I’ve always loved to read books. The first time (yes, first time) I read The Hunger Games trilogy, I read them in 3 days. I usually read books quickly. But in 2016, I slowed down a bit in my reading game. I suspect that completing a yoga teacher training had something to do with this, but we’ll never really know.
I said in my last post that the end of 2016 was a bit of a blur. My husband and I moved again (same area, just from an apartment to a house), we did some traveling, there were the holidays, and I finished my YTT. I feel like I was literally going and going and going and going. My body didn’t have a chance to slow down and absorb all the juicy goodness I was learning – about myself, about yoga, and about…life.
I’m just now really giving myself a chance to peel apart all the layers of what I learned in the last few months. I’m not going to lie. Yoga teacher training brought up some things I was not even close to prepared for. We worked on our stories and our roots and our chakras. I’ve got stories that are wanting to be told, but they’re not quite ready yet. And some of those stories triggered my issues with my body image and with food. We learned a bit about aryuveda, which is something I desperately want to explore more. I discovered – or rediscovered, maybe, that I’m an emotional eater. When things that are particularly traumatic for me were dug up in my homework, I ate. And not things that would replenish my body, things that were bad for me. Pizza. Ice cream. Candy bars. Starbucks. Chips. Microwaved popcorn (my biggest weakness). Instead of working through the issue, I tried to fill the void. Instead of feeling, I was stuffing it all down. When I should have been diving deeper to work through it, I ran the other way. I thought I was protecting myself. In reality, I was doing more harm.
I gained weight. I became sad. Which is what partially led to me quitting my job with no true back up plan. My anxiety crept back up and I even experienced a minor anxiety attack while I was in a session at work. Yeah…not great, guys. My health had become something not important to me and I was tired of pushing it to the side.
Like my reading habits last year, my life has immensely slowed down. After the craziness that is Christmas, this was really nice. I developed some kind of sickness right after Christmas and I am still experiencing it. It started as allergies? Then moved to sinuses? Then became a cold? And now it’s just this really awful cough. I think my body was waiting for me to stop so it could work through all this internal gunk. Today (January 15) was literally the first day of the year that I woke up not feeling like death. This sick stuff has slowed me down even more.
This is painful to me. As someone who is used to being “on the go” and struggles with the word “no”, I don’t always know what to do with myself. So, I’ve been doing a lot of self care. I’ve been reading about essential oils. I’ve been cleaning the house more regularly. I’m sleeping later than normal to help my body cure this weird illness. I’ve actually been going to the grocery store and buying food that will make ME feel good! Compared to a month ago when I was eating out for lunch every day at work? This is already a huge adjustment. Enter bubble baths and yoga and binge watching TV and journaling. I seriously feel like me again. And I’m already closer to the me I WANT to be. And now I have the time to dive in to the issues surrounding my relationship with food. My one goal for 2017 is to be more mindful and regain my health. Not to look like a super model or be obsessed with every calorie I eat, but to have a healthy relationship with food and my body.
The only thing that I have been worried about is money. I have absolutely no clue how much money I will be bringing in each month. This is a new one for me. Although I know my husband and I will be able to figure it out, it’s the only thing I’m anxious about (besides failing at my dreams, but ya know, no big). It’s truly amazing how much money you can save when you don’t eat out every day, cut out Starbucks, and spend time with you friends at home vs. at a restaurant/bar. Even with this worry, though, I’m surprised at how much I’m not freaking out. I’ve battled anxiety all of my adult life, so there really is something to this self care thing. Any time it starts to creep up, I practice pranayama and my mantra of “it will all work out like it’s supposed to”. And it goes away, every single time.
Something else I’ve been taking my time with is Gabrielle Bernstein’s newest book The Universe Has Your Back. Like, I read a chapter a week, if I’m lucky. I’m taking notes on each chapter and really trying to practice it fully and mindfully. I want to soak up the lessons as much as possible.
This week, I was taking a bubble bath and reading her book. She was talking about receiving the love of the Universe; of surrendering control and letting it take over. She says:
Imagine if we lived with a presence of peace regardless of the outcome. The key to living with that peace is to surrender. Then, when you think you’ve surrendered, surrender some more. Trust in the power of the Universe and relax into an energy of receptivity (Bernstein, 2016).
The was my goal for the week. Surrender to peace and be open to receiving love. And you know what? I actually felt a difference. Even though I was up until 4 in the morning most nights coughing my lungs up, I felt peaceful. I felt happiness. I felt peace.
Sure, in moments I felt panic and guilt and worry, too. But they were minor. When you set yourself up to receive love, you will never fail.
So while I sometimes feel like sitting on the couch is unproductive and know it won’t help me reach my goals faster, it’s where I’m at right now. My body needs to heal. It is receiving restorative tenderness that it so desperately needs. The Universe is still working, and the hustle will be there when my body says it is time.
Surrender some more, and open yourself up to receive what the world has to offer you. It’s pretty delightful.
Bernstein, G. (2016). The Universe Has Your Back. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.