Softening and Opening

Soft evening light through the bedroom curtain, the view from my yoga mat.

Soft evening light through the bedroom curtain, the view from my yoga mat. 6/8/11. Canon EOS Rebel XS.

Fear and anxiety have been coiling tightly in my belly, my whole being recently.  Change is afoot, speeding toward me (set to arrive the 24th of this month), and what lies beyond the change is, at least in large part, unknown.  I tell myself it’s a field full of possibility in my more lucid, centered moments.  But the fear of the myriad of unknown details, the anxiety of knowing it’s coming, and feeling–despite years waiting for this very thing–like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming big rig, have had me tensing up…Tensing up and feeling angry with myself for feeling scared and anxious.

There has been, as morning pages and pre-bed mental dumps into my paper journal over the past few days reflect, a lot of not-so-nice self-talk going around and around in my mind.  I mean, really, what kind of sense does it make to direct anger at yourself for feeling scared and anxious?  It doesn’t.  It only furthers the suffering.

Also today, it really hit home how much I’ve cut myself off from people.  I knew when I arrived back here from university graduation that I didn’t want to stay, so, as the years have gone along, I’ve isolated more and more, keeping people at arm’s length, trying not to put down roots so that it would be easier to leave.  Unfortunately, I discovered I have put down roots, and, on top of that, I’ve been increasingly lonely.  I can be so good at fooling myself sometimes.

With the internal upheaval around endings and new beginnings on the horizon, a new life for myself needing to be born in the near future, I decided that this evening’s yoga practice would be this YogaGlo class by Elena Brower.

I didn’t know quite what I was getting myself into, but I am so, so thankful for that 45 minute practice session.

I’ve heard of people dissolving into tears during their yoga practice.  I’ve sniffled a little a few times myself, but this evening brought a flood of the cleansing variety.  The main focus of the class was softening the belly and allowing for possibility.  When the tears started, I felt all the gut-level tension start dissolving.  Those knots from the fear and anxiety came untied.  I saw how downright cruel I’ve been to myself, not just recently, but across decades…Never satisfied with what I’ve accomplished, always angry at myself for not being better or doing more and doing it better.

No wonder I am so scared!  When anger at self, and, though it pains me to say, little pockets of self-hatred, along with the resultant self-doubt, are taking up so much mental and spiritual space, how can you believe yourself capable of making your dreams reality?

The short answer?  You can’t.  Or, at least, I haven’t been able to.

This is what makes all the good advice in the world useless, all the support from friends and family seem like it’s not enough.  This is what keeps me standing still.  It’s nothing outside of me stopping me.  It’s just me, standing in my own way because I tense up in every way possible, because that anger at myself, that self-hatred and self-doubt, formed a Fort Knox-worthy vault around my heart, locked down so tightly that even faith in the Divine, self-trust, self-acceptance, and self-love couldn’t really get in in measurable, effective quantities.  It happened so gradually over the past few years, that I didn’t notice exactly how closed-down I had become.

Something about this evening, something about the quality of the light coming in my window, something about that particular combination of yoga poses, breath work, and the soothing words and tone of the teacher blasted a hole in the side of that vault.  Tears came rushing out.  Love and acceptance began flowing in.  It’s true, what Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said in one of my favorite quotes:  “Do your practice, and all is coming.”   I’ve been practicing, but what came wasn’t quite what I expected.  It was what I needed.

I’ve got a-ways to go, but the opening is there if I’ll let it stay.  I want to let it stay, but that’s going to take lots and lots of practice and probably relapses.  But I can’t give up this time.  I’ve had a taste of feeling okay, of feeling enough, like, hey, yeah, I really can have that life that calls to me without the self-flagellation.  I want more than a taste.

Here’s to softening and opening to possibility, dipping my toe back into opening up to other people, and many, many more evenings spent figuratively “hugging it out” with myself on the yoga mat.

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Switch-Off Sunday: Renewing the Practice

Fairy, sunshine, stillness.

Fairy, sunshine, stillness.

After months off, I am feeling the need to renew the practice of Switch Off Sunday, inspired by Goddess Leonie.   Switch Off Sundays entail, basically, spending all or part of the day away from the computer and/or the internet, with or without a list of Glorious Possibilities.

I’ve been spending a lot of my Sundays wandering aimlessly around the internet and doing anything but paying much attention to truly nourishing my spirit.  I need that nourishment; I miss it.  Therefore, change to what has become the normal routine must come.

So, shortly after I post this, I’ll be leaving the online world for the rest of the day.  What will happen instead?  I don’t know.  I’m simply going to play it by ear, seeing what feels best from moment to moment, but that photo up there captures the mood I’m going for.

May all find rest and nourishment today.

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Absence

I’ve largely been absent in this space for over a month, with the exceptions of dreamboards for April and May.  It seems the drive to blog fled.

Not the drive to write, mind you.  My paper journals can attest to that.  They’re rapidly filling  But the desire to put into publicly accessible words what I’ve been thinking, feeling, and processing?  It went totally out the window.

There was the finality of letting some things go, and settling into the peace of that.

A beloved aunt died, so there was some grief processing.

There was fretting aplenty, about a multitude of things, some big things and some things that were ultimately pointless, and my first full-blown anxiety attack in years (it caught me by surprise, upon waking one morning).

Things have felt like they’ve been off-kilter and speeding up, and I felt the need to withdraw a bit, to write more to and for myself alone.  Sometimes, I think, this sort of thing has to happen.

When the cycle turns, though, and the time to share comes–as it always does, eventually–I hope to put some of what I’m finding hidden in the fallows into words written for the sharing.

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Full Flower Moon Dreamboard

Full Flower Moon Dreamboard

Full Flower Moon Dreamboard

It was the full moon last night, which means I made a new collage to act as a guide for this new lunar month.  I participate in two dreamboarding circles, Soulcraft at Flock and Full Moon Dreamboards at Jamie Ridler Studios.  I finished this last night, but didn’t have time to post here, so here I am bright and early this morning. 🙂

I started looking for images and such over the weekend, and things just really didn’t appeal. The idea for this one came yesterday morning while I was writing morning pages. I thought it was a little odd, so I tried other things, but kept coming back to this configuration, the image of the nest, the two flowers, and the quote on printed cardstock.

The quote had been running in my head since last week when Jennifer Louden posted it to her Twitter. It struck me as an apt image and description. I’m in the tangle of uncertainty, you see, and I really think making a cozy nest there is a better way to deal with it than what I’ve been doing (i.e. stressing, obsessing, and driving myself crazy).

As for the nest, it could stand for a lot of things: security, a living space of my own, a financial “nest egg”, nurturing, comfort, and more I’m sure. The egg could be any of a number of possibilities waiting to hatch.

The flowers are much the same, symbols that could be interpreted in a variety of ways, such as: innocence, vulnerability, openness, beauty.

Obviously, my intuitive side took over this time. I’m looking forward to seeing what manifests over the course of this lunar month.

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Full Pink Moon Dreamboard

Full Pink Moon Dreamboard. April 18, 2011.

Full Pink Moon Dreamboard. April 18, 2011.

The moon became full in wee hours of this morning, which means today is the day for making dreamboards with the other lovelies in the dreamboarding circle hosted by Jamie Ridler Studios, and, by another name the same rose, Soulcraft with my fellow Flockettes.

This month, I still find myself craving spaciousness, along with relaxation and time outdoors.  The words are little reminders I found myself needing today and have a feeling I will need in the month to come.  It’s simple and clear, and I love it already.

What shape are your dreams taking this month?

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