The Pendulum of possibilities

For the last 9 months I have been off work at first I felt trapped in a deep dark abyss with the walls caving in ready to collapse in on me at any moment. I was deprived of oxygen, of air and freedom for so long I forgot that it was, a creation of my mind concocted to ensnare my senses and open my eyes to the transition that was about to occur in my life. 

I was propelled to the surface in the most fascinating way. Stopping along the way at various intervals to allow my senses to feel and see the progression of my mind, body and soul as well as my surroundings. It was a transition that although took two years to arrive has felt much quicker than that.

The first year was hard, mourning the person I used to be, while dealing with my own trauma and the constant bombardment of triggers from the trauma of others being in the 911 business this was when I was in the deep dark despair of my heart and soul. I was unable to cope with my own life and it was now affecting me to the point I could not do my job to the best of my abilities. It was a hard decision but I knew it had to be made. I had to distance myself from my triggers, to gain a new perspective- new clarity. 

My decision to continue to teach yoga was probably the best one I ever made because that brought me joy but also it got me out of the house and into a routine. To top it all off I was constantly looking for new insights to provide my students but it also helped me gain insight into my own life. It is what saved me, it was the helping hand that reached out and yanked me out of the depths and into the present moment. Each insight, each meditation, each breath technique, and each posture saved me one at a time. I still remember how it felt to be in a constant state of anxiety BUT I no longer have to spend days recovering from one incident that set my inner fire. I realize that spark was one intended to help spark change in my life through my perspective. 

I read in a book that we all swing on the pendulum of possibilities. Sometimes on the positive end, sometimes the negative. If we believe we must stay on one end of the spectrum, for most that being the positive side, a part of you becomes attached to that outcome and resistant to the other. This creates a conflict within and limits our beliefs about what we must be. This means we are living with a fear based perspective, it ends up being a conditional one and restricts us from fully blossoming. I truly believed that I always had to be happy, and when I was not it created conflict inside. Instead of just accepting how I felt, I kept hiding from it, like I was playing hide and seek. Until finally it caught up with me, but it was much bigger & much scarier than I ever had anticipated. 

To make peace with all that I had been hiding from, well I had to become first aware of it. Realize that it is ok to feel something other than happy, its ok to feel sad, angry, hurt, irritated, negative, etc. But what is not ok is to let how you feel dictate how you treat yourself and others around you. 

So what are my techniques? Theres a few that work for me

1. I meditate: I engage my awareness, soften all the muscles in my body, and allow ALL thoughts to surface, and simply let them enter and pass just like clouds in the sky. They enter your field of awareness and then they float by. Also during meditation I may use a mantra that I feel may resonate with me that day. For example : i am secure, i am supported, i am strong, i am calm, i am open, i am kind, i am free, i am worthy, i am enough, i am healed. If there is one that particularly you may not feel -use it and remind yourself of the ways that you are. For example I felt that I was not being supported by some of the people around me, but then I realized it was only in one aspect of my life I felt unsupported and there were many other ways these people were supporting me. 

It always up to us to see other perspectives and truly see the big picture. If we resist certain things they will continue to persists until they are finally dealt with.

2. Write things down. Make a list of things that bother you. Start with just listing them off, and then think deeply about WHY they bother you. Then in order to symbolically and literally let them go- i crumple /scratch out or burn the piece of paper.

3. Through teaching yoga I constantly strive to find new methods to improve, connect deeper with my students and also provide them with life insights, but what I realized was I also used those insights to help me ride the waves of life more easily and comfortably. 

These are my methods and my experience dealing with trauma. It is different for everyone. You have to find something you love that provides you joy, and helps your body relax on every level. Find sayings, prayers or simple mantras that help provide you with strength courage or with what you might feel you lack that day. Breathe into anxiety and stress and find comfort even in uncomfortable sensations or emotions. I STRONGLY encourage others to go out and choose insights that resonate for them and explore how they can teach or help others with these newly discovered tidbits of wisdom. 

Afraid of silence

We have a tendency to be constantly on the go, constantly in conversation with ourselves or others. We forget to stop and simply enjoy the sounds of the moment, the sounds of silence.

Why do we have the innate need to be always talking to someone, to always be moving and to never sit in stillness? We want to be busy because it looks to others as though we are always productive. In all honesty how much of that constant busyness is actually productive? We all know that despite what we are actually doing our mind wonders off to these far off places of past or future either reminiscing or waiting for an event or situation. Are we actually productive to our fullest potential? And how many hours a day are we actually productive? 

An average worker works 8 hours a day but studies show that they are actually only productive 3 hours of that 8 hour day. Most workers spend the majority of their time being distracted by social media, other people or their own mind. A study from found that the average office worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes a day. A lot of time is spent checking social media accounts, news websites, taking smoke breaks and even looking for a new job. More than half need to break up the day with short breaks. The reason being most people can not stay concentrated on a single task for much more than an hour. This is the breakdown of where our attention diverts to.

1. Checking social media – 47% (44 minutes in 8 hours).

 2. Reading news websites – 45% (65 minutes in 8 hours).

 3. Discussing out-of-work activities with colleagues – 38% (40 minutes).

 4. Making hot drinks – 31% (17 minutes). 

5. Smoking breaks – 28% (23 minutes).

 6. Texting and instant messaging – 27% (14 minutes). 

7. Eating snacks – 25% (8 minutes). 

8. Making food in the office – 24% (7 minutes).

 9. Making calls to partners and friends – 24% (18 minutes). 

10. Searching for new jobs – 19% (26 minutes).

It is definitely important to evaluate how you spend your time at work and home, this way we can see if there are ways you are able to be more productive in your life. I have found that taking 20 minutes in the morning for myself- my quiet time it helps improve my focus but also my healthy happy thoughts. Meditation is known for it ability to de-stress mind before work but also helps to improve focus on the tasks at hand. I was reading this article about how 35% of all heart attacks happen on Monday morning. The stress of the thought of work alone induces heart attacks for those prone to them. This idea of stress inducing dis-ease has become a real interest to me, as I myself had been in a state of disaster for a few years. But with the help of breath & body connection through yoga I have been able to lessen those extreme feelings that used to be a constant. Now they come and go but I am much more capable of managing those feelings that arise with feelings of anxiousness or stress. The moment I felt overwhelmed, anxious or stressed I would spin out of control into fits of anger, sadness and fear. Now I recognize my reaction, take a few breaths and return to my response- instead of reaction without thought. It is imperative we recognize our reactions and ask ourselves is this really how I want to respond to others. 

I was afraid of silence- of being alone with myself because I wasn’t really sure I liked the person I was at that time.  The reason being wasn’t because I bad person, it was because I went through a very traumatic situation for me that created the fight or flight response within. My body was always on high alert, reacting thinking I was always in danger. Through relaxation, breathing and drawing myself back to the present- I was able to remember respond instead of react, be here, now, be compassionate and loving toward myself. It is ok to be wrong, as long as you do things out of love. As long as you do your best to realize that you yourself are your best friend- be a little selfish once in a while because you can not depend on others to give you a break. Be the bestest friend you have, find and understand your reactions where they come from and why they are there. Be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake, but learn from it. Love yourself more- never less, especially when you are having difficulties, difficult emotions, and fears. Let love in.