Friday, November 21, 2008

Big Thanks to Fido

I feel like I’m finally starting to understand how my brain works. I believe for the longest time we had a very love/hate relationship. Through high school I completely slacked and my brain pretty much enjoyed a four year hiatus. Once I hit college, I came out swinging and totally immersed myself in my studies. My brain, therefore, spent a good chuck of the time hating me. Then I thought we worked out a good compromise when I landed a mind stimulating job… but then, as I progressed within my personal and professional life, anxiety began to plague me almost daily. So I decided to sit down and listen to what my brain, now feeling like I was completely disconnected to it, had to say.

So it turns out, I’ve been bored. I really, truly think that’s what can be traced back to months and months of agonizing anxiety. When I was running steadily (now it’s a pipe dream with my sched and this freezing cold weather!) I was happy. When I’m doing yoga I’m happy. But when I’m in spin class, weight training, or entrenched in a Vinyasa I’m downright elated. I kind of equate this process to when we first brought home our puppy. He was 2 months old and a terror. I cried every time I saw him. I really thought he was brought into my life to drive me over the edge of insanity. These feelings are similar to how I felt in the throes of anxiety. Aggravated, tired, at my wits end…

Then we figured out this four-legged fiend and found that when we walked him extensively and took him to the park and played ball with him, that night (and sometimes even the next day!) was a complete pleasure with him. He snuggled and cuddled and resembled a normal dog – not the out of control, ADD, ball of fur he was for the first 12 hours of the day.

So here’s my analogy - when my pup got exercise and stimulation he was much happier in the end. He was calm and loving and fabulous. When he wasn’t played with, he turned into a ten pound tyrant. So, when I pretty much went into autopilot and checked out of being active within my life, my brain went haywire. It caused massive distress that leaked out in all kinds of “fun” ways. When I’m in a spin class, working out with my trainer, doing challenging yoga poses… I’m in the moment. My body and brain are one for a moment and they are both getting out loads of pent up energy. The end result? A much happier girl. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with my Vinyasa classes. It was one of the first times that for the entire hour and a half I never once peeked at the clock. Boredom is near torture for me and its so relieving to not only know it, but understand it. I’m happiest when running around from work, to gym, to yoga class then coming home and making dinner while simultaneously dusting the house and folding laundry. The word ‘busy’ used to be synonymous with ‘medieval torture device’ for me, but now I know I’m so much better off with lots to do! And this in turn has been CRUCIAL for me in overcoming my anxious episodes.

In conclusion: my dog has brought me closer to understanding how my mind works.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finding My Paradise

This weekend was pretty amazing. I had yoga class on both Sat and Sun and was mentally prepping for the sheer exhaustion that was inevitably going to set in. However, it turned out to be the most eye-opening experience I think I’ve ever had (so far!) A swami came in to talk to us about life. It’s funny how we spend so much time existing and not living. Well that’s the case for me anyway! It wasn’t until I felt unbelievable anxiety that I sat up and paid attention to my life. It wasn’t until then that I started questioning things. Much like when you run yourself down you get sick because your body is telling you to “stop!” for a minute, my anxiety was knocking on my head seeing if anyone was even in there anymore. My dissatisfaction with what I let me life become manifested into anxiety.

So swami sat with our little group and we talked about life. We talked about what we did and things about ourselves, but he caught us off guard when he asked where our perfect place to live would be or what we’d ideally like to do. Almost everyone’s breath caught in their throat and the silence was palpable. No one knew. And even if they had a small inclination as to where their paradise might be, they had no way to get there. It was just a dream that was destined to stay buried under the “I should’s” and “I have to’s”… We have been so swept up in the daily grind that we forgot what brings us happiness. Talk about me being meant to have this man in my life… wow! This has been my struggle for months and months! I know I’m currently unsatisfied with where I am right now, but I didn’t know how to “fix” the issue. Swamiji helped me realize where my passions lie and also how to go about obtaining them. And there was something so therapeutic about having a person filled with nothing but joy and love believe in you. I think that is something that people are starting to lose. I was a huge doubter of almost anyone and anything. Anytime someone wanted to step off the “right path” or working 9-5 and clocking in the hours, I thought they were crazy. What it really was was that I wanted to do the same thing and didn’t have the courage or belief in myself.

I walked away from my weekend filled with faith. Not so much from the religious aspect, but more like the faith one has in one’s self. There have been some dreams and goals that my hubby and I have talked about but I never really believed in the goals. Well, I didn’t believe they would happen for us the way we wanted. Now I have faith. Hubby and I aren’t going to make any rash decisions (as we’re prone to do!) because I have faith that we’re going to be offered opportunities that lead us in the direction we’re meant to be in. I also walked away from Swamiji with so much love and admiration that I wished my family could’ve met him. I wish I could’ve shared these mini-miracles I felt with the people I care about. Even my blog is mushy! I had no anxiety last night or this morning even though I had work. I am at peace inside. And I think this is truly the first time I can honestly say that.

So this blog is dedicated to Swami Sadashiva Tirtha – thank you for helping me find my paradise and opening me up to the faith that my paradise will find me.