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.