Its Official! The kids are back in school, things seem to be getting back to a semi normal routine and there is a cool breeze in the air...the season change is on it's way. This is such a magical time of year. For me, nature is one of the best teachers. When I look around, I can't help but notice that change is every where. It's inevitable and not only is it inevitable, it is necessary for all forms of life. In order for a seed to become a tree, it must first break free of its shell and that is just the beginning. The tree continues to grow, shed its leaves and blossom again year after year. It is in constant change. When we dig our heals in and resist change, we create resistance and with resistance comes suffering. When we allow ourselves to let go and choose to consciously change, we bring ourselves back in to the natural rhythm of life. It may be uncomfortable and leave us feeling vulnerable at first, but ultimately it is what gives us insight, wisdom and growth.
This summer, for me, was a challenging one. Not do to any external circumstances but due to the fact that I made a conscious choice to take better care of myself. If you have been to any single one of my classes in the last couple of months, you may have heard the word support come out of my mouth at least 20 times. I made the decision to step up my game and take better care of myself because I know that my ability to do the things I do, and do them well is directly related to my energy levels, the way I feel mentally, physically, emotionally.
I have the habit of taking things on and barreling through it with a can do attitude no matter how depleted I am only to find myself complaining about how tired and drained I am. This leads me to a state of auto pilot. I find myself zoning out, spending more time on social media, not really even paying attention to what I'm looking at, and the quality of the way that I show up in my relationships and the things that I do begins to suffer. I find myself disconnecting from the people and activities that I love and adore, my ability to be present and focused is diminished and then I find myself dreading even the simplest tasks. Little things like brushing my teeth feel like a huge inconvenience.
When I get so far in to this pattern I tend to feel unsupported...but how can this be? Every thing around me is proof that I am in fact supported. My husband, my kids, my family, all of the people in my life are hugely supportive of me. The teachers and staff members at the studio are beyond supportive. The earth, the environment....everything. I am abundantly supported. How could I possibly be feeling unsupported? Aaaand this is the reason my summer was a challenging one, in the most positive of ways.
Choosing to create change in our lives means that we have to get really honest with where we are. That is exactly what I committed to. I chose to open my eyes to the way that I was treating myself. If I was feeling unsupported while being surrounded by tremendous amounts of support all around me in hundreds of ways, the feeling of lack must have been coming from with in me. I began looking at the ways in which I was not supporting myself. Now...I teach self care...and I am "pretty good" at taking care of myself...Or so I thought. In some ways, this is absolutely true! But much like the layers of an onion, there is always another layer. I love to learn about myself and the habits and patterns I create. This helps me to better connect with people, to be more compassionate and see things from a different perspective. It is in this way, with curiosity and excitement, that I chose to approach this particular commitment this summer. Not every day was filled with rainbows and butterflies...Change can be challenging at times but I have been doing my best and will continue to do so.
What I found about myself was pretty eye opening and in the process of creating conscious change I have been blown away time and time again at how much better I feel when I choose to support myself. I found that the very things I was resistant to were actually the things that I could do to create that internal support. For example, the laundry...When I wake up to a pile of unfolded laundry starring at me from the side of my bed, it is an instant reminder that there is work to do. When I walk in to the kitchen first thing in the morning and there are dishes left in the sink from the day before...again...another thing to add to the list and not to mention, who wants to make a home cooked meal when there is already a mess that requires cleaning to even begin the meal in the first place? These are a few examples of some of the external things that were easy to identify..and by no means have I mastered this process but I am making a conscious effort to change and also leave room for myself to be messy from time to time.
As I began to pay attention I noticed I was spending a lot of my time thinking about the things I had to do or working on small projects that were not super important while putting off the big ones that were taking up space in my brain and causing me stress and anxiety. I was spending more time planning out how I was going to do things rather than actually doing them. This lead me to pay close attention to my thoughts. I noticed there was a lot of dishonesty going on in my brain. I was constantly telling myself things like, I'm too busy or I don't have time for that. I found myself believing that I didn't have time to do the things that would help me feel supported. SO I started being honest with myself. When I heard myself saying I didn't have time or I was too busy, I decided to stop and be real with what I meant..Usually the truth was that I was scared of taking on that big project or sometimes the truth was that I just didn't want to do the dishes or the laundry or the emails or...whatever it was. Once I started to be honest with myself and what I actually felt, I began to ask myself what I can do for myself to create a sense of support? If I want to feel supported, what can I do right now to support myself? How can I show up for myself today so that my tomorrow self feels supported? A sort of pay it forward I guess. MIND BLOWN!
It turns out that giving my emotions an honest voice by challenging some of those automatic thoughts, admitting to myself when I am scared or insecure assisted me in seeing countless ways that I could do things to create that feeling of support that I was desperately looking for.
This has assisted me HUGELY. When I take the time to listen to the reel that plays in the back of my mind, listen to the stories it tells and have the courage to ask, what is the truth in this moment? What am I really feeling?, it gives me access to those places where I can take action and show up differently for myself, making small but consistent changes.
As I have been focusing on this thought, how can I show up today so that I feel supported tomorrow, so many things have shifted for me. Sitting down and taking on projects that push me out of my comfort zone have become less of a dread and more of an exciting opportunity. I spend less time stressing, thinking about all the things that need to be done because things are actually getting done. And the best part? I feel supported. I feel present. I feel more at ease. I am creating space in my mind and as I do so, I feel so much more awake and alive. I am able to see when I am headed towards burn out and provide myself with the opportunity to support myself BEFORE I get there. I am learning that I have cycles and rhythms just as nature does and I am learning to work with those cycles supporting myself through them rather than judging them.
It's not that this concept that I've been working with is new or super profound. This is basic stuff in the world of self awareness. What makes it so profound is consistency and commitment. Follow through. When I ask myself what I need to feel supported, the answer is usually there. The work is to actually act on it. All of the self awareness in the world is useless if we don't apply it. For me, my body is the store house of my spirit. When my body feels good and taken care of, when I feel strong and physically supported it brings a sense of comfort to my soul. The physical as well as mental/emotional strength and support I have gained from my consistent Yoga and Pilates practice has been a huge blessing in my life. It is why I continue to show up day after day and strive to offer the best place for others to do the same. I would love to hear what you are working on, your insights what you gain from your Yoga or Pilates practice.
If you feel compelled to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I learn so much by the conversations that I get to have with each person that comes in to the studio. Thank you for taking the time to read about some of the insight I gained this summer and thank you for being such a big part of the inspiration to continue to dig deeper in to myself. Thank you for supporting me and the studio by showing up day after day taking good care of yourself and your own body. There are not words to describe my gratitude for your support.
With love and gratitude,