Sunday, July 1, 2012

HEALth and HEALing

In my last post, I showed you my Sanctuary... my Studio.  Since I went on my mini art retreat, I've really prioritized yoga with meditation, doggie walks and art time.  This post I wrote in a local Pittsburgh Facebook group (for local folks with thyroid disorders) sums up my experience since then:

"In the spirit of encouragement, I thought I'd share some great things that have been going on with me. Over the last week, I've been doing chakra balancing yoga including meditation in the morning and another meditation (sometimes chakra focused, sometimes not) in the evening before bed and my body, mind and spirit have shown wonderful healing signs- like my nails are in better shape than I saw them after the cleansing fast [I did this fall], which I thought was amazing and I'm more patient and joyful. I'm better able to center myself. I know it's really difficult with kids to get the time and space to do these sorts of things, which is why I haven't been as consistent in the past. But, the more I do yoga and meditate, the more results I see, and the better able I am to adjust to all the things that get in the way or break my concentration, like Angelo running his cars over me or throwing a fit in the middle of my practice or sitting in my lap while I [do pranayama] [or the doggie sings her "omg you're in the floor song in my face and/or licks my face]. I'm better able to accept that this is what a Mother's yoga practice looks/feels/acts like. I've also made sure to do art journaling almost every day, whether I can get some "just me" time or not. (Anti-perfectionism!!!) Surprisingly, all this has led me to do a little more cooking and managing the laundry better. Or maybe that shouldn't be so surprising. :) I often think as our energy system as a bank that you have to make deposits in to have anything to withdraw. :) Hope this helps!"

Then, in response to someone asking me how I stayed active and whether it was easy or just a great habit I said, 

"I've been active most of my life, but definitely been through periods of time where I'm sluggish and tired and just not motivated to move. Moving to Pittsburgh where there's a huge variety of classes to take really helped. I LOVE to dance, and have taken belly dance, hip hop, and stiletto fit classes. Also some yoga classes since I always practice longer and do a bigger variety of poses in a class than at home because someone is making me. Even though the cost and the hassle getting there are concerns, I made the commitment to keep going to classes and if I didn't go to class then I was more active at home. No, it wasn't easy at any point when I had to force myself to go to class when I was/am tired. Repeating "remember how good you feel afterwards" helps get me there. Since going on my mini art retreat, I remind myself of all the benefits I've reaped so far and that helps me to keep walking the dog and fitting in at least some yoga before/after even if I have to do only standing poses and plank in the kitchen while the eggs boil (did that this week some time). I really think meditation and art help give me the peace of mind and therefore extra energy to keep going. Also, I can _really_ feel it when I go too long without yoga. My body hurts [when I go too long without yoga]. I used belly dance and yoga to heal after several car accidents years ago, so experience tells me that it's going to "put me back together". A friend of mine talked about her method to motivate herself to keep walking: she said "just don't think about it. Just put on your shoes and go." It's a way to keep from talking yourself out of it... which I've done on plenty of occasions. Also, walking the dog is easier to motivate for because I know she needs it to be healthy too. She also lets me talk out any issues I have or problems I need to solve. I've had many "Aha!" moments on our walks; guess they are like meditation too. So, I guess to sum up (ha ha), I just keep remembering all the benefits and focus on that."

Currently, I'm not taking many classes, but I do consider them the boost I needed to motivate myself on my own.  The past few years have been relatively unhealthy ones for me (among my "periods of time where I'm sluggish and tired and just not motivated to move").  After having Angelo, many things (not always  directly related to him) "went haywire" among the people I love and am close to.  My Dad having strokes and being in and out of the hospital was part of that.  Because I had a small child, I really shut down parts of myself so I could keep going.  But that method really caught up to me. A little over a year ago, I was really not healthy despite eating pretty healthy foods and not being a _total_ couch potato.  I tried, but I needed to try harder.  I felt pretty beaten down.

Now that I'm on the other side of that, I can share what has helped me and hope that it helps someone else.  Along with the commitment to eat healthier and moderate portions, exercise, meditate and do more art- generally honor and nurture my Whole Self- I recruited help.  There were people who helped me push along the path to better health.  

First I saw a massage therapist 2 weeks after I miscarried last June.  She urged me to do a detoxification program, which lead me to see the naturopath.  He encouraged me to journal and that renewed habit lead me to call the really amazing psychic I saw at the beach when Angelo was 3.  She confirmed something that was in the back of my mind- that I should talk to a life coach- someone who listens to what you are going through/pondering/trying to figure out and helps you find solutions and clarify your goals.  Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, helped me to sort out many things I needed to let go of and stop doing just because I felt obligated to.  (If you sign up with Michelle, which I highly recommend, tell her Kimberly Minardi sent you, please!) This freed up energy to start looking into my heart and forgiving (myself and others) and letting go of a lot of Pain I was holding onto.  An excellent book that I read to help this process is "Unconditional Forgiveness- a Simple and Proven Method to Forgive Everyone and Everything" by Mary Hayes Grieco.  

My vision board had goals on it that only my heart understood at the time (my mind kept saying "I'm not sure why I'm choosing this), but because it was too closed I couldn't see or feel what they were.  Now when I look at it, I'm amazed!  It really helps support the idea that if you trust even the quietest whispers of your intuition and collect and collage images that speak to you, you can push your life forward in the direction of your choosing.  Truly, truly amazing!  

Speaking of collaging images that speak to me and health and healing, here are some sneak peaks into some of the art journaling I've been doing:

When I scheduled the Art Journaling Workshop with Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, I knew it would make me focus much more on art journaling than other creative efforts and I am so so glad that I did.  I am really excited to share this process at the workshop, so if you can make it, it will be so worth your while, I promise!  :)  If you live too far away to come to the workshop, I am working on getting some materials together to be able to offer an ecourse or perhaps an ebook.  No idea when it will be ready, but just wanted to get people thinking about it.  Feels scary letting people know my plans, but it really feels like something that just has to go out into the world.  :)  

Thanks for hanging in on this long post.  I hope it is useful for you. :)

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