Well, I have been meaning to write this blog post for the last month, but the best laid plans of mice and men, and all that jazz...also known as life, has been keeping me busy.
It’s been an interesting month.
As usual in January, we are bombarded with making New Year’s resolutions, improving ourselves- ie lose weight, become that "Perfect Person", have the "Perfect Body" etc. As these were flashing across my TV screen, and Facebook advertisements, I wondered if there has even been a study of the negative effects of all of these advertisements etc. I mean, portraying how to be “perfect”, you are not good enough etc has got to have some negative affect, especially for folks who are not comfortable with who they are in their own skin.
I once again didn’t make any New Year’s resolution or maybe that was my resolution. I have enough issues without putting more on my plate. I just try to be the best that I can be day by day. Some days it’s easier than others, some days are more productive than others, and I am learning to not only live with that, but be sort of OK with it.
About 4 months ago I had a visit with my Dr and it seems my blood sugars are up once again, so we changed medications and I have worked at becoming healthier. I am happy to say my sugar levels are down to what they were 2 years ago, so that is good news.
I had also decided I want to work at becoming stronger for hiking so I signed up for an over 55 strength circuit training. Of course my anxiety spiked with the thought of taking a class I know nothing about and knowing no one, and my inner dialogue kept giving me excuses of why I “cant” go, reminding me of school gym class etc, but am happy to say I made it to class, while 2 of them anyway. I did enjoy it while I was there, so was surprised at my continued reluctance, and I missed a couple more because I had meetings, then decided to give it up- give myself a break, not stress about it and maybe try in the New Year. I could have pushed through if I had to, but I didn’t have to, this was not a life threatening situation.
I’m glad I was gentle with myself, and I have learned a lot since then.
I have always liked Leonard Cohen’s words
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
So, what was the latest crack that I discovered you may ask? - Well here it is.
While I enjoyed the circuit training class, and finally being able to be connected and feel the muscles and my body, the resistance of the machines was a trigger back to a time as a child, where I could not get away no matter how much I fought or pushed to get away. To say this was a surprise is an understatement, but it makes so much sense. Once I made this connection, I could think back to the countless times when this was the case, but I didn’t have the understanding, so I would quit. I would belittle myself, telling myself I was a failure, why even bother trying etc.
But this time it was different. This time instead of beating myself up about it, I acknowledged the challenge. I sat with it, and walked with the feelings of anger, sadness, grief that arose. I met with my therapist to get support and guidance, and let it all process. And I came to realizations of my limitations, and came up with a plan.
Instead of running away from the issue, I also pulled in another support. I really liked the instructor of the circuit training.- even if it was only 2 classes- I told her about my processing issue, how being dyslexia can make learning a challenge etc. She was really good with it and not only supportive but aware when I was getting information overload or not understanding something. So I decided to consult her as a personal trainer, and am I ever glad I did.
Before we even met in the gym, we got together in her office and I let her know what my issues/challenges were, and what I wanted to work on. She has been nothing but supportive. Next time we met it was in the gym and we went through her plan for me, went through the exercise routine she had prepared, how to use the machines etc. There are no huge weights etc., just whatever my body can do, and that’s ok. She checked in with me through the process to see how I was doing, it went well. Shortly after we finished I started trembling, and on the way home my body was shaking. I told myself I could go for a walk when I got home but decided against that, and here is why.
Sure, going for a walk would help release the anxiety, but it also uses the same muscles one uses to “escape” to get away. I need to retrain the brain, and the body that I was safe that there is no danger, that it was alright. So instead of going for a walk, I made myself a hot chocolate, sat in my chair with a heating blanket, held the mug in my 2 hands, and mindfully tasted the hot chocolate, noticing how the hot cup felt in my hands, what sections of the blanket was heating up etc. It took an hour, but I was able to calm down.
I am happy to say I have been back to the gym, and the first few times after the body did its shaking and trembling, but it is getting better, and I am feeling better about it, and slowly getting stronger. I went for a long walk a couple of days ago. The sun was shining and I felt good so I got outside while I could and walked for over 2 hours and I did notice a difference, which really surprised me J Not only did I feel physically stronger, I felt mentally stronger. Because I have worked at staying in the moment and working on the feeling of “needing to run” I could enjoy the moment and be relaxed during a long walk like I have never been able to do before. This is another wonderful gift.
I have another session with my trainer this week and look forward to where this will take me.
Because I noticed another crack, I not only let the light in, but was honest and gathered support from another to help shine the light, and find more amazing discoveries. I am getting really good at noticing my cracks, and am still discovering more. But that’s OK, because by letting the light into those cracks, I discover more of myself, can make healthier choices and have a better quality of life. I was not always this comfortable with my discoveries, I would often fight it, or felt I could trust no one and would “Go it alone.” I have come a long way and am very glad of it.
None of us are perfect, we are all breathing, living entities that have had many life experiences. We all have cracks, they may be and look different, but we still have them. Instead of trying to “fix” or “Patch” these cracks, these unique experiences we have, let’s shine the light on them, and help others to shine their light on them, and you will discover your true amazing and authentic self. It won’t always be easy, it may be painful, but if you hang in there you will discover the strength that comes from it will be much more powerful than any “Perfect body” could ever be.
Those are my thoughts for today, I wish you well and strength in your Journey
Cheers and be we]]