A lot has happened in the three years since I last posted. I got married, gave birth to an adorable baby girl, moved several times, and changed jobs. In the spring of 2016 I completed yoga teacher training and started my own therapy practice. Needless to say, it has been equal parts exciting and nerve wrecking, leading me to seek out therapy to process it all (yes therapists also see therapists)! The purpose of THERAPY is to display how mental skills such as thought reconstruction or mindfulness on the yoga mat can be used in day to day life. Life has not been short on stressors (like a crying baby all hours of the night); I’d like to share how I am using these skills to reduce my anxiety during life’s many transitions. Walk with me on this journey to find ways to create peace in your own chaotic world.
BIGGEST LIFE LESSON: SIT DOWN, BE HUMBLE
There are levels to this life… and nothing makes me entitled to instantly be the best. I talk about this in each therapy session and each yoga class I lead and continue to struggle with giving myself grace as I embrace this concept in my own life. Having a baby really put this in perspective for me as my body changed in many ways. Despite my awareness of the need to accept this new body while working towards certain goals, I’m frustrated with my body’s inability to be perfect immediately. I expect myself to run, jump, flip, and bend in ways I used to and even in ways that I never have before just because it “should.” “Elise,” I say to myself, “It’s been two months. Go make yourself a seat, sit down, be humble. There’s levels to this and you are back at level one.” This is hard for me to listen to because my expectations are not realistic nor fair.
In both therapy and yoga, your perspective impacts everything. If you plan to move like a master but you are still a novice your plan of action will always fail. For example, if I continue to approach my postpartum workout plans based on what my body was like when I was 16 years old, I will constantly be disappointed and injured. However, if I can humble myself and start from where I actually am (creaky knees and all), I have the potential to achieve my goals without injury and in a sustainable fashion for years to come. Embodying this requires a great deal of humility. Without humility, I can never grow because I am not watering my own plant but one that doesn’t exist.
So I’m pushing myself to start from the ground up. Literally. When I practice yoga I am doing mostly floor poses to honor my knees in their current state. When I get frustrated with myself in my new role as a mom I am practicing self-talk in that very moment to promote acceptance while respecting my desire for change.
TIPS FOR GROWTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY
- Have an honest conversation with yourself and those who know you well about what your goals are and where you are right now in relation to those goals.
- Once you have identified your starting point make a clear plan to nurture that space FIRST to cultivate acceptance. THEN create plans for change.
- Have mental reminders for self-acceptance with awareness of the desire for growth, honoring both parts of you. Your wants are just as real your current abilities; denying your desires doesn’t make them go away. For example, practice self-talk such as “Today I am stretching to take care of my body. Soon I will be running with strong knees.”
- Deep breathing to stay connected to the moment. Try to pair this with a simple yoga pose like child’s pose. Humility, or self-restraint, can be cultivated with practice by narrowing your attention to the present moment only; this is the opposite of your mind wandering to unfair expectations for that moment.
- Model this for the kids around you through saying out loud “I want to do ____ but right now I can do ____.” Adjust your wording to be compatible with the age of the child. Not only does modeling teach others, it also helps you practice skills with intention.
NEED HELP APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES IN YOUR LIFE? MEET WITH ME PRIVATELY.
Sometimes we can “therapize” ourselves and other times we can not seem to figure out why things are so difficult. If you would like to meet with me to explore ways to become your best self, feel free to contact me (http://www.elisedaviscounseling.com). I offer individual therapy in private, comfortable spaces in Raleigh, NC and Durham, NC. Information about cost of services, insurance options, and availability can be found on the website.
If you are interested in integrating movement through yoga into your therapy process or personalized workshops please contact me via the same website.
E.N.D. Pain. Let go. Live,
Elise Nicole Davis