The things I believed about myself that were trying to kill me… and nearly did

For a long time I remember I would wonder to myself how it was possible that people could wake up every day and feel good, naturally.  It seemed to me that people walked around with a pretty solid sense of what they were doing, a plan to go about achieving that and enough contentment about their purpose to have room for laughter, creative thinking and pursuing hobbies. Of course, all of this I gathered from what was displayed on social media and how I imagined people to feel based on how they looked, to me, as they carried about their day. None of my sentiment about society was coming from any real sense of knowing how people actually generally felt inside, because that would have meant I had conversations with others that were vulnerable, honest and deep. I was not capable of much honesty until I was into my 30’s, so many of things I held to be true were only true for me because I imagined them, because they were carried on the back of what I was told as a child and because of my perception of my experiences.

What I did not know, because I was too holed up hiding all of my insecurities, is that most, some might say all, people experience doubt and question their value during points in their life. It seems to be a part of the human condition. Once I was, however, turned on to this fact, and could move away from a place where I felt alone in my feelings, the real work started of going about unlearning what I had accepted about myself to be “true” and rewiring my belief system to align with the universal truth. Problem was, I had spent so much time trying to shut my thoughts off, distracting myself, numbing myself, and filling my schedule so the quiet could never reach me, that I didn’t even know what exactly is was that I was believing about myself in the first place. That would be a painful introspection. And those answers didn’t come all once.

I realized, as I finally became willing to slow down and listen, that I had been told certain things, as a child and a teen, sometimes by parents, friends, other family, teachers and school peers that I had trained myself to run from or prove wrong for decades. From a logic standpoint, it’s impossible for everything that is said by anyone to be true, because truth can vary from person to person based on experience, preference, values, etc. As a young child, though, an innocent and blank slate, born into a traumatic environment of alcoholism and abuse – I sought refuge in anyone or anything that could steer me out of the climate that I had to consider “home”. In my mind, anyone else had a better answer or direction than I did, and since being a compliant and good little girl kept some chaos at bay in my homelife, whatever you told me I would accept as the Bible truth.

I was told I was smarter than most kids, sent to GATE programming and the word “potential” still stings in my ears – these burned in me that I had to excel and always be the best. Raped before I could give consent to my first sexual experience, and teased often for my “underdeveloped” body conveyed that I was unworthy of respect, and physical value just as I was. Punished for expressing my feelings and showing emotion trained me to feel safer when I suppressed those sensations. You might guess it, I was a fertile breeding site for eating disorders and addiction. Which is just where I found most of my life’s purpose through my 20’s, until, as the title suggested, I nearly lost my life.

I remember getting fired by my therapist and wondering if she would mention that my breath always smelled like wine. I remember the day I first went to treatment being so physically weak that I couldn’t walk. I remember telling the intake coordinator that my diet solely consisted of chardonnay and not considering that I was an alcoholic. I remember drinking, binging and purging over and over and over all day long, every single day for years and never having the thought cross my mind that I should ask for help. I also don’t remember a lot of things, malnourishment and intoxication tends to have that effect.

And most of this was because I was and will always be an alcoholic with an eating disorder in recovery. Recovery looks different every single day – but I can find solace in that since I work a program only one day at a time. I hear the thoughts that I “should be” further along in my recovery with food and alcohol, but the truth is that eating enough and refraining from emotional eating is difficult to abstain from and there are (very infrequent) times when I do wish that I could enjoy a glass of wine without knowing I would end up in custody within a day or two. Lack of acceptance is my dilemma, solidifying evidence that I have the “disease”.

Even in recovery though, I am know in awareness of these limiting beliefs about who I “should be”, my value as a human and what it means to have a normal human experience. Currently, I have my dream career, an unbelievable partnership, and plenty of money for travel and fun. My body is in the best shape it’s ever been – and I’m even trying to gain a few pounds to prevent injury and wear and tear with all the activities I do. And – my head tells me I’m not enough for all of it. That either these blessings aren’t real, aren’t going to last, or my unworthiness will let them fade away sort of like Darwin’s  finches on Galapagos Island by way of natural selection. My head says I have to be harder on myself than I’ve ever been because eventually – all of this that wasn’t meant for me because I don’t deserve respect and am always living below my potential – it’s going to catch up to me. It’s a miserable prison of self inflicted terror and the fucking agonizing part is – that I KNOW, none of it, none of the bullshit I am a slave to believing, is real. None of it.

So I do what I do? Fuck. Well, yes, I do that, but I wrote that because it’s the question I wish I knew the answer to. I don’t completely know – if I had all the answers I would be “fixed” and “perfect” and there would be no searching, no journey. No point of any of this. I am trying it all, things I have done before and gave up on, things I have been doing, new things I have been unwilling to try before, whatever is in front me. The only thing I refuse to try is to give up altogether. I almost gave up. But it seems that my God had different plans for me. And this time, I’m gripping just the slightest bit less to the fears that are keeping me from the peace and freedom in store for me at the other side of this surrender.

Tools I use – get a dog, get a tattoo, buy myself gifts, budget my spending, pick up work, let go of overworking, singing, dancing, cooking, letting someone cook for me, going to meetings, not going to meetings, trying new meetings, reaching out to people I haven’t talked to in a while, actually answering the phone when someone calls, texting someone to ask about their day, being honest when someone asks about mine, napping, yoga, taking a lot of baths, drinking delicious coffee in the morning, not drinking too much caffeine late in the day, writing, reading, meditation, vitamins, doing something I am good at, trying something I’ve never done before, traveling, enjoying quiet time at home and as I mentioned earlier, sex 🙂

Happy recovering. Or living. We’re all in the same boat, I just think our boats have different looking course paths toward the same destination.

In love and light,

Kylan

Bring the same You into the new year

A friend of mine made a sarcastic post about being “excited to see all the new ‘You’s’ in the new year” and it got me to thinking…. we make such an effort to recreate, resolute, innovate and engineer ourselves into something bigger, better, faster and stronger – but why?

Why do we have to make such drastic changes and invest so much effort into our growth? Have we forgotten that without any trying – as infants we flipped onto our bellies, shuffled ourselves to a crawl, and hoisted up on our own to walk – without much guidance at all? Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part – this is the natural path we take as humans.

We have become so hard on ourselves in this present day and age, beating ourselves up and forcing ourselves to become financial gurus, social savants, athletic scientists and health dignitaries. I found myself paralyzed to the couch one morning last week with the mental pressure and anxiety I had put on myself about how I was going to reinvent my career to expand my revenue stream. AND. FOR. WHAT?

I had the opportunity to guide a couple dozen community members this morning in a yoga class and as they laid down in corpse pose for savasana, it dawned on me. We are already perfect. We have already arrived in this moment as the very best we can possibly offer the world. Just because we exist. Do you know, really, how amazing your body is, all by itself?  Here are just a few really neat truths about the body….

1. It all began with ONE:

Your body is made up of approximately 100 trillion cells. Each came from the division of one single cell. 300 million cells die every minute, which is really just a small fraction of the number we have. We produce 300 billion new cells every day and your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding.

2. Your brain is a scientific work of art:

The brain can hold five times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Nerve impulses travel at 170 miles per hour. The brain is comprised of 80% water. And, it functions on the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb.

3. Hair Care:

Every day, you’ll probably lose between 60-100 strands of hair. Most lose 50% of scalp hair before it’s even noticeable. Also, hair is virtually indestructible. Aside from flammability, human hair decays at such a slow rate that it is practically non-disintegrative.

4. To the beat of your Heart:

The human heart creates enough pressure to send blood 30 feet. That much pressure is needed to pump blood through 60,000 miles of veins and capillaries. The heart pumps 6 quarts of blood, circulating three times through the body every minute. In one day, your blood travels a total of 12,000 miles.

5. Magic touch:

Each square inch of your skin has four yards of nerve fibers, 600 pain sensors, 1300 nerve cells, 9000 nerve endings, 36 heat sensors, 75 pressure sensors, 100 sweat glands, 3 million cells, and 3 yards of blood vessels.

6. Eye see you:

Our eyes can distinguish up to one million color surfaces and take in more information than the largest telescope known to man. We’ll blink once every four seconds. That’s because eyelashes act similarly to windshield wipers, keeping dust and grime from getting into the eye itself.

7. All the detoxing you’d ever need:

Your liver works tirelessly at over 400 functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. However, you could have two-thirds of your liver removed from trauma or surgery, and it would grow back to its original size in four weeks time.

8. Take a deep breath:

Your lungs have the surface area that could spread across a tennis court. To oxygenate blood, our lungs are filled with thousands of microscopic capillaries. The large surface area allows oxygenation to quickly and efficiently take place, getting the oxygen where it needs to go.

 

Well – there you have it. In case you forgot what an absolute miracle you already are, here are just 8 of the thousands and thousands of things you are already doing without even lifting a finger. Anything else you happen to make, create, say, give, do or contribute to yourself or the rest of the world is just the icing on the cake. So go ahead – kick ass this year. Make 2020 the very best you’ve ever seen, and beyond your wildest dreams. Because you can have your cake and eat it, too 🙂

In love and light,

Ky

Yoga for Anxiety Relief

Anxiety has been, for me, a harborer of temporary paralysis, a catalyst for poor decision making, and barrier for restful sleep for a majority of my life. I have tried every imaginable remedy to relieve my ailment including but not limited to, compulsive and excessive exercise, binge drinking, coloring books, psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals, hypnotherapy and the list can go on. In my pursuit of relief from what has been diagnosed for me as “generalized anxiety disorder”, I’ve been promised over and over again that freedom would be found in pills, elixirs, sessions, treatments and remedies. None have lived up to their word. So I will not offer that yoga will cure your anxiety, and in truth, it may not even partially relieve it. What I have found to be true is that when it comes to anxiety – nothing is going to help me if I am not willing to do some of the work, myself.  I am the biggest indication of whether or not my anxiety will subside, but yoga always meets me there, when I make myself vulnerable and show up to my mat. Bearing my heart and soul, open to allow this ancient practice to assist me as I work through the emotions, no matter how intense they are. With all of this in mind, here is a sample sequence that will greatly benefit someone who is ready and willing to release emotions that are not serving your highest self.

Keep in mind, focusing on your breath and sensations in your body will assist the yoga asanas in bringing you further away from the anxiety and deeper into the present moment, whatever that may entail. Please leave me any questions, comments or concerns you’d like me to elaborate on.

love and light. – kylan

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Yoga for “Tennis Elbow”

Tennis Elbow is a term for pain near the elbow that is caused by overuse of the lateral muscles of the forearm. This results in the tendons around this muscle to become overloaded, sending pain signals to the brain to decrease activities that fire up these muscles. Clients experiencing this type of pain report that they are usually experiencing symptoms only on one side at a time, suggesting to me that there is a movement or motion they are repeating predominantly with a favored side of their body.  As humans we naturally take the path of least resistance, so we will usually hold our toothbrush in the same way each day, eat with the same hand positions of our utensils, and hold our steer wheel while we drive in a way that feels familiar to us. Hand gripping and clenching movements are the ones that will intensify this pain, so holding a coffee cup all day, chopping and cooking often, and constantly using a computer mouse are going to be examples of repeated motions that will activate this injury.

There is nothing wrong with creating routine and structures for the processes we integrate into our lives, but in our culture of “go, go, go” and “more, better, faster” we don’t allow our bodies the rest and the counteractivity that it needs in order to recuperate and recover properly. One of the prescriptions for tennis elbow is rest and icing the affected area, but for someone like me, who thrives on activity – I went in search of another remedy.

Here are some stretches and exercises that will assist in strengthening surrounding areas and stretch out the tense and overused muscles:

photo of woman wearing gray tank top and purple floral pants

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

First we have “eagle pose” or Garudasana. Cross your right arm over your left arm, hinge at your elbows to about 90 degrees and depending on your flexibility, try to get your left fingers or palm into your right palm. Activate your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms. Refrain from clenching or grabbing. Remain in the pose for 5-10 slow breaths. Repeat with the left arm crossed over the right. (For the full expression of the pose, with the left arm under the right, cross your left leg over your right, reaching your left toes to the calf of your right leg. Switch sides when you switch arms)

hand

Wrist stretch: With the fingers of your right hand to the sky, back of the hand facing you, bend at the wrist and gently pull your fingers with your left hand toward your face. Hold for 5-10 slow breaths. Release and send your right fingers toward the floor, back of the hand facing away from you. Push the palm of the right hand, hinging at the wrist, toward you for 5-10 slow breaths. Release and repeat both exercises on the left hand.

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Bound forward fold: I love this stretch for so many reasons and I do it multiple times a day. Stand with feet hip distance apart, interlace your hands behind your back. Hinge at the hips and send your chest forward, keeping your hands and wrists touching (not clenching!). Bend your knees as much as you need to for your abdomen to touch your thighs, and then start to send your hands up and over your head while you start to slowly let your knees straighten. Let your head and neck hang relaxed, roll your shoulders toward and away from your neck. While maintaining the bind of your hands, keep reaching them toward the floor, without overextending at the elbow. Repeat with opposite thumb on top, 5-10 slow breaths each time, allowing the spine to reset and rest between stretches.

EGO – and the mania that ensues

The EGO topic has been coming up quite a bit for me recently. Either seeing it in others, noticing areas where mine is cropping up, or discussing it among friends. Formerly, my EGO ran my entire life, and I was vacillating from feeling absolutely entitled to everything I wanted and thought I should have, to feeling completely worthless and less than. And the pendulum would swing, one moment feeling better than someone else (“because don’t you know who I am?”) and the next I would feel waves of shame, worthlessness and despair because I didn’t think I measured up. I was trapped by judgements, stories, memories, fear and pride. It’s sad just thinking about that mental agony.  It fueled a selfish and lonely life. And I know some of you can probably relate.

So, where does this EGO come from? What is its purpose?

It is the principle that exists in our psyche that separates us from one another, helping us to organize the characteristics of our personality that allows us to function within the world. Where the EGO becomes a problem is when we allow it to get out of control. The EGO is supposed to be in service to our highest self, but when we let it take priority over our divine purpose is where we find the self will run riot. The key to ensuring that our EGO doesn’t cause chaos running the show, is to implement checks for ourselves, and continue to restore balance.

Staying in touching with our higher power, through various channels such as prayer, meditation, writing or singing maintains our connection to our highest self and allows it space to expand. Allowing ourselves to be of service prevents us from being too heavily self focused, and provides us perspective over the rumination that sometimes plagues our minds. Remaining accountable and in connection with others who are able to remind us of our true nature, put us in check with “reality” when necessary, and restore our feeling of interconnectedness in the universe is another workable and effective method to maintain balance with our EGO and highest self.

The EGO is not a bad thing, and doesn’t need to be banished completely, after all we were created in the image of whatever each of us believe our higher power to be. We are inherently wonderful, and each of us has the capacity for ultimate goodness. Treating others and ourselves with love and kindness remains the prescription I will advise. Be well, my beautiful friends. I love you.