someone who doesn’t do this workaholic thing well - someone who does it at the expense of their own well-being.
I’ve got to get back on track. I’ve got to start eating well again, cleansing my mind, moving my body and listening to my soul - working within my means and finding time for play and adventure every damn day.
I’m going to go and brush my hair now. If I’m late for work, so be it.
The honest learnings and raw reflections of my practice and my life. Unedited.