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Emotional Mailbox—An Open Invitation. ~ Alexis Marbach

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I’ve spent a whole year existing completely outside of my body.

I’ve been using my body as a purely utilitarian shell, never moving or acting like one completely whole. I’ve been waiting for a divine invitation to feel integrated and come back inside. My mantra has been “One day, there will be a good time to practice, write and feel, but later.”

I keep repeating this mantra as if one day, my boss will call and say “Today! Don’t come in, today is the day!” I would go home and all of the furniture would be gone, but there would be a mat and bolsters (so.many.bolsters), blocks, therapy balls, blankets, eye pillows and more. I would also know exactly what to do—what series of poses I would do, how long I would hold them for, what sequence I would string together.

Also, my phone would be off and I’d be able to be by myself in this restorative bliss all day. I’d fall asleep in the perfect pose, then wake up and start my day and move throughout the day like I normally do. I’d never feel stressed again, because I’d cured myself in one session.

Well, this day hasn’t presented itself yet and I’m pretty sure that it is not on its way.

My dad says that the “moment of absolute certainty never arrives,” and this weekend made that statement resonate more than ever. I spent this past weekend with Bo Forbes at her yoga workshop for emotional balance. She incorporated a series of “tiny two minute tools” that anyone can use throughout the day to help regulate the anxiety and depression. Bo reminded me (and all of us) that self-care is something to practice everyday. My concern has always been carving out the time, and saying no to other things (including other people) to create the space.

When will I have time to sit and practice everyday? When am I supposed to fit that in alongside work, running, commuting and attempting to be a good partner to my boyfriend? Do I need to be a single, unemployed hermit for the rest of my life so that I have enough time to not feel so anxious?

In the midst of trying to figure this out (and waiting to find “the perfect time”), I’ve experienced:

Earth shattering, incredibly intense pain and swelling in my piriformis.
Persistent and migrating swelling in both feet, making it challenging to even walk comfortably.                         Crippling anxiety.
Deep and all encompassing depression.
IBS! All of it—the whole spectrum of symptoms
Rashes. One time I got this rash on my face that made a little kid stop in his tracks and stare. Charming.
Tongue swelling.
Insomnia.
The flu.
And these are the big things. I’ve had mood swings, irrational narratives running on a hamster wheel in my brain, frustration, and agitation.

When reflecting on all of these symptoms, I can easily see how my body was sending me a clear and direct invitation all along.

If I had only opened my emotional mailbox, I would have read:

Alexis, you are officially invited to take part in your own healing process. This is the time. It is imperfect and complicated, and messier than you expected and that, in and of itself, is amazing. You are invited to:

—Be real about needing a healing process. There is no need to be tough and fight through. Your body is exhausted, and your system can’t take it anymore. You need and are craving deep rest, calming the nervous system and making everyday life smoother.
—Be real about trauma, people letting you down, being scared in time of uncertainty, getting swept up in the narrative, competition, comparison, wanting more, and wanting less.
—Disconnect. In a world where we are always seeking connection with others, put the phone down. Texts can wait. Emails can wait. Phone calls can wait. It’s okay to not check that small box every five seconds—it’s just a tiny box of distraction, dissociation and overwhelm. Just turn it off.
—Be intimate. Check in face-to-face. Walk away from the distraction and touch, breathe, move, feel. There won’t be a better time for this either.
—Witness, observe, and delight in transitions: pose to pose, job to job, errand to errand. The space between can be the most interesting and valuable. The space between becomes it’s own teacher.
—Practice your yoga. Be curious, be uncomfortable. Go inside and listen. See if you can practice what your body needs instead of getting caught up in your 89th downward facing dog. Going slower might be a foreign concept but maybe it’s a sign to embrace it.
Rest. Yep, more.
—Believe in your inner teacher. Your body wants to heal, and you can create forward momentum in your own life. You don’t need outside experts to tell you how to “get better” or how to make change happen. You are an active player in your own life. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t work towards emotional balance and healing.
—Stop, drop and restore. More restoratives.
—Linger, and revel in the sensation of taking the space and the time that you need.

Instead of an RSVP, just start. This is the moment of absolute certainty—it is time.

If you’ve ever had this same sensation, I offer this invitation up to you—your emotional mailbox is calling. Today is the perfect day.

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Photo: Wiki Commons

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Alexis Marbach

All of Alexis Marbach’s Boston-based classes provide a space where students can be curious and explore their own range of motion, strength, and self-confidence and make empowered healing choices for themselves. As a member of The Breathe Network, she uses a survivor centered lens to offer yoga as a tool for trauma therapy and an embodied approach to healing. You can contact her through her website or email her.