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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Re-routing the Trip to Crazyville

Once I am strapped into my rocket and headed to Crazyville, I rarely stop and think about changing course. And if I do pause, I usually assume learned helplessness (thank you, B.F. Skinner) and continue on the path of doom. I can tell I am getting closer to Crazyville when I resort to familiar taunts and even find new ways to attack myself (today it was all about my sagging neck skin). I wash my hair more than once (twice today, and it still looks like a hair helmet). With glazed-over eyes I mindlessly shove fistfuls of sugar into my mouth, anticipating some sort of relief. I know I've reached my destination when my thought and speech patterns are reduced to all things negative. Simple pleasantries cease to exist. Case in point: when Brian came in from running errands this afternoon the first thing out of my mouth was, "Where's the broom?"

So here I am, looking to find my way home. I thought I'd write about it while in the moment and see what strategies I could pull from my ascot (which is covering my neck-skin, right?).  Here is my quick survival kit and map back to myself.

1. Breathe. 
Yeah, you knew I was going to start with that plum. When I'm in Crazyville I feel like taking away breathing privileges from those who tell me to breathe. But hold on... Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique has a science behind it and proves to be good for the body and mind. I teach it in my stress reduction classes (ah, the irony) and my students swear by it. When mindful of it, I am a fan, too. 

I'm going to try two rounds right now. There. I did it. Good stuff. 

2. Put on animal ears.
In this month's O Magazine, life coach and all-round awesome being Martha Beck talks about the power of dialoguing as a means of addressing one's inner mean girl. What really struck me when following her tips was the practice of anchoring your higher self (she calls it your Best Friend Self, or BFS. I love that!) with an item such as a ring, pen, or anything else that, when used, signifies an enlightened perspective. Naturally, I chose to anchor my BFS with my red wolf spirit hood because I am certain that any higher version of myself is part canine. While I can definitely attest to the power of dialoguing this way, I can also use this tool-- a symbol that grounds what is good-- to get off of a destructive path. 

There. Done. I am now sitting here with my ears on. 

3. Drink a glass of water.
I know, I know, this is not new news either, but for me it's an important strategy. Lifted from Happy Living magazine: 

"In a post for Shape Magazine, Cynthia Sass explains, “if you always feel tired, run down, stressed, and foggy in the brain… a lack of fluid could be a factor.” According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”

Here's what helps me drink water: First, having my favorite water around. I love the taste of the water from Pure Water in Santa Cruz. I am not a fan of the cold, filtered water from our fridge, but it's okay in a pinch. I also think that tea in my favorite cup counts as water. I had a favorite water glass that I bought from Z Gallerie, but it cracked. While I can keep an eye out for its replacement, any old glass will do for now. The point is to make healthy steps toward action, not excuses.

Slowly sipping a glass of water now...

4. Change into comfy clothes.
As someone who constantly bloats up like Miss Puff from Spongebob's Bikini Bottom, I am usually uncomfortable in my clothes. When I am off track and bloated, my mind is cruel, and it uses the tight waist band as evidence of my inadequacies. So here's a love note to me: Change your clothes, Michelle. Go do it now. Put on something comfy. Goddesswear, perhaps (super stretchy yoga pants with a lovely name), or loose jeans. Stop worrying about how many notches you have to let out on your belt-- actually, take the stupid belt off! Then, sweet girl, breathe, put on your spirithood, and enjoy a cup of tea. 

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