A side-effect of having a (or several) traumatic experiences is a tendency to live out-of-body. I have this tendency, and I truly have worked to be in my body – to recognize that something is starting to trigger me, to notice those little body cues that something isn’t quite right for me, and to then act and make it right. Sometimes that action is simply to take some breathes, or to shift my body. I know I have a lot of triggers, and so noticing when I start to react, taking in my body cues and getting my mind and body into the present has been a huge blessing for me and my family. It’s a practice. I work at it daily and some days go more smoothly than others.
Since my surgery I’ve really neglected my body in a lot of ways. I’ve stayed aware of it’s reactions and I’ve acknowledged when things are off and done the bare minimum to get myself back to center. And I hadn’t gotten back to my yoga practice. I hadn’t gotten back to my meditation practice. I hadn’t been doing my body scans and check-ins. I hadn’t actually felt my body since September 19.
And truth be told I’ve been a bit angry at my body too. I have what feels like a kazillion food sensitivities. Of course, it’s all my comfort foods that I shouldn’t eat, that my body and mind react most negatively to, but my emotions crave. The fact that I needed surgery pissed me off and the fact that I wasn’t healing as quickly as I thought I should post surgery pissed me off. My body failed me. I was mad. When I get mad I eat corn chips and drink cola. I eat potatoes. Anything salty and starchy or fizzy and sugary – that’s my comfort food. That’s the food that my body rejects and rebels against. Post surgery I was eating a lot of these foods. My body reacted in her usual ways: rashes, itching underneath my skin, eczema. My feet seem to rebel the most and my poor toes end up looking like they’ve been through a battle field barefoot.
I stopped eating all the bad for me foods a couple weeks ago and my body has started to calm down. I realized a week ago though I really wasn’t grounded. Not like I had been before surgery and while I was making half-hearted attempts at centering myself, I wasn’t doing the work I knew I needed to do.
Three days ago I started my twice daily yoga practice again. Two days ago I started my body scans. I hope to start meditating again tonight.
What I noticed in the last three days is my feet. While my feet have continued to do what they are supposed to do – carry my body from point A to point B with the help of my legs and hips – I couldn’t feel them touching the ground. I literally could not feel my feet. At all.
Today during my morning yoga I paid extra attention to my feet and feeling them connect to the ground. Feeling the weight of my body through my feet and the pressure of my feet into the floor. Touching them, massaging them as I was in forward bends. By the end of my morning practice I could actually feel my feet on the ground, I could feel the floor pressing back against my feet and my feet supporting my whole body. It was an amazing feeling.
I decided to give my feet some extra love for all they do, all they endure. I gave myself (and my daughter too of course) a pedicure: scruffed off the dead skin, trimmed and painted my nails. I gave love to my feet. I gave love my daughter’s precious fee too. Massaged them to warm them up, painted her perfect toes with some sparkly blue polish. We had a beautiful time together, picking out our nail polishes, admiring our handy work. She even helped me paint my toes.
I happily looked down at my toes all day today, with their pretty colors, feeling the warmth of the recent connection with my daughter, smiling at the memory. I’d remember to feel my feet, to feel them touching the floor to be in my body and stay connected to me and the earth and to not float away.
Practice. Constant practice.
Perfectly timed, as it turns out. One of the side-effects of the treatment I’m on for my endometriosis is anxiety attacks. I’ve had mini-attacks building up for the last two weeks, and today could have been disastrous if I hadn’t been practicing grounding and centering, feeling the earth, connecting myself to the present. I would feel the attack start to build and would breath through it and then remember to connect my feet to the ground. Keeping me connected; keeping me present. It would take time, and slowly the more I focused on my feet connecting to the earth, the less my heart would race, the less my mind would race, the more in my body I would feel and the more in the present moment I would become.
I’m grateful I’ve found my practices to help keep me in the present, to keep me connected to the here and now and not let myself just float away. I’m grateful I’m able to experience the joy of being in the moment; learning to let myself play, to let myself relax. I’m not great at it, I practice constantly.
Constant practice. Someday it will come more easily and I’ll have something else that requires practice. It’s all worth it. To experience the joy that is my life, to experience the beautiful moments, like giving my daughter and myself pedicures, in the moment. Being present, that is the present – for my daughter, my husband and most importantly, for me.