As my mind unwound yesterday, I could feel how much tension was in my body. I knew this, of course. it was part of the reason I was so upset! Not wanting to induce that kind of tension on myself was a huge reason I stopped engaging in any testy or tricky relationships during the months after my surgery. Now that we’d come into the new year and various things made me review the relationships (is it ok to withdraw from close relationships?), the tension was frustrating. But once the frustration broke, the tension was revealed in its fullness and so today has been very focused on releasing that tension. And, of course, tension weakens the body, and so in addition to trying to stretch and relax the muscles I also need to work to strengthen them.
This is such a great way to take responsibility for my own experience. The way my body feels and my ability to apply my resources toward improvement is within my purview. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me, it matters how I feel. And when I start to revisit my dramas, I use that as a cue to relax my shoulders and WOW, it’s amazing how tight they get and how quickly. Needless to say, I had lots of cues today.
It made me a little sad because I hadn’t noticed how many of my ad hoc practices (the 100 breaths I try to take throughout the day, for example) minimized during my mental drama. I thought I’d advanced past things falling off the map. It’s humbling. Humbling is good.
This is why I have so many practices, because I need A LOT of practice. Body-based practice, breath-based practice, relaxation-based practice, feeling-based practice. I guess, as I think of it, I did do a lot of extra practices (the byron katie and radical forgiveness worksheets) for my mental health, but without those physical practices, my body suffers.
I am so fortunate to be in a relationship where my husband fully supports and encourages me to be still, to engage in self-care, and even feeds the kids to take it off my plate. And kids that take on responsibility so as to free up my time and still get their needs met. It is this living laboratory of empowering relationships, how people can treat each other. It shines the light on why discernment is so important and relational practices that honor the individuals and the whole. Tucker’s good emotional hygiene and genuinely caring nature is an enormous part of how I’ve been able to encounter this whole broad illness over all of these years with a certain amount of equanimity. His kindness and the container he creates is the foundation of my healing. It is humbling. Humbling is good.