I’ve been sharing with a close friend some of my journey on the yoga mat. My struggles, my success, the funny things, the face plants and the hard times and the tears.
I started a yoga routine at my local gym this past summer. I was so grateful to be back on the mat. I use to do yoga at home using a really wonderful online program but when I started to not make time for my yoga practice. I missed it, but I really wanted to pick up my practice again, but this time, in a group setting. Local classes were out of my budget and so I found myself at my local gym, where there are two amazing teachers I feel blessed to practice and learn from.
When I first started going, I found myself in tears a few times. Especially when we did a lot of hip opening or thigh work. Sometimes it was as I was wobbling to keep my balance a thought would rush through my mind and the tears would just gently roll down my face.
Grief I thought. I was warned that grief is like the waves I use to surf. They would come one after another when I was in storm of my grief. The waves would eventually, and in my own time come further apart, but they might just become bigger and out of no where. I found that to be true. I just surfed each wave as they came.
On my yoga mat and in the early morning hours when I journal and meditate, I’ve started to look back over my life. Not with a microscope or with much intent. Just sometimes as I am writing away in my journal I see a pattern. On the mat something passes my mind and I connect the dots.
One of the things I realized is how often I stuffed my feelings. Not just grief but desires, wants, dislikes, disappointment. My truth I stuffed. I stuffed it to keep the peace , I stuffed it to make my children’s lives easier, I stuffed to fit in. There’s more reasons I stuffed but you get the point.
The problem with stuffing is that eventually it comes out. Your body, mind and spirit can only handle so much. I know for me I see the leaks now. It would leak as my short temper, my pulling away from dear friends, my frustrations over stupid things and my lack of ability to be flexible sometimes. All that stuff turned me slowly into a control freak. I had to control my life to keep the emotions from rising to the top where I would be forced to deal with them. Which I really didn’t want to do.
While this kind of stuffing is gluten free, it’s totally toxic for your body. You don’t think so at first. As you get better at it you start to tell yourself how strong you are and start feel pretty damn smug about it all. You become blind to it. Oh and running from your problems is another way to stuff them. Just so we are clear on that. I began running when I was in middle school. I ran away a lot.
Three years ago I began to have some odd things happen with my body. I had lost weight, was feeling better than ever and then out of the blue I felt off. Our family then went through job loss, a second hurricane and a deployment of my son who is a Marine. Along with the changes of me working after 15+ years as a homeschool mom. Sending my son to school , which he really wanted to do for high school, gave me a lot of guilt and there was nobody I could talk to about it. You add that with a bunch of other things going on that I also had nobody to talk to about any of it on top of all the years I stuffed stuff, that again I had nobody to talk to about the real truth going on in my head and you get some fun times. Panic attacks, hormone issues, blood sugar issues, and sleep issues. Stuffing your emotions and having a stressful life is all one lovely cocktail for stress.
Through it all though I have learned some really amazing things. I was for the first time in my life facing my problems. I had no choice to be honest. I was in a corner and my body was like “I quit, you deal with this or we are going to get sick”.
So how do you go from stuffing emotions to dealing with them? Here’s what I have learned that helps big time:
- Talk. Find safe friends who will listen to you. It’s good to have more than one friend too so that friend doesn’t burn out on you. I have friends who relate to different things I am going through and I relate to them. We share and talk. It’s amazingly easy but hard to ask for help from a friend. I use to hide so let me tell you it’s hard but you can do it.
- Journal. I remember when I learned about “morning pages” in the school and then in the book, “The Artist Way”. I tried it, thought it was silly and went back to my journaling every now and then. I find now that if I journal even about silly things daily I have a place to unload and work out my stuff.
- Yoga. For others it might be running or Zumba. For me I need to go to yoga. I need to work on myself and my body. When I do that I tend to see things in my life that I am struggling with. It’s like I mentioned earlier, a great place to let the tears fall.
- Holding space. I hold space for myself sometimes after something happens to just feel. I might go to the beach, sit in my room or the yard and just let what ever emotion it is that needs to come to the surface. I am honoring myself when I do this.
- Let go. It is hard to let go. I am a control freak. But I have learned in the past 3 years, I can’t control a damn thing. Life happens. It’s better to let go of people who don’t want to be in my life and make it clear. I recently called someone to see how they were and let them know I as thinking of them. This person made it very clear I had made a mistake. That’s ok. I was able to reach out, find out on my own and then let go. They might come back. they might never come back. The outcome is what every they choose it to be. Me, I let go of any expectations. I held space for my emotions to surface and then moved on.
- Get creative. There is no better way to channel what is going on inside then to create something. It could be music, art work, food, whatever tickles your fancy. Getting creative is great for the soul.
While I am far from being cured of my stuffing I am making big efforts daily. I catch myself now and make sure to take good emotional care of myself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on stuffing emotions. Leave a comment below.
Untill next time,
Health coach, reiki practitioner.