It finally happened! All this moving and shifting and transition in my life over the past few months has gotten to me. I’ve been sleeping in, eating all the wrong things, and finding it difficult to get excited about each day when I wake up. Am I depressed? No, not quite. But definitely feeling sad…and a lot homesick. And these feelings have manifested in an extra 10 pounds spread generously from my braline down. Needless to say, I’m not feeling like myself.
If you aren’t aware, late last year I decided to return to my hometown of Stafford, Virginia and leave behind the life, home and business I spent the last twelve years building in Takoma Park, Maryland. While this may not seem that far away in miles, the traffic and drastic change in culture make these two towns hours from one another. We (my partner and I) decided to place a contract on a new construction home just before Christmas and I, subsequently, began the process of dismantling my business–releasing yoga classes I’ve taught for years, saying goodbye to corporate clients, and teaching Bean what it looks like to say goodbye to friends and teachers.
While I am super excited about a new start and a new home, it doesn’t change the fact that leaving behind relationships, and work that lit me up, is hard…really hard. But, as you can imagine, many people see the exciting things to come and can easily diminish my experience with statements that start with “at least…”; which is a clear indication of their emotional detachment from my experience…and probably their own. Have you ever felt that way? Like you are alone in your grief or wondering if you should even be feeling what you feel at all?
One of the things I’m most thankful for in the work that I do, is the ability to readily access and accept my emotions. While you might imagine that being a health coach and yoga teacher would make me exempt from having similar emotional experiences as my clients, the complete opposite is true. I am still just as much human as I was before I began my studies and my business. It is also true that I struggled with anxiety and depression for years in my teens and twenties…and again after the birth of my son. It is this experience, and my individual journeys to healing, that equip me to do what I do…and do it well. So when I know that I am about to undergo a lot of transition (i.e. Leaving a home, friends, work, etc.) I make space to feel. Why? Because that connection and feeling gives me an opportunity to go deeper in my relationship with myself, and any effort to stifle emotion could leave me stagnant in life and in love; and who wants that? Plus, that’s what I know I need in order to process and release.
I knew that I would feel “all the feels” during this chapter and knew it would most likely drudge up anxieties from my childhood as a military kid being moved from one place to another–leaving friends and comforts and thrust into new environments to start all over again. I also knew that the commitment of buying another home might resurrect some fears from having lost jobs and knowing the pain of rebuilding financially. I know me, and I knew that at some point the overwhelm would peek around the corner. And I was ready.
I noticed the shift in focus, the feeling in my body one Sunday night as I anticipated work on Monday morning. I noticed when I stopped looking towards the corner where my yoga mat rests between practice, and when I stopped making eye contact with myself in the mirror in the mornings…and I let it happen. It needed to happen. I also knew that, one day, the part of me that has spend the last five years growing, healing and nurturing ‘us’ to a state of wholeness unlike anything I’d ever felt would rise up from her rest and have enough energy for a reboot unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
I often liken these low moments to the weeks and days just before a woman goes into labor, and again to the very brief, but pronounced, moments between contractions. You’d think they would be the contractions themselves, but no. When you’re in the throws of labor, oftentimes the space between contractions are filled with the expectation that something bigger is behind this lull. But it isn’t fear or anxiety. It’s a knowing unlike anything you can articulate. As though you are guiding a ship across the ocean and a storm cloud approaches–you brace yourself for the impact of strong waves, but you also start to recall every bit of wisdom that exists in your DNA.
Before I became a mother, I would have imagined that most women would be afraid knowing that contractions build in intensity and eventually an actual human would escape from their most sensitive region. And many women are…for a moment. Then “knowing” takes over and a fierceness that could only come from a higher source shows all over her face. Meeting this fierceness for the first time is what I credit for giving mothers a hightented sense of self on top of the fierce maternal instinct that is birthed with her baby.
I say all of this to say that there will be many times in our lives when we are called to transition, to release, to grieve, to feel, and each moment will invite the opportunity to connect with yourself in a bigger way. If you are willing to notice and to ask questions of yourself (internally) you will learn more about who you are, how you show up in life, and what it takes to bring balance to yourself once again. So, today, I am back and ready to push. My stronger self woke me up at 5am, guided me to my mat, and I saw my own eyes in the mirror again…and smiled. The most important relationship you will ever have, is the one you are constantly building with yourself. Love you. Nurture you. Respect you. In all ways…always.