Slowing down in a fast paced world

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I recently jumped the ship and left my preschool teaching job. Although I miss my coworkers and those little chicken wings (the kids) it was the right move for me to take me in the direction of my purpose. That being said, life did not come to a screeching halt from taking that leap of faith. I moved to a new home with my partner, I had one week to find a part-time/full-time job, I gained 3 contracts teaching yoga to school children and I was planning out a Goddess Ceremony for a client all while in school.

I hadn’t worked full-time in at least 2 years, so that was something to get used to all in itself. My body ached for being on my feet for 8 hours a day after being used to the lots of rest. I also started commuting together with my partner so we had to come up with a new schedule and routine all together for our completely different work hours.

At first, I was loving the fast pace of my life, I was busy all the time, I felt productive and proud of myself for everything I was accomplishing and I loved being a part of a new company whose mission was to protect and restore the environment. I felt inspired and creative immediately by all the changes around me. Of course, this did not last and I soon saw the enormous rock ahead also known as burn-out. Everything went downhill as I quickly became overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off heading toward a cliff.

I noticed I had been avoiding and resisting the call of yoga for a long time. It was something that had helped ground and relax me in times of emotional turmoil, physical pain and anxiety attacks. So naturally, I went back to the mat. Yoga has so many amazing qualities to it that can help everyone and their various needs. There are so many styles of yoga, free online videos, and amazing classes filled with great community and acceptance that a person can choose from. I chose the amazing healing yin and restorative yoga to bring me back down to earth and out of my head.

Personally, I have found that doing something physical and close to the ground is one of the best ways for me to come back to my body, and live in the present moment through the breath. As a “pitta” dosha type, I am naturally hot blooded, busy, fast paced, and always trying to fill up all my time productively. Because of those tendencies, I can become out of balance leading to digestive issues, anger, and burn-out. My pitta was definitely over heating so the relaxing and cooling effects if restorative and yin yoga were exactly what my body needed.

After being brought back down to earth I made it a priority to find some type of schedule that worked for me. I was doing my morning routine only on the days that I was off (twice a week) so its preventative capabilities were not kicking in. On the days that I commuted together with my partner I had to make a promise to myself that I made sure that I went straight to my morning routine once I got home. The specific time was not an issue for me, but I had to prioritize the routine at the top of my list to ensure that it was getting done.

My routine is always done in a slow and mindful pace so it immediately helped me to simmer down and reminded me to breathe. I begin with oil pulling as I indulge in the ritual of making my coffee. The smell of the whole beans as I grind them up, the soothing sound of the hot water boiling and then the sight of the foaming coffee as I pour the water into the French press or Chemex fill me up with gratitude and joy. Once I’ve made the coffee I let it marinate in my special spice blend as I move into the yoga room.

In the yoga room, I light some incense and chant my morning Gongyo, meditate, and write in my 5 Minute Journal. I also have two books that I read from, “Simple Abundance” and “Find Your Happy: Daily Mantras.” Meditation is a great way to bring me out of my head and back into a joyful reality. Sometimes I am able to sit in stillness and other times I am not, but I also show up to find out. Writing and reading are two of my favorite activities to do, so not only does it fill me with joy, but the specific journal and books that I use are filled with love, reflection, and positivity that always put me in a great mood.

The last soothing activity is to for me to take a shower and wash away any negative energy from the day before. It helps me feel like I have a fresh start to my day. Once I am out I do abhyanga or oil massage on my body, another way to find appreciation for what I have.

These two activities have helped me tremendously when it comes to preventing burnout and overwhelm and I highly recommend them to everyone regardless if you are living a busy lifestyle or not. I also recommend morning pages, in which you keep a journal by your side and immediately write your dreams, take a brain dump and then end with a gratitude list the minute you wake up. It is supposed to help release your mind of holding onto everything going on in there at all times. It also allows you to live in appreciation for what you have. These two are said to combine for the ultimate effect of unleashing your true creative potential.

Nature is another amazing way to help you to slow down. I am lucky to live in an area surrounded by beauty- but have yet had a chance to explore it. Even just talking your pet on a walk in the morning and evening or sitting on your balcony and seeing the autumnal change in the trees or watching the Fall rain come down as you sip your coffee can transform your day. Not to mention, it is free.

The last tip to help you slow down is to embrace the change in the seasons. As we quickly transition into Autumn, it is the perfect time to redecorate and rearrange your home, and add in the relaxing effects of cozying up your home for you and your loved ones. This act of relaxing, warmth and community is called “hygge” and is all about slowing down. Add some warm colored twinkly lights to your balcony or bedroom, light some candles or incense, bring in wood for your first fire of the season and cozy up with your favorite blankets as you drink a hot beverage with your lover or best friend.

I don’t anticipate the world around us slowing down any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that we have to allow it all to swallow us up and wring us dry. You are responsible for your well being and for your life- make it a priority to care for yourself every day and I am sure that you will be able to thrive in your environment and show up as your greatest self.

Thank you for reading today and I will be back soon. Please leave questions or tips about slowing down in the comments box below.

 

Love always,

Mabes

shadow work: healing from childhood trauma

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trigger warning: this is a true story of childhood sexual trauma. names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Her face looked disturbing as it loomed over me, peering down, expressionless. I just lay in my crib, limp, and unable to do anything as she touched me for what seemed like eternity. I felt like a science lab rat—voiceless and unworthy of consensus.

I was about 5 when I remember my next experience, this time with my friend Marlena, playing house as husband and wife. We were naked in my bed when my older brother threw the door open. He and my other sibling taunted me about “doing it” and dangled it over my head for years, threatening to tell my parents, calling me a lesbian, and when they were mad; telling me I was going to hell.

Another time I was at my playmate Monica’s house and her mother caught her pulling down her underwear. She ran me out of their home and forbid me from playing with her ever again.

For several years I experimented with my friends; curious, confused and excited—I found myself attracted to the same gender—a direct result I’m sure, of being molested at the age of 2. I enjoyed these friendships and even the thrill of possibly getting caught. I was about 10 when I remember the first time where I found myself angry with my friend Amanda for wanting to tell her father that we kissed. I realized then how scared I was, and how uncomfortable it felt to harbor these emotions of what I didn’t know at the time was a cocktail of shame and guilt. I felt like I was doing something bad, and I was a bad person for doing it.

During this time, I became very scared of men. I had an older cousin who lived with us for some time who tried to flirt with me and be alone with me and touch me. “You know our family is a type of religion where we have to marry someone in our family.” I stood dead in my tracks, a look of being dumbfounded on my face. Another time, I remember him walking into my room and trying to look at and touch the underwear I was wearing as I was tucked in bed, unsafe against his predatory hands and lustful eyes. I was too embarrassed to tell my family, we were quick tempered and hot blooded—I didn’t want to even imagine what the men in my family would do to him. I just wanted it to all stop and go away. I became more and more ashamed of myself and my body, retreating inward where I had no say in anything and no courage to stand up for myself.

My female experimenting ended as I transitioned into middle school. Pushing it to the back of my mind, assuming it would disappear if I ignored it enough. I abandoned this part of me as I went through puberty, as if it were a rite of passage or a coming of age requirement to leave myself behind.

I was a teenager when, ironically, my family had moved to the home of my old friend Amanda. One day, after being gone for years she came back to that home to visit. I sneaked a look at her behind the blinds through the kitchen window as she caught up with my brother on the back steps. I remembered opening the back door, pretending to need to talk to him—the look on her face of disgust when she saw me left a permanent scar. I felt like a monster.

It was in that same house when I tried to come out as bisexual to my mother. I was in my late teens and had been secretly dating females. My mother looked at me like I was a demonic beast. She didn’t understand, she interrogated me with a bunch of questions; “what about your boyfriend? Is he just using you for sex?!” “you don’t know what you are talking about! You are going to hell! You learned this from your friends and the tv!” she continued to berate me through my closed door before finally retreating to her room. About an hour later I heard her voice again; “Mabelyn, let’s just pretend that this never happened. Don’t tell your brothers or anyone about this, ok!” I felt completely rejected and undeserving of her love. Worthless, like a piece of trash discarded out the car window. I couldn’t make sense of it then, but this only added to all the shame and guilt that was bubbling inside—ready to explode like a wild, untamable, violent volcano.

It was the winter of 2016 when I had my first panic attack. I was working at my new job as a preschool teacher. I was in a classroom filled with children the same age that I was when I was first molested. It hit me like a ton of bricks as I fled the room, unable to breathe.

“Have you ever experienced any trauma?” My therapist asked me as I sat in her chair choking and crying at the same time. Before I knew it, the words had already left my mouth; “I was molested by an older female child when I was two, my family doesn’t know about it.” I explained how I felt like a horrible person, I remembered the look of Amanda as I told my therapist between sobs that I ruined all of my friend’s lives. For years I tried to stay away from young children. I had convinced myself that I was infertile and did not want kids of my own. When my siblings became fathers, I avoided their babies like my life depended on it… 5 years that I can never have back. Babies made me uncomfortable, and deep down I truly believed that I was going to grow up to be a pedophile, as if I had contracted some type of disease when I was 2 and it was incurable.

“You’ve been making up stories in your head Mabelyn,” the therapist told me.  “Lot’s of children experiment,” she said, “and you weren’t forcing anyone and pinning them down, your friends were figuring things out too.” I had never looked at these situations that way, I just knew, or thought I knew, that I was sick and a menace to society. Hearing her say these words in a sense gave me the permission that I wasn’t able to give myself to finally begin to heal. Over 20 years of suppression was awakening. I remember seeing my clinical herbalist Allison, as she mentioned the idea of Saturn Returns; and how this is a point in your life between the ages of 27-29 where Saturn digs up all your shit that you have never resolved and throws it in your face,” here you go!”

I knew I was on the right path, and I could finally start to forgive myself, and move through the pain of healing within, this time choosing to relive each trauma again in order to heal and move on, transcending the suffering into lessons of love.

To be continued…

 

Love always,

Mabes