4/4/2012

slowing down (again)

It seems like I am always writing about slowing down, so apologies if you are bored with this topic but it continues to be relevant in my life. I have a feeling it always will be. Slowing down is one of the ways that I take care of myself. I have always been one of those people that tends to have lots of energy and gets anxious and overwhelmed easily. Today was the first day of my move (into my new apartment omg) and I had to pause several times while packing and then again while moving to slow myself down.

It is amazing to me how much awareness I have these days around my stress levels. For years I lived completely stressed out and anxiety ridden without knowing there was another way to be in this world. When I wasn’t overwhelmed and stressed I numbed myself with people, food, shopping, fill-in-the-blank. Today I don’t rely so much on outside sources to feel calm and grounded because they don’t work. If by some chance they do manage to work the duration of their relief is always too short and not worth it. While it isn’t always the most comfortable to stay in the present and feel the stress, fear or tension, the only way out is through. Period. I have tried almost every other way imaginable and none of them give me the contentment I seek. At first this was a hard fact to swallow. Today I am in much more acceptance of it because I have exhausted all of my resources. I don’t know about you but I learn through experience. Maybe one day I will be wiser and learn through other people’s experiences but thus far I have needed my own.

My yoga classes this week have been very physically challenging. My upper back is not opening as quickly as I would like and I continue to have a great deal of fear practicing handstand. I cried a little in class this morning because I was so frustrated with my body, it’s just not where I want it to be. At the end of class I felt better and was reminded (again) that I need to continue to take it slow with my practice and open to gratitude that I am able to have a practice after my injury last year. I am also grateful that having a yoga practice has increased my awareness regarding my body ten fold. Before I started on this path I did not know how much stress and anxiety I lived with on a daily basis. Being able to breathe into it and let go of the tension throughout the day has been such a gift.

Yoga and meditation have shown me where I carry my emotions. I carry my past trauma in my hips and shoulders. Stress mostly in my stomach and chest. I am also aware now how much stress and depression effect my digestion and what that feels like in my body. Again, I have only been made aware of this in recent years because I have been willing to do the self-care work of slowing down enough to get into my body and stay there long enough to feel. This entire process has been extremely intense and still can be at times but I have never regretted starting it for a second. Slowing down helps me be the person I am meant to be, one that knows who they truly are and has no problem sharing that with others.

Think about how you could incorporate slowing down into your life. Are you are person that is constantly busy and has no time for themselves? Do you cringe at the idea of “sitting with your feelings”? Are you afraid that if you slow down things will not get done? If slowing down sounds  like a self-care tool you might like to try out, how could you practice it tomorrow? There really is no time like the present. Even if you just take a long pause during the day and a few deep breaths that will have a subtle impact on your life. Like with most things, the more effort you put in the greater the benefit. Make it a point to slow down everyday for the rest of the week (it’s only 3 days!) and see what happens. I have a hunch that if you make this part of your daily life you will feel more calm and better able to handle what life gives you.

xoa

 

Comments

  • Lisa M

    Great topic for today, Ashley. I went for a walk this morning, a quick one, to get me going. Then I sat and meditated with the birdsong,which I am lucky enough to hear here. I was able to find my center really quickly, and now am starting in on my day by making a list that I can check off as I complete tasks and pat myself on the back with. Huge congratulations on your new apartment. How wonder-full. It is such a great thing to start with a blank page, especially with awareness of our infinite beauty in one’s heart. Much love to you in sunny L.A. on this day, Lisa in cool (temperaturewise) Berlin

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