How do you create a life for yourself that excludes the desire to be anywhere else but where you are?
It’s possible to uproot ourselves from physical locations of trauma and drama. But mentally and physically? These stories come with us no matter where we go.
This week, I visited some friends where I used to live in Tennessee and we drove by the landmarks of my depression: the doctor’s office where I was prescribed Zoloft; the house with my therapist; the lake behind my old office; even trails in the Great Smoky Mountains.
All these places I had once associated with the darkest time of my life. Driving by them now, I could barely recall the darkness. Not only had I moved away from these places physically, but I had moved away mentally. Mountains were just mountains. Apartments remembered for their mice, not for my breakdown.
What do you do with yourself in the time between knowing it will all turn out okay and it actually turning out okay? Do you relocate? Do you let time put distance between yourself and the memories? Or do you go on living, knowing that temporary discomfort is necessary to uproot the hurt?
Being where you are
My parents say that I was a good kid who sat still in restaurants without a fuss. They let my bald baby head climb under the wooden office chair with the blue leather seat and took a picture of me there, grinning wildly. In that same room, when I was older I would pedal hard to Billy Joel songs on the player piano and perform a dance show and get lost in packaging peanuts with our dog Lefty before we put away the artificial Christmas tree.
I was always where I was and nowhere else.
At some point, the spell of childhood ends. For hours, we used to play in our imaginations without coming up for air, until “What do you want to be when you grow up?” gives us a glimpse of where we are not and where we’ll eventually be.
As adults, we’re lucky if we can be content for just an hour of yoga, solely inhabiting our bodies and breath without judgment of what it feels or looks like.
When we dedicate more time to “being here now” we anticipate fear less. We dwell infrequently. We awaken to our responsibility in the trauma and drama — namely, that by not changing our attitude toward it, we keep ourselves in it.
you and You
So, how do you create a life for yourself that excludes the desire to be anywhere else but where you are? You practice being okay with what is. Start with 10 minutes a day of yoga, prayer, meditation, writing or deep breathing. Create the container for your healing, then show up daily and start to fill it.
You don’t have to do it… but what if you did?
You may not notice healing right away, but after awhile driving by those old landmarks won’t be so painful. You might even smile at your old triggers and say, “Thanks.” All those seemingly unnecessary, painful parts of your life take on new meaning when you change how you look at them.
Turns out, they were just part of the process of you coming back to You.
Try it: Handstand Prep on the Wall
No matter how hard I tried to get Willow to stay near me as I climbed up into this pose, she wouldn’t. She inched as far away as possible from me on the mat, and the shutter snapped on her unmistakeable expression of uncertainty. I get it, Willow. It’s how I feel every time I go upside down.
But I was totally upside down once, figuratively speaking, and you probably have been, too. Is this any more difficult than that?
- Bring your mat perpendicular to a wall. Start in Downward Facing Dog with your heels touching the baseboard. Now, move your hands toward you a couple inches until your shoulders stack over your wrists.
- Press firmly down into the pads and palm of the hands. Wrap your shoulder blades onto the back and lift up and out of the shoulders. Keep your gaze between the hands to start.
- Inhale and begin to walk your feet up the wall behind you. As you walk up, press through the whole leg into the wall to keep yourself from sliding.
- Once your legs reach parallel with the ground (or close to it) keep resisting strongly through the arms and lift the navel in and up to protect your low back. Release the head to gaze back toward the wall. Stay for five deep breaths, or less depending on how safe and strong you feel today.
- Exhale and walk your feet back down to the ground. Bend the knees and shift the hips back into Child’s Pose. Release any tension in the arms and shoulders and observe the lightness in your body with a smile.