Who Can I Blame?

I used to be into yoga. Really into yoga. Kundalini Yoga, specifically. Then, I found some pretty disturbing articles about Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundalini Yoga to the U.S., and it creeped me out – so I stopped. I was too afraid to talk about it with my teachers, but I couldn’t bring myself to practice anymore.

A few months later when my anxiety increased, I decided that just because there was a chance Yogi Bhajan wasn’t the man his followers thought he was, didn’t mean his teachings were bad. But I never quite got back on track. After four years of an almost daily, “sadhana” or practice, I thought, “Maybe I don’t need this after all. Maybe I can handle life on my own.”

Ha! I remember my favorite teacher saying, “Never stop practicing.” I thought he was being dramatic, or basing this advice on his many acid-trip (or worse) days during his sabbatical from yoga. I didn’t see drug addiction as a possibility for m, so I didn’t think I had too much to worry about. I thought I was in the clear. Besides, I heard a lot of similar comments from fellow yoga practitioners. I was 17 years old when I graduated from Kundalini Teacher Training, the day after my high school graduation. Everyone said things like, “I wish I had started yoga when I was your age! You’re so lucky!”

On my 18th birthday, I used birthday money to get “Sat Nam” – Truth Is My Name – tattooed on my chest. It’s basically the Kundlini version of Namaste and is stated at the end of every class. I was fairly certain I’d found my spiritual life path.

Since then, a lot has happened. I had a blissful year in Hungary, followed by one life change after another. Some were bad, some were good, but they were all life changes. As you read in this post:

I need a foundation, something to believe, something to come back to, something that assures me that I’m always ok, no matter what, even when I’m not. Was I just naive? Is this possible?

So, who can I blame for this mess I’m in? Change can be so gradual. Early in high school, my thoughts were basically a constant prayer to God. I spent the vast majority of my time either at church, choir, or my Christian rock band. This constant dialogue with God was extremely positive, extremely comforting. I knew no matter what happened, I’d be taken care of.

Then, I started getting interested in things that weren’t necessarily Christian – aka, sex out of wedlock with my super hott choir boyfriend/first love! – and I couldn’t stand the thought of being a hypocrite. Yoga was my replacement. The philosophy really clicked with me, and I felt so peaceful after classes, so grounded. I felt something that I had always thought was underemphasized at church – the God within. Or, in Christian terms, the Holy Spirit.

It was so empowering to know that God is in everything. Everyone. And therefore must be a part of me. In order to feel peace and contentment, all I needed was to get closer to the aspect of God residing in myself.

So, somewhere between stopping my sadhana, the human Ellie has taken control. I’ve let go of my God within, forgotten that I’m perfect, forgotten that I’m taken care of no matter what, and started to believe that the pressure is on me to act right, be right, think right. In this environment, anxiety is welcome, not peace. And depression and anxiety are good friends. Where one sets up camp, the other usually follows.

My “Points” goals are a little unreachable at this point. Everything still feels overwhelming. So this week, these are my only daily goals:

Life

  1. Yoga – 5 points
  2. Journal – 3 points

Work

  1. Plan my lessons – 5 points

Sat Nam.

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How Long Have I Felt This Bad?

I had a breakthrough conversation with my husband today. It was very difficult to hear, and there were a lot of tears.

As I was (figuratively) pointing at him, telling him his depression and the way he’s changed are the major causes my current depression, he asked, “Have you ever thought of how you’ve changed since we got married?”

In our discussion, I was forced to see a lot of things I’ve been avoiding about myself; I’m not as ambitious as I used to be, I don’t talk about a wide range of topics anymore, I don’t have interests, I don’t have very many friends, I don’t have the energy to go out. These realizations are added to the shortcomings (?) I’m already aware of: not sleeping enough, not eating right, lack of confidence at work and around strangers, not exercising enough – all things that I would do far more often if I loved myself as much as I used to.

I guess today it all came crashing down on me that this whole depression thing isn’t new, I’m just finally acknowledging it. I want to go home, but it’s not the right home for me anymore. I want to have that same experience. I want to believe this.

Hungary didn’t pull the real me out of myself on it’s own. I made a conscious decision before I left to be myself in a place where I could start completely over, where no one from my past would be comparing my actions to past experiences. To trust that I was pretty awesome on my own, and didn’t need to act a certain way or seek others’ approval to be great. To be happy.

So, in all honesty, I think I’ve felt this bad ever since I moved back. Sure I’ve had really happy moments – especially the whole getting married to the love of my life part. 🙂 But I’ve been surviving. I’ve been making the best of things. Anxiety controlled my life for a whole Summer and the following Spring, and I’m still letting myself stay in this rut.  These are all things you’ve heard from me before. It’s just shocking how long it’s been going on.

Denial is a powerful thing. But I think I just reached my limit.

 

 

 

 

I Have Thought of You Often

It’s been a really long time – almost (or more than) a month, I think.

Loving work is a dangerous thing. I’m not complaining! I am SO happy that I’m excited (although admittedly tired) every morning when I wake up to go in to work. But, this is what happened my second year teaching as well: I love it so much, want so desperately for everything to go as well as it can, that I work really long hours, and even sometimes bring work home with me.

Part of me is saying, “But it’s the beginning of the year! Get started off right!” And another part of me is saying, “Danger!” I can feel it happening, the awful phenomenon when I’m in a non-school setting, but all I can talk about is school. I literally can’t think of anything else.

The other downside is that when I get like this, work seems to be my top priority, so everything else starts to fall to the wayside. Diet? What’s that! Sleep? Who needs it? Yoga…. My blog? Oh, that was a lot of fun…

*Sigh* So, I’m a little worried. My routines are not going as smoothly as they were either. (Outside of work, anyway. There it is again!)

The nice thing is, I feel good. I feel confident. I have energy. I’m being productive. I want work to go well, but I don’t want to lose sight of everything else.

This week I will remember that although success at work is fun, it’s not the most important thing. All the other life stuff will catch up to me, and it will seriously weigh everything else down if I don’t keep on top of it.

Back to my points. Back to my routines. Back to feeding me and not just Ms. Choir.

Back to school – Back to work

I had no idea the transition back to school would go so well! I am SO excited about this school year. My classes are full of kids who are truly excited to take choir, and my schedule is basically a dream. My conference period is the last period of everyday, which is going to help me immensely when I have concerts or events after school. 

It’s only day 3, but here are some changes I’ve made that I hope will turn into habits. My points need to be modified some…

  • Establish a morning routine: In past years, I’ve let my level of exhaustion determine how long I sleep, if I pack a lunch, etc. Because I didn’t have a routine, my basic needs like breakfast, lunch, coffee, shower, work outfit, etc, where often not met. Now I am aiming to do the same thing every morning, to establish a foundation for my day. 1. Quiet time 2. Take care of Bartley 3. Breakfast/make lunch (put previously divided sandwich bags and tupperwares in my lunchbox) 4. Show/get ready 5. Leave by 6:30. Of course, in order to do that, I have to wake up at 5:15 (OUCH!) Which leads me to…
  • Being in bed by 10:00, electronics & lights off by 10:30. This gives me almost 7 hours of sleep. 
  • Organizing has turned into a “10-minute” clean. I love this idea. I found it on pinterest, and it’s almost ridiculously easy. You just set a timer for 10 minutes, and clean as much as you can during that time. The craziest part? I’m usually finished in 7 or 8 minutes! All these years I’ve dreaded cleaning, and it was something I could accomplish in 10 minutes or less. Insane!
  • Before I leave work at the end of the day, I go through this checklist: Clear desk, check/respond/archive emails, make necessary phone calls, complete or review the next days lesson plans, add to the next day’s to-do list, and 10-minute clean of my classroom. 

I am feeling so optimistic about these changes. These, along with eating well and daily yoga/meditation are my current “points.” If I can build them into habits, I know I will become the organized professional I want to be.

Let my inner virgo shine! 

Quick Note

Just a quick note to say that today was not as productive as yesterday. I had a lot of professional development meetings, which meant I kept adding things to my to-do list, but couldn’t ever cross anything off! I did pick the three most important, and completed those tasks this evening. I also did my daily chore, and gave Bart a bath to help fight the skin infection. 

The moral of today’s story? I think I need to add another point to the list: go to sleep at a reasonable hour, specific time to be determined before or during my next post. 

Sleep well! It’s a 2-point day, and if I make through my meditation without falling asleep, I’ll get 3-points. See ya!

A Lot to be Happy About!

Today was a great day! It was really nice to be back at work and see people I’ve missed all summer. I also biked to work, which was great, and managed to stay very focused on getting things done! Yay! I was very productive.

I also saw my preliminary class rosters, and it looks like most of my students made it into the right class. Double yay! I teach choir, and a huge part of having successful classes is making sure students are put in the right class based on their experience.

Bartley is is doing really well. Still not 100% himself but he’s on his way. Since he’s on steroids, he pees a lot, and he’s successfully using the pee pad already! This is a very new thing for him, so I’m really proud – and grateful – pee breaks every two hours are not okay…

So, today was a 4-point day! It was actually almost a 5-point day, but I went over just a tiny bit on my calories. I feel so energized! I really think it’s true:

Life doesn’t have to be so difficult. I think it’s like yoga: the more you put into a class,  the more intentional you are about it, the more you get in return.

(It feels weird quoting myself!) So yeah, it’s hard to remember this when life throws shit in your face, or you’re exhausted, or alone, but experience tells me it’s true, so I hope I’ll remember it the next time I feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

In the comments section, are some links to some ideas/systems that have seriously been helping me out the last few days.  On my way to making them habits. 🙂