It's been a rough couple of months...and the work ain't pretty. There are a lot of tears, some sleepless nights, re-lapses into old behaviors followed by self-flagellation...all the super fun stuff that comes from renewal and rebuilding. Huzzah!
And it's all accompanied by efforts to stay present, not dull the process with distraction (actively dating, an overly packed social calendar) or preferred methods of desensitization (food, alcohol, hours of television).
I'm learning to be kinder to myself, more patient. And I learned that my old methods for self-improvement, like reading, talking, thinking and journaling--which are all fantastic things!--were only getting me so far along in the process.
I needed help.
In an effort to eek out better results, I've been incorporating "alternative" therapies into my life.
I know. I'm becoming a damn hippie. I promise to keep shaving my armpits! Maybe!
Anyway, here are a few of the things I've been trying and getting good results from:
Not only do I love the physical results of regular yoga practice, I love that it's my one hour every day that I get to be truly present. My mind shuts down (finally) and I just move and breathe.
The first few times I really connected with yoga--like, the point where I finally understood how to connect the breath to the movement--I broke down bawling in class. It think it was my body's way of cleansing itself from the emotional toxins and stress. And each time I was like, "Holy shit...I was THAT stressed out and anxious?!?"
Yes, yes you were.
Don't worry, though, yoga hasn't caused me to stop talking to myself. Phew!
Experiential learning and hypnotherapy
Let this be a lesson to you all: if you Google, on a whim, "therapy for shame and depression issues related to an authoritarian upbringing" and you get an ACTUAL, GOOD RESULT from, like, a trained individual, you should probably at least have one session with that person, even if you think his approach is totally fucking weird.
My first visit with this therapist, I was notably anxious and skeptical. But by the end of the session, I was like, "Huh, well...it's worth a try!" We focus on relaxation techniques and creating my own sense of safety, peace and security, even within or while talking or thinking about things that would typically set me on edge.
I'm learning that I am absolutely in control of my own experience. I'm learning to face emotions head on, and to deal with and experience them in the moment. And I'm learning, especially, that I don't have to be a victim of my circumstances.
Tarot was kind of an accident. Well, not, like, "Oh, so sorry I hit you with my car, Tarot!" but more like, I'd never considered Tarot as something that could provide hope and healing for me until I just happened to see an offer for a free session in Sarah's Network of Nice.
And, badda boom, badda bing, a few days later I was Skyping with Isis, and she was showing me, card by card, the beauty, hope and healing present throughout all the mess I've been slogging through. Totally unexpected, but awesome (and more to come on this front, including the cards I pulled, and an interview with Isis).
I guess on top of all this whatnot, I've been focusing on the food I put in my body and the way I get my body to move. I've been focusing on performance, getting stronger, and demanding that my body not only do the things it was capable of in high school, but maybe exceed them, as well. Again, it's good to just focus on something for an hour besides my brain's constant need to analyze through every detail of my life.
So! What do you do when you're in the midst of life change? Any other "alternative" suggestions? "Regular" suggestions? Ponies?