Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Breakdown, Go Ahead...Give it to me

Alternate title: Reminders of Recovery.

It's hard to believe it has been 4 years since I confidently stepped onto the road to recovery. Confidently? Well, I was scared - paralyzed with fear most days - but yes, confident because I knew I was ready to see my journey through to it's completion no matter how uncomfortable it was.

In 2009 I was clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, 307.50 according to the DSM-IV, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Who knew the actual diagnosis would feed (no pun intended) the belongingess issues that encouraged the disorder to begin with; I mean I didn't even belong in a labeled diagnosis.

For years, decades, I didn't allow myself to feel; feelings were scary and overwhelming and best left buried. Even "good" feelings were too much for me, sometimes even moreso than "bad" feelings. It took some searching but I finally found a fantastic therapist. Together we named my disorder, both clinically and personally, and after a year and a half of individual and group therapy I felt confident referring to myself as recovered.

The two biggest happenings that grew out of my therapy were my ability to evict Joan from my life, and my willingness to allow my feelings to flow without fear.

In my practice, I'm still working on Marichyasana C. I'm not at all bothered (anymore) to be working on the same posture for months, it's given me the opportunity to give love and attention to the 62 asanas/vinyasas that lead up to it. Once I let go of the need to "conquer the posture," things started opening up for me nicely.

This week I'm back in the Shala after taking a month away due to my conference schedule; it was so nice to be back in a familiar place with faces that lit up when we made eye contact. My first day back was a bit more hurried than I would've liked so I took practice through Marichyasana A, closed with finishing postures then scooted off to work. Two days later I was back with plenty of time to spare and took the time to move through all 5 repetitions of Marichy C. I took the first two on my own and Krista said she'd be around to assist for number 3.

Twisting my body around the first time, I focused on keeping length in my spine and released all worry over clasping my fingers together, I breathed deeply into the stretch and it felt gooood; the second side was just as refreshing.

Vinyasa. Second set, first side... as I unwind I feel it, I don't quite know what "it" is exactly but it's there, it's a feeling and for a moment a flash across my eyes warned it could be scary.

Vinyasa, Second set, DEEP inhale, second side...I know it's going to be there, I don't know what it is, but I know (for whatever reason) I'm safe; I unwind and there it is again, a bit of an internal oozing. I've had a similar experience in this posture before and it left me aggravated for the rest of the day, like I'd unlocked something that was pissed off.

Vinyasa, Third set... I see Krista standing next to me from the corner of my eye and motion to her to get a little closer, as she leaned in I somehow mustered up just enough breath to say, "I'm not sure what it is, but somethingfeeling is creeping out each time I unwind" and I pointed to the area around my 2nd Chakra. (Funny, the mission statement for this Chakra is "I Feel.")

We moved through the 3rd set and I completed 4 and 5 on my own. I had to stop and let stuff leak out of my eyes for a while in between, but I wasn't afraid to finish.

A choir of angels is singing in my head at this moment because this truly was a breakthrough moment. I knew, in advance, that I was unlocking a feeling. I even had a premonition that it might be scary, but I kept going. The old me most definitely would NOT have kept going, heck the old me would never have become a Shala member to begin with.

I worked my way through closing series, breathed in my closing mantra and prepared for savasana.  I laid down to close my eyes and the yogi practicing next to me tapped me on the arm and said "You're not alone." We've never met before, he and I, but those 3 words reaffirmed I am safe, and I belong.

I didn't resort to old soothing behaviors, I didn't even think of them. I forged through a feeling even as I knew it was happening and would most definitely make me cry, in PUBLIC.

I spent the rest of my day documenting other ways I know I've healed those old wounds and developed healthy coping strategies.

A breakdown can be a breakthrough...it's all in what you call it.

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