Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spreading Wellness: How may a stoplight help you to pause and consider your pain?

Feeling like Mr. Muddle, and having an extremely muddled
up morning, helped me to pause and reconsider healing
after stopping at yet another stop light one morning.
The alarm was going off, but my brain confused it with something else...until I startled to realize that it was my alarm. As I rolled over to turn it off, I had an immediate sting of the eyes, a heavy head sensation, and almost an inability to find the strength and coordination to lift my arm and find the button to turn it off. Although difficult, I did muster up the strength and coordination to tap "off," and the sound stopped. Body said sleep, head said, "you have a crazy day scheduled to start earlier than normal, get up." Body said sleep, body slept, head startled awake reminding me to get up. Body finally agreed, I couldn't waste time. Head is heavy, eyes are stingy and heavy, as I slipped on my slippers and robe to make my way down the stairs to make coffee. I start the tea pot, get my cup, and coffee drip thingy. I take out a filter, insert it into the coffee drip, which still sits on the counter. I get the coffee grounds, measuring spoon, and dump 1/2 of a spoonful of coffee grounds into the cup and on the stove and realize this won't make very good coffee. My brain startles. I feel like Mr. Muddle. Remember the Little Mister book, Mr. Muddle, who walks one way and goes the other, who spreads butter on the table instead of the bread? Yes, Mr. Muddle. That was me.

I finally was able to un-muddle myself to get out the door and into my truck. The coffee was helping, or maybe making it worse, I'm not sure...then I hit every red light possible on the way to my meeting. With a more functioning brain, I made my brain pause as I sat waiting for a green, and asked myself, "What is the universe trying to tell me, by hitting all of these red lights?" I sighed a heavy sigh, and answered my own question. I decided I was being told to slow down...that I needed to be ok with how I was feeling...that although I have a busy day, I need to also be realistic with where I am at physically and emotionally. According to an article by Ellen McGrath, titled, Recovering from Trauma, I was in the integration of stage 2 and 3 of healing...dabbling in stage 4. And, in order to get to the full reintegration (stage 4) of healing, I needed to feel my emotions and act constructively. Sometimes, life challenges are more important than work, and this was one of those days I needed a reminder. The night before, my husband and I had a little ceremony for our little angel that we lost last month. Physically, my body has finished the long process of losing a baby. Emotionally, I am still struggling...and although every day gets a little bit easier, and the small closing memorial that we had, just the two of us, was good for closure and moving forward, I was still a roller coaster, and it was ok to feel disconnected...and if I keep fully processing our loss, I will reconnect with others in a more meaningful way. In fact, when learning more about the process, it was normal to feel disconnected, and it was important to pause and remind myself, that we have just gone through the most emotional and physically challenging time in my life. As you blog followers know, if you read my "full truth" poem, I have had many losses (deaths) in my life of close friends and family; however, I have never had one as close as losing my own child. And, in order to fully process our loss, I had to sit with these challenging feelings, including the disconnect between body and brain, in order to heal. And, maybe being all muddled up, was the reminder that I needed to pause and feel...to slow down...to give myself as much time as I needed, to be selflessly selfish, in order to in the future (near future I hope), to be able to give more than myself to my clients, friends, and family. But in the mean time, this is a time for me to heal...a reminder that I can't just "deal with and be done." I need to allow myself to slowly return to my fitness routine...to slowly return to a day full of meetings and be completely on...that I need to give myself time to heal beyond tears...to slowly return to a mental openness to try again. So that when September 15th comes, the healing process will be farther along than it is right now. I can't sweep it under the table, or my muddled days will continue, and that isn't good for anyone. So for everyone's sake, I need to take care of myself, so I can be fully engaged with my family, friends, and clients sooner, rather than later.

Why am I sharing this personal story with you, my readers? I am not a psychologist, rather an exercise scientist...however, I study positive psychology, because I believe it is a vital piece of healthy lifestyle habit creation...and positive personal growth (also known as 'change'). Although I cannot give personal advice in psychology specifically, in reality, I can share a story to empower healing. And truthfully, I share for a few reasons.

  1. Many of you that read this blog are colleagues, clients, and friends. Some of you know about our loss, and others don't. I'm not looking for hand-outs. I'm not looking to make excuses. I believe in sharing realities, so you all understand, that if I take longer to respond to an email than normal...or if I seem spaced out at a meeting...if I seem to muddle up notes that I'm taking for a board...please, be gentle, but please let me know of my errors. This will help me to be present, and remind myself to get out for a walk in the woods afterwards.
  2. To empower others to share their stories, to share their vulnerabilities and challenges, so that those around them can be there to help too. Whether it is a gentle reminder to stay focused in the moment, and engage in an activity that will help you to heal later...or whether it is to help you to find others who have shared similar experiences, which improves our connections, improves our communities empathy, and when we work together as a community to help one another, our world is a better and healthier place. Social connection and empathy have been studied by numerous scientists, all with an outcome of improving community through both.
  3. Because for me to process stage 2 and 3, I realize that I am typically a roller coaster in returning to feelings...some days are better than others....writing, talking, sitting & walking quietly with friends/family are the ways in which I can best make it through my low points. And, my way of taking constructive action, is to share my story through writing and talking...to help others know that they are not alone. To help others to share their stories, which will build a better and healthier community. I have always been an open book, and although not everyone is, may this post help others who are experiencing trauma, to connect in a way that is meaningful and helpful to them.

How did a stoplight help me to pause and consider my pain?
I tend to be mindful of my surroundings and the things happening around me, and seek meaning in the universe when things are not seeming to go the way I wish they would. For me, the continuous hitting of red lights on my way to my first meeting, after a completely and underly muddled up morning, helped me to pause and reconsider where I was at in the healing process. And for this mindfulness question, I am eternally grateful...for it helped me to seek help in my healing process...so I can more effectively move forward.

If you feel like you want to share with me, please do. Most importantly for this post, if you are experiencing trauma or emotional pain, may this empower you to be gentle on yourself, to process the pain in your own unique way, so that you can move to the reintegration phase of healing and moving forward as a stronger person.

If you have stumbled upon this blog, and would like to be added to our list, simply email info@e3twinports.com, with "Blog Sign-up" in the subject line. I'll happily add to to our growing list of over 155 people. 

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
Owner, Jodi L. Tervo Roberts
Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, Owner
E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Helping people to lead healthy, happy, & meaningful lives, while promoting healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation, fitness, yoga, individual wellness coaching, and interactive educational presentations.

Website: e3twinports.com
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