Move back to your center

When I tell you how I moved back to my center and broke the cycle of stress and illness, you are not going to be too surprised: I scheduled a couple of Reiki sessions for myself, ramped up the self-care by taking long lavender epson salt baths, got back in the habit of making daily green smoothies and tweaked my schedule so I can get to the gym and yoga class 5-6 days a week. After a week of that, I settled down enough to start meditating again. So I also added that back in.

We all know what self-care habits are good for us, but still it is super hard to do them in the middle of crisis, illness or periods of stress. We fall off the wagon, it seems, when we need it most. Despite making a career out of healthy habits – I still struggle with this.

I really believe that life is not about getting it perfect, but about showing up. The way I got back to my center was showing up for my self-care practices, even when they didn’t seem to be working for awhile. When I couldn’t get back to center on my own, I called a dear Reiki colleague and asked for help.

I am so glad I did! She helped me clear away a layer of stress so that my self-care practices could be effective again. I also intend to keep scheduling sessions for myself to receive the R&R I need.

I am going into August much more grounded and centered than I have been since I started this MBA program. A little of this change is accepting that I have to learn how to live with a certain degree of uncertainty and pressure as I go through these intensive six week graduate classes. The rest is a new commitment to showing up for all my self-care practices which need to be more frequent and consistent then in recent years to accommodate the stress of graduate school.

This recent journey of mine reminded me of the 7 day business bootcamp I put together last summer for heart-centered entrepreneurs to attract clients and grow their businesses. Day one is centering yourself, and I’m resharing the article from last summer here.

It all starts with a dream

Looking back over the last few years has been empowering and exciting. When I started working on a plan for my life and business in the fall of 2008, I was really struggling to come up with a vision of what my newly single life could look and feel like. I really wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted – all I knew was that I was really unhappy and uncomfortable.

My divorce a few months earlier took place during a health crisis where I was in excruciating pain to the point of not being able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes, forget about driving, working, cooking, cleaning my apartment. I was in a really rough place, and I knew enough about myself to call a mentor and ask her to guide me in getting out of the emotional hole I felt stuck in and start creating a new life. She helped me to pull my true essence out of all the hidden places inside myself and create a vision.

Some of the things I accomplished, I hadn’t really believed were possible when I first started dreaming about them. Read the rest on my website joannascaparotti.com.

Surrender

I am having a hard time since my hip started hurting on Tuesday evening. I am frustrated and disappointed that this aggravated hip is taking time out of my days and botching my plans for the week. I am starting to wonder if there is some message in the hip pain about stretching too fast and the snapping back that happens when something feels threatened.

We weren’t working strenuously in yoga class, mostly we were stretching. I recall reaching into a place in my left hip with one of the stretches, feeling a muscle wake up that I hadn’t noticed before, a depth to the stretch I hadn’t felt in this hip in years. I felt fine at the time, but about an hour after the class my core and hip muscles locked up around the area and two days later they are still tight and sore. That muscle in my hip must have called in the troops because it felt vulnerable and in danger of being hurt by the new sensations of the stretching.

This seems relevant to human nature.

If we venture out of our comfort zones too quickly without feeling safe and supported, we almost involuntarily snap back into a safe space to hide for awhile. I’ve sure experienced this with my heart in romance, in my career and especially with my business. I have definitely been working on stretching my edges in many aspects of my life this summer, and the stretch hasn’t always held.

It’s two steps forward, one step back.

Mark Silver talks a lot about making it safe for yourself and your clients to do the sacred healing work you are here to do with your business. His solution is to lean into the Divine in Remembrance for all the nourishment, support, nurturing, faith, love, energy and support you need to feel safe.

Today with this ouchie hip that prevents me from bending down to feed the cat and reach for pots on the bottom cabinet shelf, I feel unsteady, unstable, not safe in my body and in the kitchen. I feel frustrated that I have to ask for help with things I “should” be able to do myself. I am frustrated that this pain is distracting me from working on the big project I excitedly planned for today. I am frustrated that many of my plans for the week have been thwarted by this pain in my left hip.

Insert big, dramatic sigh here.

And as I finally give up and stop trying to push through the pain to get just one small task accomplished, so I feel good about myself, as I grump around my apartment refusing to laugh with my sweetie as he attempts to cheer me up, as I retreat to the bedroom with tea, journal and pen, I finally remember to surrender.

Sometimes the only thing you can do is surrender to the circumstances. We spend so much time believing we are in control, and yet we really are not most of the time.There’s nothing in my power to prevent the hurricane that’s coming on Sunday and disrupting my full day of meetings and clients. I can complain about it, but at the end of the day all I can do is surrender to mother nature and come up with a plan B, whatever that is, that works within the limitations outside my control.

Just like with my aggravated hip. I surrender, finally. I give myself permission to feel ok even though the pain distracted me from my planned project all day. I let go and accept that this is how it is today. And as I do so, all that frustration, stress and anxiety pushing down on my chest melts away.

I can breathe deeply again. I can laugh, pet the cat, and finally relax. I surrender.