Connecting to your own self is paramount to connecting to the practice, (image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp @mightymooseart)
BBA 2.0 Let's Get Woo, takes the last 18 months of life changes/new experiences/self-care and adds a layer of, well, WOO.
So, it’s been a little over a month since Joni and I started this little Ayurveda experiment. I wanted to check in with her about what’s working and what isn’t working. Ayurveda is not a forceful practice. In fact, it’s quite gentle in its origins. Connecting to your self is paramount to connecting to the practice, though.
Joni and I have had a bajillion conversations about self-care and how hard it can be to tune in to the body’s cues and processes. I was terrible at it, too. When I was a 10-year-old kid, I felt incredibly depressed. I felt so depressed that I told my mom that I just wanted to die. She (rightfully) took me to a counselor who got under some deeper layers of what was happening to cause those feelings of despair: extreme bullying at school, stressful home life, and a steady diet of fast and processed food. Then he told me that tuning in to those feelings was an important practice, and talking about them was even more so.
I had a little lightbulb moment then, and even though it took me another actual 20 years to genuinely get the hang of the self-check, I determined that I was going to figure my life out.
Ayurveda was a huge step forward in this self-understanding practice.
Because that’s what it is. You figure out what your body likes, where it stores feelings, how it processes traumatic events and the food and other things you put in it. You endeavor to understand yourself. But it’s damn near impossible if you don’t check in with yourself and SPOILER ALERT: you probably don’t want to.
It’s no surprise to me that Joni put this off. It’s not a judgment on her, and it isn’t good or bad.
(Side note: Why do we moralize things like time?)
Time is simply a way to frame and organize things, not another tool to beat yourself over the head with. Resistance to diving in deeper is normal, and it’s also totally okay. That procrastination, or pause, as I like to call it, has the potential actually to be helpful.
Those pauses allow some of the root issues to emerge slowly. It becomes less about doing whatever protocol we’ve established and becomes more about self-understanding. It’s an exciting moment from my perspective because I know that the commitment to self is ready to deepen. It’s also a slow process. Think Crock-Pot instead of microwave oven (I am epically bad at this — Joni).
So Carrie is like, “Let’s check in and see what’s working” and I’m like, "What did you say? OH WERE WE DOING SOMETHING?"
I forgot because I do not have ten mother effing seconds to myself right now (and possibly ever).
But she sent me these questions as part of the aforementioned check in, so I’m going to do them, because if I don’t — A. there won’t be an article and B. Carrie might be (rightfully) irritated that I ignored her. (Hi, it’s me, Carrie. I’m not even a little irritated. I’m EXCITED!)
I’ve been doing them daily, but for the sake of space (and my sanity), I’ll give you an example of one day here.
Lay down on the ground. Take one breath with your eyes open, and two more with your eyes closed. Start with your head and do a mental scan down to your toes.
How do you feel in your body?
Tired. Achy. Mostly tired.
How was my sleep?
Is shitty a good description? (Perfect.)
I’m having night sweats again and staying up too late. I have a sick kid and three marching band events this week, one of which will require me to be up until 3:30 am. (I am president of the Band Backers Association at my son’s high school, which basically means, everything that any of the 110 or so kids need — from food to water to fundraising — is on my figurative plate.)
There were two nights last week that I slept okay. I tried to figure out why but I can’t come up with any reason. I notice if my hair is wet I don’t sleep as good. Note to self: don’t go to bed with wet hair, idiot.
(This sounds like something my grandma would say. She wasn’t very nice. Be nice to you, boo. Also, she was right about not going to bed with wet hair. Old world wisdom is a thing.)
What is my poop like?
Sorry in advance for the diarrhea TMI.
I really wanted a salad, so I ate a lot of it. And that was bad. I guess it was the salad, but it might also have been the tots from Sonic that I ate in the car on the way to band event #2.
I notice if I neglect my ghee, my stomach will let me know. I try not to neglect my ghee, but also I am a flawed human who is terrible at taking care of herself in general.
(We all are. Perfection is never the goal. Just figuring out what does and doesn’t work for us.)
How does my body feel after eating?
Good if I eat “good.” Not so much if I do not.
I want to be clear that I don’t want to moralize food at all, but for lack of a better descriptor, sugar things are “bad” for me. I have learned this lesson repeatedly (most recently via some jumbo-ass Costco muffins), and yet, I still eat sugar. Way too much sugar.
(Maybe we we can reframe it as sugar is problematic? Because too much sugar is problematic for everyone. Sugar isn’t some sort of dark magic and actually serves great purpose when used in non-problem making measures.)
I don’t like to say anyone eats too much of anything, but I definitely eat too much sugar. (Me, too.)
(This may be something to talk about later?)
Did I feel stress today? How did I manage it?
Is this rhetorical?
I wrote an article a couple of months ago about stress and I said I was going to reframe my stress, and it was really great.
For like two days.
And then I was stressed again and forgot all about the reframing.
I will give myself a solid +1 for feeling very stressed yesterday and getting up and walking away from my computer. I did my Nadi breathing and just stood outside for a few minutes. It was a simple thing, but I felt better when I was done. (Praise be the Nadi breath!)
Did I feel sad or anxious today? How did I manage it?
Well, I'm am doing this check-in on a day I also wrote an article about sexual assault. And here's the thing about sexual assault, it doesn't matter that it's been 30 years since it happened, I can still remember every detail, right down to the pink flowers on my JC penney panties. (((HUGS)))
How can I support myself right now? How can I support myself tomorrow?
Bizarrely (or not bizarrely, because I am a writer), the writing is making me feel better. But I'm also realizing that I have not paused today to care for myself in any way. I took my kids for pizza and I bought my self some epsom salts (gat damn Amazon and their Same-Day delivery) and a bubble bath bomb thing which I am going to go use when I am done here. I have a new book by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Because I love books. The end.
(Can you imagine telling your grandma 50 years ago that you were going to use a bath bomb and it would be a good thing? It’s a new day, eh?)
And now for the Weekly Questions:
What is working for me?
Let's just cut the shit, nothing is working right now because I am not making my health and/or mental well-being a priority. I feel like I need a life coach or like Siri to yell at me 20 times a day. (If yelling worked, though, wouldn’t we all be pretty much perfect? Maybe try talking to yourself like you would talk to my three-month-old baby. See how that works instead, babe.)
What isn't working for me?
Cut the shit part 2: If I had my shit together even a little bit right now, it would all be working.
Except the wheat thing. I haven't figured that one out yet.
(You don’t have to! It clearly isn’t working for your life right now, so let’s just forget about it. If we need to, we can come back to it when other things in life are a little more chill and you have more support pieces in place. THIS IS NOT A FAILURE. This is merely an experiment and all of the components don’t make or break anything. They're information and that’s all.)