Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Yoga and Self Care and the Evil Fall

Fall is upon us.  I think where I live, the gods just pick a day and say, “Now there will be no more sunshine in the mornings” since there doesn’t seem to be a slow transition between summer and fall.  One day I was getting up at 6am and it was sunny outside; the next day, I hit my alarm at 6am and groaned at the darkness outside my window.  If I have to endure the fall, at least let me transition smoothly.

I have started my fall routines.  I set aside 30 minutes in the morning to sit in front of my sun lamp.  My night time meds have been adjusted.  I make sure I don’t avoid meditation, one of the things I have previously avoided in the fall only to my detriment.  This fall I am setting an intention to make time for self care each day.

One of the ways I make time for self care is to make time for yoga (in DBT lingo: STRONG).  Yoga helps me in several ways.  It keeps me active, and as the depression worsens, I tend to stop physical activity.  Yoga doesn’t prevent the depression, but it does help me feel better about myself.  I feel like I have accomplished something when I do yoga.  Yoga also raises my endorphins, which can temporarily help me feel a little less blue, and yoga calms my mind.  A little.  And at this point in the year, I’ll take whatever calming I can get.

But I can also run into trouble with yoga if it becomes just another thing I am making myself do.  It loses its benefits that way and becomes a chore, something I begin to dread.  My therapist likes to remind me of the concept of flexibility.  I do not have to do yoga every single day for one hour every session.  Some days I can do thirty minutes, or forty minutes, or ten.  Some days, I can even not do any at all.

My friend recently posted an entry in her blog which helped remind me that yoga is more than a strict, physical discipline.  She talked to some of her yogi friends and founds ways they remembered to treat themselves (DBT lingo: Self-Soothe).  I already have a favorite yoga rug and my props, but I was drawn to the “smelly things” section.  I think I’ll try some of that body powder when my next paycheck comes along.  Even if I’m not going out into the world after a yoga session, not smelling like sweat sounds really nice.

I have no idea what this fall will bring.  I can only go off my past years for hints of what will come.  But I can do my best to make good choices in the self-care department.  I can set aside time for yoga (most days).  I can brew a cup of tea before I start grading a pile of papers.  I can soak in the bathtub using homemade bath salts that smell like jasmine.  I can set aside time for knitting and reading and going out with friends.  And yes, sometimes I will give in and curl up on my bed, but I do not have to get down on myself for doing that.  Instead, I can see it as a time to feel the softness of the blankets and hear the purr of my cats and breathe the fresh air coming in the window.

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September 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying on the Path

I was talking to someone the other day about relapse, and she’s at a crucial moment where she has multiple options, some of which could turn out well, and some of which could lead to disaster.  She knew what direction she wanted to go, but she felt shame for being in that position in the first place. 

As I mentioned in my previous post: I am fully recovered, but I am also fully human.  And I think we all have to accept our human moments.

Recovery would be grand if it were a one-way street, lined with flowers and shady trees and park benches upon which to rest.  But it’s not.  It’s more of a twisty, windy road with stretches of daisies and stretches of thorns and poison ivy.  And in order to get to your destination, you have to go through both the daisies and the poison. 

There is no shame in that.  There should be no guilt.  What these moments are are opportunities.  You can continue on the path, working your way toward recovery, or you can step off of the path.  It is a choice, and now that you have awareness of your surroundings, the choice is yours. 

It would also be grand if everyone’s path to recovery looked the same.  Then I could stand here and tell you exactly what your next move should be and when exactly you should make that move.  I could guide you every single little step of the way, and I could even put a blindfold on you and still lead you out safely. 

But our paths are all different.  Similar, but, ultimately, different.  I can offer suggestions and advice, knowing what worked for me on my path, but I cannot give you a definitive GO THIS WAY command. 

Staying on the path is difficult.  It’s a commitment, one that will require moments of re-commitment again and again and again.  None of these moments mean that you are going the wrong way or that you have made a mistake.  They mean that you are human and you now have another moment to choose to work toward recovery.  

When I see people struggle through these moments, I do not focus on the fact that they are struggling. I focus on their courage.  It takes courage to admit you are struggling and to face it.  It takes even more courage to grab ahold of someone’s hand and start walking forward, and that is the most important thing.  Not the struggle, but the courage.

September 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment