Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

14May/200

Both And

I’m finding that many of my students are welcoming learning more yoga philosophy, more yoga during these times. I realized how I could teach concepts of non-dual awareness based right in the emotions people are having.

Someone shared feeling guilty for feeling bad about missing things and the anxiety they had. They have so much to be grateful for, they shouldn’t feel bad. They could be so more worse, they are being selfish when others are experiencing much more danger.

I reminded them it doesn’t work like that. Feeling anxious about the pandemic doesn’t cancel out your gratitude. Likewise, your gratitude doesn’t make you unable to hold compassion for others.

It isn’t either gratitude or anxiety. Nor is it compassion or gratitude. We don’t have to buy into this binary, dualistic model. The world doesn’t work that way, even if many philosophies have tried to push for this.

Yoga reminds us that life isn’t a series of either/or scenarios, it is both/and. Gratitude, compassion, anxiety, and everything else.

We’re back to Whitman again, “Do I contradict myself?”

13May/200

Mothering

For most people the word mother has pleasant associations. Mothering is a special kind of nurturing, "a mother's touch" confers special care.

Unless it didn't.

I realize that my Mother was good at what I've taken to calling "Performative Mothering". When they're was an audience to see how good she was, she left there impression of being a good mother. She'd terrorize me where no one would see and when they were watching she'd shine.

I said to my therapist it feels like she was setting me up to be gaslight by everyone. "Your Mom's great!" I so often heard from friends.

If CK finally hadn't witnessed the mental/emotional abuse going on I'm not sure I'd be able to articulate it. It feels like that was there key to unlocking the secrecy.

Day 60 of sheltering-in place.

12May/200

Eighty Thousand

While the rate seems to be slowing, the ever rising number leaves me breathless with despair.

The rest of this is about therapy and alludes heavily to child abuse.

⚠️

Therapy was hard. I brought up how I'd thought of the Childhood Logic that last year I'd found lurking within me last year around this time. The lie I'd told myself because the truth that I was terrified of my Mother was too awful.

The closer I get to integrating this memory, the easier it is to notice when I’m searching for proof that something was wrong with me, that it was my fault. I was a terrible child with a good Mother. This is the false logic that hides the awful truth; she was cruel.

The drive to make my Mother good is so strong. My therapist brought it to my attention again today when I said my Mother was "out of control" in the memory I'm integrating.

While it absolutely felt that way to my four year old self, my therapist pointed out how in control my Mother really was. How she had a pattern of getting me alone so she could abuse me without any witnesses. It only felt out of control because she wanted me to feel that way.

11May/200

Therapy Eve

The night before trauma therapy the day after Mother's Day; I feel really tired. Have had the heavy feeling much of the day, wading through tar pits in order to do any work, physical or mental.

It's all that and the USA death toll at nearly 80,000 and rising. Even as the rate slows, states reopen and keep the danger high.

Then there's this brave act:

I shared in an online community of adaptive teachers today that I may not return to teaching in person until there is a vaccine. I specialize in helping older adults; I can't encourage them to gather in even a small group! It's the first time I've shared it publicly. It's so sad; I miss seeing my students so much.

10May/200

Self-Mothering

It’s been Mother’s Day today and a nice benefit of physical distancing is the lack of exposure to all the usual merchandise blitz.

I didn't have a meltdown today. I am grateful.

I planted Atomic Red carrots, encouraged the sugar snap peas up the trellis, appreciated the flowers, used both video games & yoga for soothing, did chores, and made us food.

So many meals made! I’ve never cooked so much! I’ve also never gone for such a long stretch without take-out, fast food, or restaurants. I find myself thinking about supply chains and what winter will look like.

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9May/200

Heavy

At this mourning’s yoga class we talked about depression, how heavy and slow people are feeling. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I didn’t ask it this way, but I suspect there’s a heaviness spiritually as well, for folks who resonate in that way.

I shared how hard things are. I feel like I’m wading through tar to try and do anything. It isn’t that I can’t write emails back or do the dishes, or just takes so much effort to get there.

This is normal. This heavy fugue state that hangs over the world is not an indicator that something is wrong with you, exactly. Something is wrong with the world. It’s the trauma of these times.

8May/200

Seventy-five Thousand

75,477 people have died. This number is low since the CDC website is showing the Thursday tally at end of day Friday.

The lack of mourning and outcry feels increasingly wrong. This is why I'm making art every other day to show this growing number. I can't look away.

I have a friend, another yoga therapist, who had been been contacted by the Contact Tracing network that's been created in Oregon. She had a terrible virus on February, she's been in close contact with three folks who've tested positive. She'd tested negative, but that batch has had several false negatives.

I practiced saying out loud to her that I wouldn't be going back to in person teaching until a virus is available. I don't feel it's ethical to encourage my students to gather in groups. I'd rather keep getting them online!

7May/200

Pride

I have a hard time feeling proud of my accomplishments. I'm sure it's part of the deep feeling that I'm not worthy of care, but in the case of teaching related accomplishments it really hits hard.

I could be happy about bonuses and raises when I was in the tech industry. There were trackable evidence that I worked my ass off. This monetary reward for good behavior didn't flip me into shame and misery.

Teaching though, humans telling me that what I'm doing is life changing is hard. Hardest still, people giving me money and wanting to support me. It creates cognitive dissonance between the evidence of my value and worth against the message that I’m not worthy of care or protection, my needs are potentially dangerous, and my opinions are subject to derision.

6May/200

In Retrospect

After feeling so terrible yesterday I had some insights I’m still integrating.

Trauma Brain "works" according to Childhood Logic. Here is what seems to happen:

Students send me beautiful notes and donations for teaching online and keeping community going. Related: contribute money for my training.

I meltdown in anxiety, shame, despair, and feeling like I’m a failure and a terrible person until I'm nauseous, can't eat, & get weepy.

Further compounding the misery, I can’t ask for help. Trauma Brain is constantly reminding me that asking for what I need is A) Dangerous physically or mentally or both, B) No One Will Help, because C) You’re not worthy of having you needs met.

And then comes despair.

Today was better. I discovered a great photo I got of a bee butt in the garden and I did a hard thing successfully, I even felt successful!

5May/200

Terrible Tuesday

Today felt hard.

It didn't matter that I taught and it made people feel better. They sent me money and I began worrying; will I have to give back unemployment because people give me $2.50 a class?

Food felt hard and then I burned my dinner and CK's was dry.

I felt so weepy and despairing. I'm less so now, now I just feel angry.

It wasn't even like I read or watched any news. I didn't do any errands. No anniversaries that trip me up. Nothing other than living during a pandemic with a Federal government that keeps gaslighting us while behaving creully.