Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

Disappointment, acceptance, begin again.

Last Tuesday morning, I was ready:  ready to write a blog entry about May Day, ready to begin teaching a new Nia class the next day.

And then the sharp, shooting pain started, enough that at one point I curled up in a fetal position on the floor. After hours in urgent care, the verdict was kidney stones, which I’d never had before in my life. If I have any say in the matter, I’d greatly prefer not to experience that kind of pain ever again.

That blog post still sits in my drafts folder, but is now outdated, irrelevant.

I had to call that next morning to say I couldn’t teach that Nia class that day, and hoped to start the next week (today). But largely due to past disappointments about someone else not making it to teach numerous times, people ended up losing interest. They weren’t willing to go again. The studio owner called me today to cancel the classes. Completely out of my control, all of it.

Having the kidney stones knocked me down for several days; the pain gradually receded to a dull soreness and exhaustion. Each day, I’ve gotten a little more energy. Now, I don’t feel quite 100% yet, but I’m getting closer.

Part of me thinks: this is a lesson in acceptance. Sometimes things happen and other things happen as a result. I did not hold control or blame in having kidney stones or losing the class. I also cannot pretend that it would have been helpful in any way to try to teach a first Nia class somewhere while that depleted and in pain.

I used to hate when my ex would say, “It is what it is,” but that’s true sometimes (Granted, I used to think that she said it in a way that really meant, “Life sucks, so just suck it up and deal with it.” I don’t mean it like that). Sometimes things happen, and they can be unfortunate and disappointing and invoke all kinds of emotional responses.

Earlier, I had a moment where I wanted to say to the people who wouldn’t try going to another Nia class to give me a chance. But I don’t know them. They don’t know me. My health issues aren’t personal to them. They don’t know that I would only miss teaching a class if I absolutely had to; they do know of the others who weren’t there to teach and disappointed them.

I can reason and rationalize and say that it was a huge unknown anyway, that it was a risk, that I didn’t know how it would go. And that’s true. But meant to be or not meant to be, that class isn’t happening anymore due to circumstances beyond my control. And maybe there is a better opportunity. Perhaps there will be another opportunity. For the moment, maybe not. In the meantime, I’m still teaching my one class per week, learning more routines, and continuing to practice Nia in my living room.

And I can allow myself to be disappointed, to let unfulfilled anticipation slowly ebb away in its own natural time. It’s a new beginning, a new activity that did not come to fruition. I need to step back for a moment before planting new seeds.

Whatever else is true, I have to have a kernel of faith here that my next ongoing class, wherever I teach it, will work out. Faith and hope are crucial for trying again. So maybe at some point,  I’ll reach out to another place, and see how it goes from there. Even in the midst of disappointment, other potential new beginnings are out there.

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A resolution towards more gentle self-talk.

Last week, I accidentally hit a button on my phone that somehow ended up with Instagram recording me live in a tired and vulnerable moment without my knowledge.  I had just gotten home after a busy day without a full night’s sleep the night before, I was muttering to myself, and I was having somewhat of a sensory meltdown. I turned to my phone and realized it was recording live video…and that there were at least two people watching, one of whom was an acquaintance who I’d seen that day.

I alarmed her, and she did message me and then called me out of concern. She had good intentions and meant well. I hope I reassured her enough. I had to remind myself that I don’t owe anyone long explanations on why or when or how. It was enough to tell her that I was really tired, that I was safe, and that my husband would be home soon.

Aside from feeling embarrassed and self-conscious that I could so easily accidentally record my own actions while I was alone and completely unfiltered, I’ve also had the thought: I need to speak more kindly to myself, even when I’m alone, even if there’s no one around to hear it. And that’s not because I might accidentally hit that record button again, but because it’s better for me. It is less distressing overall and keeps me in a more open and less reactive emotional state. Speaking gently to myself helps me receive myself with more love – even when, and perhaps especially when, my energy is low.

While I don’t really remember the exact words I might have said in this instance, I do know that I do sometimes say things to myself at home that could be distressing to someone on the outside. Sometimes that’s out of habit, coming out of a past where I did mean those things in a more harmful way. Sometimes I say something and what it really means is, “It’s hard to function right now. I need to rest.”

But no matter what the reason, there’s other ways to comfort myself and meet my own needs. It’s also an importance practice to say what I mean. It’s a lot more affirming to say “I need rest and quiet right now,” rather than “I don’t want to deal with people anymore, ever.” The “ever” adds a sense of extreme finality; I may not want or need to interact with people in that moment, but the “ever” part is not actually true.

So, here’s to not accidentally hitting that record button again. I also resolve to work on speaking gently and truthfully to myself, whether I say the words out loud or not.

A moody week.

I had a moody week this past week. It was the kind of mood, heavily influenced by hormones, that creeps up on me every once in a while and makes me grateful that it isn’t always like this.

But in the midst of it, it felt downright depressive and it was hard to see much light in anything. And it was hard to do much of anything, aside from what was absolutely necessary.

To give myself credit, I probably did more than that. But there’s something frustrating about starting a week with a “this is the week I’m going to get organized and do the things I need to do” and then realizing halfway through that I’d have to narrow it way down.

I sat with the mood sometimes: it felt heavy and slow and sucked the meaning out of activities. I distracted myself from it at other times. I cried at the drop of a hat at moments and knew that it always didn’t make sense and it didn’t have to.

Sometimes I judged myself for it, and had thoughts that I should know what I want and I should be clear on what all my next steps are. Despite these moments of “shoulding” myself,  I also knew that it wasn’t a practical time to make decisions other than what to make for meals or what to do next in that particular day.

I have moments where I see moods like this as something to be wrestled with, to get through, to overcome. Perhaps if I add something to my day, a formula of getting enough sunlight + Nia + good food + whatever else, that it will lift, voila. While self-care and doing these activities help, there’s not a fail-safe guarantee that I’m going to feel better and stay feeling that way.

I used my DBT skills and checked the facts of what was really going on. This doesn’t always make feeling and being easier, but it does allow me to see my vulnerabilities. It takes me a few more steps closer towards accepting the mood rather than fighting it.

Now, the mood continues to lift. There’s more grays in it, more rays of sunlight, more hope and desire. I still feel somewhat exposed and cautious. I feel the fear that this mood will continue and become something more. If it does, I’ll take steps to take care of myself. Last week felt deflating; this week may feel different.

Now, I breathe in. I look at the first thing on my to-do list. And I begin my day.

Not a stranger to myself — responding to a note from someone I used to know.

Don’t be a stranger, she writes.

I find myself thinking
how can I be anything but?
I was somewhat of a stranger to myself when I knew her,
in the midst of a getting-to-know-self dance. Getting closer, but always a
few steps behind.

Now I generally keep up but my
self keeps me on my toes.

On a person-to-person basis,
Not being a stranger implies visits,
intimate and casual conversations
some form of connection
we may or may not have.

It’s always a risk,
but to you, stranger/acquaintance/community sister,
it could be like facing a flame of my past, my past beliefs
or like facing the awkward silences of the I-used-to-know-yous,
and who are you now?

She writes that she hopes to see me soon.

I’m not sure what to say to that.

I am thinking of the dream, a few nights back, of people from that community yelling at me, of the nagging feeling that stayed with me most of the day.  I am thinking of well-meant phrases that came across as antagonistic that day with her in the garden. I am also thinking that this matters, but less and less.

I am thinking of the feeling of wholeness and happiness that lingers with me longer as time goes by. Of standing with myself, of being in partnership, of doing art, of finding ways to sustain my livelihood.

I am thinking of dancing.

Don’t be a stranger, she writes.

Maybe that time — time for not-stranger-ness —  has passed. Perhaps it has not. I feel distant from that-which-was. I am not sure of what will be.

I put the letter down. At face value, the mailing is a year-end letter from a nonprofit organization asking for money. Her note is scrawled across the top, turning the letter into a more personal appeal.

letter fragment

It does appeal to the part of me that wanted — and wants to be part of something. But I remind myself that I am part of something, of some things: my own life, my marriage, my friendships, my Nia communities, large and small.

And I think of what it means to belong, not merely fit in. And how at some points in my life, I felt like I belonged and fit in, but often confused the two. While I’m still at odds with myself sometimes, in feeling “not enough,” I feel more like I belong. I belong, most of all, to myself. I’m not sure I want to fit in, at least not in the way I once did.

I don’t know how much thought she put into writing this short note. Clearly, I have put some thought into how I am reacting and responding to it.

Update.

I have several half-written posts, but they never seem to settle into full entries. So maybe I’ll start with summaries/snapshots of what I’ve been doing. Perhaps I’ll follow up on some of them in the future.

My love and I recently started taking Tai Chi and Aikido classes with an informal dojo. I’m hoping to deepen my perspective on these two martial arts, especially since they are two of the three martial arts forms/energies used in Nia. I’m really enjoying seeing my husband fall in love with the martial arts, which he’s always wanted to do, seeing him get more connected with his body. It’s also nice to have an activity outside our apartment we can do together.

I’m dealing – and sometimes wrestling with – with being a beginner in Tai Chi and Aikido as well as a beginning Nia teacher. I’m working on recognizing that it’s important and necessary to be exactly where I’m at, even though it can feel incredibly intimidating and vulnerable at times. I’m figuring out ways to cheerlead and encourage myself through it. In the end, what’s most important is to keep going.  It seems like I’m doing a lot of personal growth through movement forms. They are teaching me a lot in terms of discipline, confidence, patience, and so much more.

I’m also a beginner at proofreading legal transcripts. I am in the middle of an online course so I can learn how. I’m hoping it can be a way to bring in some income in the near future. While I’ve always been good at catching errors, this is challenging and taking my skills to a new level. It’s also taking a lot of review of rules of punctuation, capitalization, etc.

I’m taking an abnormal psychology class at the local community college. I’m enjoying it, and I’m also appreciating a reason to get out and do things two mornings a week. Grateful that I still had money from my AmeriCorps education award so I could take a class or two.

Since I take evening movement classes two nights a week and sunset is falling around 5:30 or so, I’ve gotten to see some incredible sunsets. Sometimes in the winter, we get actual rainstorms; more often, we get incredible clouds, which often make the sunsets stunning.

img_7502

I just had a birthday. I’m now 34. My year of being 33 was very full, and included the major transitions of wrapping up many things in New Mexico, getting married, and moving to Nevada. The day of my birthday was lovely. It included Tai Chi, a walk, a chocolate and vanilla ice cream cake, and dinner at a Persian restaurant.

I am starting to feel more settled here. It’s definitely a process. Some days, I feel more landed; other days, I feel so new. New to this place, new to experiences. I remind myself that feeling new isn’t a bad thing, that there is no rush to feel or be a certain way in my new surroundings. In my quiet moments, when I can ground myself and listen in, I recognize that being where I’m at, here and now, is a good place to be.

Grief’s fingerprint 

from my art journal, watercolor

In the past,
I’ve taken my losses
Discarded my gains
I’ve taken in others’ grief
I’ve cried for a world full
of people in pain.

There’s a cabinet of grief
The key to this place
Also unlocks the way to joy.

Sometimes, I feel like
I embody the grief
My mother felt when
Her mother died.
Holding me in her womb, she cried.
I heard, and was born.

Sometimes I feel like
The world and
I break my heart over and
over again.
Somehow, I remain whole.

I learn to live with
the grief, the sorrow, the joy
I learn what it is to be
alive.

– written sometime in/around 2012

 

Friday link roundup 3/18

A school district in Canada is teaching children emotional regulation.

On feeling overwhelmed in the midst of depression.

A woman talks about voluntourism and short service trips to other countries – and argues that they might not make much of a positive impact.

An Afghan woman brings her art and feminist murals to the streets of Kabul.

The Real Reason I’m Losing Fat.  I found Jessi Kneeland’s article on her weight, body image, and emotional healing stunning on a number of levels.  I’ll include a few quotes here and allow you to read for yourself:  “My mom told me that my only job was to let myself feel all that sad. She told me to add “be very sadto my to-do list every day until I no longer needed it.”
“It’s all beautiful, natural, normal, and appropriate for you right now. That’s true when you have soft belly rolls, true when you’re totally jacked, and true when you’re light and lean. All reflect the ebb and flow of life. And none of it determines your worth, because your worth is intrinsic.”