my space tracker

Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Head Hits the Ground...Finally! (Yoga, 12 Step and Little by Little)

A friend of mine told me recently that finally, thankfully, amazingly, her head has hit the ground. She has been practicing Yoga for years now, and while she knows that she is supposed to keep her eyes focused on her own mat, or closed even, for that matter, she can't help but notice that she is the only one in the class who cannot get her head down to the ground when the position calls for it. It just won't go. She has been inching closer, bit by bit, for years, but to no avail. Until this week.

Week after week she would keep on keeping on. She would show up for class. She would follow the instructor's lead. My friend lives at the intersection of Yoga and 12-step. In fact, all of her 12-step mantras would slip through her head like the ticker tape in time Time Square while she was on the mat.

Do the next right thing...

Don't compare your insides to everyone else's outsides

Fear is false evidence appearing real

Little efforts add up to big results

Let go and let G-d

Pay attention to your weight, you will lose your recovery, Pay attention to your recovery, you will lose your weight

Keep coming back

One day at a time (one class at a time, one stretch at a time, one second at a time)

It works if you work it

Easy does it....

My serenity is directly proportional to my surrender....

In G-d's time....

We are marveling together at how such a small victory is actually such a big one. How her head hitting the ground means to her that she has endured many months of difficult feelings. Many months of her old mantras. The "you can'ts" The "Just forget its." The "who do you think you are kiddings." And of course, the "It must be you, because everyone else seems okay, able to do it, not really having these feelings."

They are painful, our old mantras. Some folks call it The Voice. Or My Disease. Or My Eating Disorder. Whatever it is, sometimes, its like lightening during the day. It talks these messages across our minds, bringing us down without us even knowing what's hitting us. Until we feel the thunder of our bad feelings, lousy mood or dark cloud of depression or despair.

There are new words, new mantras to be learned. To be repeated over and over and over again until we can take on and take in the good. Until we learn to appreciate and credit ourselves for the victories and the achievements and the staying power it takes just to get through a day sometimes, when we are in emotional bad shape.

Keep stretching, I think. Your head will eventually hit the ground.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Dangerous "Yes But I..." Disease (focusing on the feeling at hand)

Not to be confused with the dangerous "Yes But You disease..." (see earlier post)'s how it often goes:

Woman: "I am feeling really lost. My mood is just so low."
Man: "Well, I'm really stressed lately. I feel awful too."
Woman: "This is not about you, I am talking about how I feel."
Man: " What about how I feel?"

Okay, so you can change woman to man, or child, or BBF. Doesn't matter really. And chances are we find ourselves on one side or the other anyway at different times. Its just painful, that's all, to tell someone how you are feeling and have them come back with how they are feeling. It creates distance at a time when closeness is what's wanted.
It makes sense, though. Often when someone tells us how they are feeling, we may think there is a subtle, or obvious, accusation that we are the cause of it. So we get defensive. Or we want to let them know we understand, so we put in our own feelings, or we want to make a connection, make a point or get some soothing for ourselves.

Perhaps we are afraid that we won't be able to help, or that we will say the wrong thing, or create a separation rather than a closeness. Then we will have to endure bad feelings, like helplessness, hopelessness, failure or annoyance. Its not easy to wade through these to the other side where connection and hope waits. Sometimes we may be afraid of the closeness that comes from walking through, so we turn things back to us in order to create a distance.

Our motives are not always conscious, of course, nor are they singular. And we do usually want to protect ourselves from hurt. It may be harder to respond with a "tell me more." Or an "of course I care, I did not know how distressed you were." Or even "Tell me what I can do. I'd like to make things right. Lets talk it out."

It can be our turn later, to get what we need, but sometimes sticking with the listening and the giving, staying with the feeling, however uncomfortable, and letting the conversation happen can pay dividends many times over.