Friday, January 31, 2014

Stress and Breathing

*deep, slow inhale*

*slow, methodical exhale*


It's no secret, I go to counseling. My counselor, she's great.  She helps me see things in a way that is new, but in a way that I feel is very tailored to the jackiewayofthinking -- and that's not easy! She's worth way more than I pay her.

For years now, I've been tossing around this idea of doing yoga and meditating. It started when I read Eat, Pray, Love and the spark has grown into a constant flame. It isn't an inferno (yet?).  

It wasn't a conscious new year's resolution, but rather a slow but sure foray into the practices of breathing and meditating. In the past, I'd find reasons not to: kids, work, stress, family events, feeling "too fat", not having money and/or access, needing better rest.  Here lately, my motivation has finally started to fall in line with the ruminations.

I've only meditated 4 times in the last week or so, and done yoga seriously once in the last week, but you know what? I feel better.  Even if it's the placebo effect, so be it. I like it.

The kicker is -- I'm scared to feel good. How preposterous is that?? Being a bigger girl, one reason I don't diet or commit to an eating plan, join in with others who are having a group-accountability activity isn't because I'm afraid to fail (again) -- I'm afraid to succeed! So paradoxical. And irrational. 

Over the last two to three years, I've experienced some pretty traumatic and upsetting events from various aspects of my life, and the lives of those around me. Many of them have gone or subsided and I'm feeling a sense of awkwardness. I feel relief, but I'm almost afraid to say that for fear of what's around the corner to knock me on my ass again. So I was asking my counselor, is it normalish to feel afraid like this? She validated me and said sometimes when there've been extended periods of stress, people adjust to that as "normal" so when those stresses/stressors diminish, the dynamics of a person's psyche changes, too. She went so far as to say that some people even become addicted to their stress! (God forbid! WHY?!) I was very enlightened by this conversation and I think it's, in an effortless or subconscious way, given me permission to feel good again. 

My chair at work.
For the last six months or so, I've been bringing up the notion of meditating to my counselor and she's spoken highly of it. For years and years, I've heard about how breathing a certain way can really help with a mind-body balance.  I don't really know what sparked it -- it was rather an impulse, but I finally emailed the counselor asking if we could do a meditation together in her office at my next appointment. She, of course, was totally on board with it. So I went in and yapped my mouth for a while, then we settled into a ten-minute guided medication by Tara Brach. It was the fastest, slowest ten minutes of my life.

While ALL my stress wasn't gone, I sure felt more peaceful. PEACE is a feeling I'm always searching for....I crave serenity. It seems inside my chest, there's a constant tornado of movement, even when I'm at rest. It's a physical feeling, one that I'm conscious of every day, all day. I'd like to use a natural way of stress-relief to minimize or eradicate that anxiety ball in between my boobs.

So, here's to keeping on keepin' on. 


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Happy New  Year, Friend. I trust you had a lovely holiday season. I certainly did! I'll be posting a blog about my trip to South Carolina soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

In the meantime, below is something that was in my Facebook timeline. I think it might've originated from George Takei's Facebook page.

Take a look at the letter grid below. The first three words you find will be yours in 2014.

Feel free to share what your words are in the comments section! I'd love to hear from you.

Mine? Love, beauty and youth.