Posts Tagged ‘insights’

Temporally dislocated

Maybe I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With the time change, the late afternoon/early evening darkness hits me hard.

Maybe I am, as my husband puts it, “temporally dislocated.”  And maybe it’s both.

In other words, the time change affects my sense of time, which in turn affects my sense of myself. When and how I am located in my day is thrown off.

This past week, I’ve been feeling changeable, erratic, somewhat temperamental. Like having this intense desire to stay in, go into a semi-hibernation. Like wanting company, then later fiercely wanting to be alone; wanting to be held, then wanting more space. This isn’t a new experience after a time change; I’m simply more aware of it. I know I’ll adjust within a week or two, but in the meantime, I feel like my sense of order has been disrupted.

And then I walk outside and breathe in the air, and the relief is almost immediate. This may change after 20 minutes of running errands, and I may again intensely want to be in my quiet home space again. However, it does remind me that it’s important to step outside and feel the sunlight on my skin. It helps me actively locate myself in that part of the day. It allows me to just be there in that moment.

Advertisements

Odds and ends

 

Some odds and ends, thoughts and moments from this week:

*Sometimes the line between looking forward to something and dreading it is very thin for me. I have moments where I’m like, “I’m excited for this but I really wish it wasn’t happening today. How many hours do I have before I have to go do it?”

*After telling someone “I messaged them [photos] to you,” I realized that in today’s nuances of technological communication, ‘messaged’ could be interpreted as “Facebook message.” What I really meant was that I texted them to her.

*Sometimes, add another few moments of mindful meditation to my day can be really helpful. I generally do a few minutes in the morning; one day this week, I also took a few minutes in the afternoon. When I’m feeling anxious, reconnecting with my breath can be so important.

*I tend to forget that I enjoy woodworking and working with power tools. Granted, I don’t have the opportunity to do it much anymore. I volunteered yesterday at the YMCA as part of a city-wide volunteer event, and we were making playground equipment and a full-size Jenga set out of wood. And even though it was warm, it was nice to be outside, doing something physical, and creating something.

Moving to Heal reflections

M2H-LOGO-2015

 

It’s been three months since I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. Moving to Heal is a Nia training geared towards adapting movement to enhance the healing process. This can include healing from a physical injury, moving through depression, working with aging populations, and more.

It was my first time meeting Debbie Rosas, co-founder of Nia and a force of nature in her own right. Initially, I was a little intimidated by the idea of meeting her and taking a training from her. From the weekend I spent with her, I can say that she’s an incredible source of Nia wisdom. She’s curious, loves to learn, and has great passion for what she does. I heard from others that she was softer at this training than they’d observed and experienced at other trainings. Since it is largely about self-healing, Moving to Heal requires a softer touch, and she held that type of space for the weekend beautifully.

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

Painting on one of the walls of the Nia studio

Reflections on what struck me, moved me, made me think:

The first day concentrated mainly on self-healing, on following the body. While I’ve gotten better at this, I still sometimes am more focused on the moves and having the movement help me feel a certain way. I realized during a recent bodywork session that I often want an “easy fix” when I’m experiencing physical pain or discomfort, and it doesn’t always work that way; it often takes more time. Tuning in and asking my body what it needs and following that can lead to more awareness and even a shift in sensation.

The second day, which was a little more externally focused, we did exercises where we limited at least one of our senses so we could have more of a sense of what it might be like for people who can’t hear, see, or move as well. I chose hearing and put earplugs in. It brought my attention more into my body and into each sensation; my intereoception (sense of the internal) was more activated as a result.  However, it also meant that I was straining to hear the music and Debbie’s voice. She said, “Close your eyes,” at one point. I did, and it was even harder to hear. It was as though I had been cut off from the room and the experience. Those who limited their vision (by putting Vaseline on eyeglasses) said that they felt like their hearing became more acute, but it was disorienting and even dizzying to not be able to fully see what was going on. It’s very easy to take being able-bodied and having full (or close to full) ability in the senses for granted; it was eye-opening to gain insight on what it might be like for someone with these limitations to do a chair Nia class.

Speaking of chair Nia: It’s definitely different. We first tried it at the end of the first day without much instruction, just rotated among several Nia teachers in the room, following their movements. It was playful, silly, sometimes intense, sometimes more gentle. The next morning, Debbie gave us more tips about doing Nia in a chair: first, use your core and your upper and lower extremities as much as possible. Without doing that, she said, we — and our students — would be more likely to be sore afterwards. While movement is more limited in a chair, it’s also active in a different way. It requires creativity in doing adjustments or modifications. I can, for example, do choreography/moves originally intended for the feet with my hands. Or I can modify on the ground with small foot and leg movements. Or I can stop altogether and just follow the movements with my eyes. There are so many options that I normally don’t think of when I’m dancing or teaching. With all the options, doing Nia in a chair seems less limited and more like a different experience.

The second day, we played with some of the 52 moves, and it was great to see how I could repeat one move in a variety of ways. Repetition doesn’t have to be boring or limiting, and there can be variations within it.

There were also moments that were sweet, such as connecting with a partner during an exercise and creating a deep sense of safety and security. At the beginning, each of us danced in the center of the circle when Debbie called our names, one by one, creating the space.

There was connecting with other Nia people, sharing our love of this holistic form of dance fitness, creating a strong sense of community. Spending time with dear friends and meeting new ones.

I remember the conversation during the first day’s lunch, when I shared with my assigned group about how Nia had helped me with depression and my sensory processing issues. Nia has been so healing for me, and I want to continue that process. I want to be able to share that with others.

I’m still sitting with how to take my Moving to Heal practice to the next level — I’d like to be able to teach a regular Moving to Heal class at some point soon. That requires having a space and regular students, and I’m still figuring out how to establish that. In Nia, we refer to “natural time,” doing things in the time needed, at my own pace, as they unfold. I remind myself of that when I feel time pressure, when I want to start doing things right this instant. I’m taking steps. And in the meantime, I’m learning new routines and occasionally reading the materials/guidebooks.  I can also continue my own self-healing movement practice at home.

Sometimes, it can be fun to “turn up” the Nia moves to the highest level, full expression, more of a cardio workout. There is also a lot of value and beauty in slowing and scaling the movements way down. When I slow down, I can sense better into where I’m at, how I’m feeling, and what my body needs. While I can certainly turn to the external and explore how I can give that experience to others, I move first for myself, for my own self-healing. And that is what I learned and received from the Moving to Heal training.

The power of sharing my own experience.

A conversation with friend from earlier this week:

“You probably haven’t had to deal with stuff like this,” she said, after describing how she’d been feeling lately.

“Depression?”

She nodded. “Well, actually, I have,” I said, and elaborated about my own experience.

Afterward, she thanked me for sharing. She knew then that I could relate to how she was feeling.

This moment allowed me to see how incredibly validating it was for me to share my personal experience — for both my friend and for me.

When I was in the midst of my most severe depressive episode, I know that I often felt very alone and isolated in my experience. I think that affirming for someone that she is not alone may have been a powerful gift. Yes, it required vulnerability. It required me to tread into topics I don’t usually touch on in everyday conversations. It gave me the opportunity to rely on my inner strength and know that I could be — and was — okay to give support in that moment.

I felt cautious with this interaction, both during and afterwards. I know I am not necessarily fragile now, but I see the darkness within myself, the potential for becoming depressed again. These kinds of interactions have the potential to be draining and triggering. But I also realize that in many ways, this gives me an opportunity to establish boundaries when needed while also providing the kind of support that only one who has been through something similar can provide. I won’t offer solutions, but I can offer my own story and share what helped me.

It helped me to share, too. Sometimes I feel like I only give people parts of my story. True, not everyone has earned my trust to hear more. But it was important for me to have a moment where I let my guard down, especially when it seemed appropriate and needed. So perhaps I received a gift in that moment as well.

But it’s free! Reflections on my habit of signing up for online trainings.

I have a habit of signing up for free webinars and workshops, ones that claim to be beneficial, boost my mindset, give me tools for my small business, etc. It is likely that these have value in themselves, and I’m sure they benefit many people.

However, I rarely attend these things. The truth is: I feel bogged down by watching videos online. I have to take webinars in small bites. I get restless. Sometimes I can watch things while doing something else, like taking notes or making jewelry, but after a time, I get overwhelmed by the amount of information and the fact I’ve been watching a computer screen for an extended amount of time. The content adds more noise and clutter to my already full e-mail inbox and internet time. It can add to overstimulation and potentially lead to a sensory shutdown.

I also reached a point where self-help resources became less helpful for me. Part of that was burnout: I spent thousands of dollars and over two years on a live-in empowerment program. In the end, I can say that parts of it were worthwhile and beneficial…and other parts were not helpful and even harmful for me. I am now more cautious and skeptical. While I believe it’s helpful to have a good and hopeful attitude, I don’t believe completely in mind over matter. If someone starts talking about manifestation and the law of attraction, I’ll lose interest quickly. It’s not that I don’t think these things aren’t helpful for some people; I just don’t believe that they are helpful for me.

Also, sometimes something that was meant to encourage me doesn’t have the desired effect. I was watching something (as part of the marketing section of my transcript proofreading course) recently about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it. I recognized it in myself and I’ve actually felt more self-conscious since then. I do have tools for overcoming self-doubt; sometimes, I need to find my own way out.

It’s also that I’m not generally the best person to market to. Yes, I’ve clicked on a link, I’ve signed up for a free class, I get on an e-mail list. I’ll get that far; you’ve sold me on the free parts. But at this point, unless you’re selling a set of skills I want to acquire or a Nia training, I probably won’t buy the product or service that you’re trying to sell. It’s also that I sometimes get annoyed at even well-meaning people who are selling their products and services. No wonder I struggle with the idea of marketing and selling my services — I don’t want people to react to me selling something in a similar way. (Note: This is not to say that I’m invulnerable to marketing and that I don’t get the desire to buy things; I do. I just don’t think I’m the best person to target for an actual sale).

Perhaps the obvious lesson here is to stop signing up for online events I won’t attend, for free services that may turn into sales pitches. I can acknowledge that while I’m curious and would appreciate the insights, it’s often more effective for me to find those in another way. Maybe I can find an article by that person or check out their book. Maybe I’ll reach out and connect with someone who has done something similar to what I’m trying to do. I can write down what kind of support I need and brainstorm ideas on how and where to get it. Alternatively, before I sign up for something, I can look more carefully at what’s being offered. I can then make a more considered decision, and, if I like what they’re offering, make an intentional date with myself to watch it.

I recently signed up for a free training that had multiple videos/webinars about how to overcome overwhelm. I was completely overwhelmed and daunted by the amount of videos. So here is my intention for the future: to sign up for things like this with more intention and not all at once, and to pause before I sign up for another thing, no matter how low (or free!) the cost.

Reflections on a hometown visit and creating home

Returning to my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for 10 days in May was wonderful. I got to see friends, take several Nia classes (plus take a weekend training!), and appreciate the beauty of the landscape.

mountains and rivers

The Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande.

After seven months away, it felt like both a long and short time away. Also, I had things scheduled like a vision therapy follow-up appointment and a session with my occupational therapist, so at moments it almost felt like a chapter out of my life last year.

Being there reminded me how much of a life I built there. When I first moved back, my main goal was to get stable and regain my mental health. I wasn’t expecting to create something that I would be reluctant to leave.

But I realize that creating a life, forming connections, and creating a sense of community for myself was important. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy talks about a “life worth living.” For me, that includes feeling comfortable, at home, and connected. It grew to include Nia, which helped me gradually find my way back to joy. As the months went by, I felt more capable, more alive, more me. All of this was and is important.

During my days there and when I returned to Las Vegas, I felt somewhat unsettled, as though my desires and attention were split between the two places.  I wanted to be here and there. I really like the life I am creating with my love here. I miss people there. I’m gradually meeting and getting to know people here. The landscape here, with deserts and mountains, reminds me somewhat of New Mexico. I appreciate both types of desert beauty.

Las Vegas sunset

Las Vegas, Nevada, late May

While part of me felt distressed by feeling split, I realize that this feeling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that I am building a home here in Las Vegas while still having a strong sense of home in Albuquerque. It means that I can return there and connect with people and stay in touch. It means that I am learning to create and maintain a life for myself wherever I am.

Lessons and observations from my first summer in Las Vegas.

Here’s what I’m finding out during my first summer living in Las Vegas, Nevada(during the latest heat wave, and with the high temperatures in general):

1. In some places, people mostly stay inside in the winter. Other places, they mostly stay inside in the summer.

2. With how dry it is, the “feels like” on the forecast is often at least 4-9 degrees cooler than the actual temperature, e.g. 109 degrees feels like 104.

3. With all the hot air and occasional breeze, sometimes walking outside is like walking through (or into?) a giant hair dryer.

4. It’s still possible to get up early and take walks. It warms up quickly, so it’s best to get out as soon as possible in the morning. My first thought yesterday morning: It will be nice to get out for a short walk this morning while the temperatures are under 100 (it was 89).

5.  If I bring my water bottle with me when I’m out running errands (which is good to do to stay hydrated), I need to put it in my purse and take it with me wherever I go. Even leaving it in the car for a few minutes will heat it up.

6.  Wearing skirts and dresses helps keep me cool(er).

7. Having a pool at our apartment complex is a huge plus.

8. Apparently, outdoor Hot Yoga is a thing. As in outside in the summer heat.  I’m not really interested, but I really hope they wear sunscreen.

9.  Low 100s feel better than 110+ (which it is now during this heat wave).

10. I am gradually acclimating. I wouldn’t want to stay out for long, and the heat wears on me. But it’s starting to feel less oppressive.