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Remember the ditty ‘Do Your Ears Hang Low?’ Well, I’ve tweaked the lyrics a bit to apply to my current situation. Here goes:
Do your boobs sag down, do they jiggle to and fro? Do they swing to the right and then reach down to the floor?
At least I think they’re mine.
The postpartum boob transformation occurred quicker than the flick of a baby finger. “My” breasts were small, perky and fluid-free. These new things attached to my chest are droopy bags — albeit fabulous droopy bags. They fill with and distribute milk — fabulous — but they’re just so different and devoid of perkiness.
And “my” stomach, where did that come from? It’s flattish, wide and different. It’s so different from the stomach I came to know so well.
Come to think of it, the only parts of my naked postpartum body I recognize are my knee caps. They’re not saggy. Yet.
It seems our minds have developed an unfortunate dependency on worry. In the blips of time when “everything is under control,” the mind kicks into overdrive, determined to find a problem to latch onto, a problem to worry about.
Then, the pellets of doubt begin to drop and we are eventually drowned in an all-consuming flood of ‘what-ifs?’
It’s frightening how easy it is for me to put a negative spin on the positive. My brain has a lifetime of wiring supporting the perpetuation of worry.
What gives? Why the ceaseless pounding of doubt and fear?
As a Hypnotherapist, and chronic worrier, I’ve discovered a common root to this conundrum- the inner critic, the voice of incessant chatter that feeds off of problems, real or perceived.
I call my voice Sheila, and she is quite unpleasant.
After years of allowing her volume to grow to a nauseating magnitude, and witnessing the same phenomenon in clients, I decided that something had to give. There were voices that needed to be silenced, or at least significantly minimized.
The following release work has supported myself, and many others, in turning the voices of our motley inner crew down from 10 to ‘Shh…’
Mindful Breathing– The rhythmic patter of steady breath offers a productive replacement to the, “No you can’t, not good enough, what if, I think you’re wrong, just give up.”
It’s difficult to live in a state of chaos when our body is checking into its healing room, via breath work.
Try it- take five deep breaths, inhaling to a slow count of 5, holding for 3, and exhaling to a slow count of 5.
Allow the body to sink deeper into the inner healing room with each breath.
Tapping- We have an electrical system running through our body via channels called meridians. When we have a negative thought our electrical system is disrupted.
Each of the meridians has an end point, and we can release the negative energy by tapping on these points. While tapping, we verbally state the negative followed by our positive preference.
For example, “Even though I am sad my boyfriend broke up with me, I know I am wonderful and worthy of love.”
While repeating the statement, tap 5-7 times in the following locations:
In between the eyebrows.
On the temples.
Underneath the eyes.
On the upper lip.
Below the lower lip.
On the collarbone.
Repeat this round three times.
Write out the worry and rip it up- It is profoundly cathartic to physically destroy a piece of negativity.
Write down your worry, regret, fear, anger, or other variety of negativity on a scrap of paper and rip it up into minuscule shreds, or burn it- I prefer the later.
Self Hypnosis– There are vibrant worlds of possibility waiting to be sparked in the mind, and manifested in our reality. When this occurs, there’s no space left for that jerky inner critic.
Honor time by taking a few moments of focused stillness to tap into these flames of positive manifestation and allow them to thrive.
Let’s take the first step into this voyage. After taking your five breathes, allow the vibrations of relaxation to flow through you, flushing out the muck of worry that has latched on to your being.
Begin to envision your thoughts as clouds passing through the sky of your mind. You can view these clouds with a clear perspective, but are not intertwined in them- you’re just observing them with curiosity.
You don’t feel, absorb, or analyze the clouds- you just allow them to float by.
The dark clouds do not stay to rain down worry, they pass just as quickly as the others- they don’t touch you.
When you’ve separated from these clouds, feel yourself drifting deeper within, to your inner sanctuary.
Do a song and dance routine- Sometimes we need to stop taking our problems, other people’s opinions, and ourselves so seriously. The best way to do this is act like a fool in love with life.
After you’ve moved through the fore mentioned release techniques stick that cherry on top by playing your jam and dancing like a fiend.
We’re able to invest as much, or as little, time as we like to this release work, the time does not matter, it’s the intention that holds the power.
When we first begin our practice the voice may follow us for a bit, questioning the state of comfort that we’re floating in. But, the voice will eventually lose its luster, relinquishing its dominance to our true essence, residing in our core- the true essence that is composed of all that is good in the world, and all the wonder that is waiting to bloom into existence.
Crisis: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
Yes, there is a set definition in the dictionary for the term ‘crisis,’ but it has varying meaning for each individual. For me, a crisis is when my honey, my partner, my boo, ruptures his spleen snowboarding, spends his birthday in the hospital, and our toddler spikes a 104.1 temperature. Crisis.
If you were to ask me the day before said crisis, how I thought I would react to said crisis, I would have come up with a PG way of saying, “I would lose my s***.” Hypothetically, I didn’t think I would do well during crisis, especially when the lives of my nearest and dearest were in jeopardy. But, I’m shocked and pleasantly surprised to report that I handled the s*** much better than expected, and most certainly did not lose it; the hypothetical s*** that is, there is some very real s*** awaiting me in toddler’s diaper.
Back to the handled crisis at hand, we had traveled to Mammoth to enjoy the barely skiable layer of snow that had accumulated on the mountain. What happens when non-winter temperatures hit minimal snow in a winter-sports recreational hotspot (pun intended)? Ice is formed, dangerous ice. As we were sliding down the ice, Eric hit an especially icy patch of ice and unintentionally performed numerous somersaults. I witnessed this, and being the sympathetic lady I am, sailed past thinking, “Eh, he’s fine, I’ve seen him do worse.” As I waited, and waited, and waited some more, at the bottom of the run, my growing anxiety consistently heightened, until I saw him gliding down the mountain, unassisted. ‘Oh good, he’s fine.’ If those were indeed my last words, I’d label them my ‘famous last words.’
He pulled up in front of me looking a little pale, but “okay,” then collapsed. Not okay.
This is when “hypothetically” I would have lost the poo, but I didn’t, my mind cleared, my legs moved and I found medical assistance. I then filled out paperwork, traveled in an ambulance, filled out paperwork, waited for the results of a CT scan and blood work, filled out paperwork, and waited. All the while, somehow maintaining a calm, cool, and collected demeanor. I held it together, did what needed to be done, went back to our temporary Mammoth home, put the baby to sleep, and cried. And cried.
My being, my collective mind, body, and spirit had held it together until it was okay to let it go.
Throughout the following week of more hospital, healing honey, and fever baby, I got through it by attempting to follow the wisdom below, that people much wiser than myself have passed on to me:
-Take Care of It: Don’t dwell on the fact that there is a ruptured organ in Eric, an Eric in the hospital, and a really warm and perturbed baby attached to my chest. Take care of it. Make sure Eric has what he needs, comfort the baby, feed us, and fill out paperwork. Move through it Bailey, move through it.
-Release It: These circumstances were scary and far from ordinary. I’m not just not a robot, but not someone who easily represses emotions, sometimes to my detriment, but that’s for another blog post. I allotted myself a private hour at the end of each evening to cry, journal, or eat some leftover Thanksgiving pie, something cathartic. The catharsis transformed me from a pressure cooker, to a frazzled-hair, fairly stable, ‘let’s take care of it’ doer.
-Grow From It: I’ll be trite, and remind everyone that there is something to be learned from everything, even crisis. I’ve had a hefty dose of ‘life is fragile’ and have soaked in the importance of slowing down and really savoring all the amazing people in my life, Ruptured Spleen Eric and Fever Baby Hudson in particular. Going through crisis reminded me that nothing matters nearly as much as the health and happiness of my big and little honey, and myself. “We” rarely include the word ‘myself’ when writing the previous sentence, but how can we give anything good when we haven’t replenished our own supply of good.
Take Away: Live, love, laugh, eat, breathe, do, smile, cry, release, shower, and take caution when sliding down ice.