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Kicking The Fuck-its In The Ass

So it’s a new day and the fuck-its passed. They always do for me. I’m lucky in that they are never around for days or weeks and they haven’t spiraled down into hopeless often. It has happened, though, and that’s not pretty and it feels awful, so I work really hard to kick the fuck-its in the ass as soon as I recognize them and not move into hopeless.

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The fuck-its passed, as always, and I got to do a little work with cava before meeting friends for drinks.

One of the things that I do, that I didn’t write about earlier in the week,  is find inspiration that helps to kick the fuck-its.  Inspiration has been on the back burner, simmering, for a long time. Years, I think. Talking about inspiration feels really vulnerable to me. Maybe it’s because inspiration; what you think about, where you find it, what you like about it is so highly personal. The song that makes me jump out of bed and want to kick-ass, may be the track that makes you laugh and say, “how can anyone like this song?”

So I’m going to stick my toe in the inspiration pool. If you go to A Yogi Kitchen’s Facebook page this holiday weekend, I’ll be sharing songs from my Melissa playlist.

I’ve always had a Melissa playlist. Even back when it was on Napster (oh, Napster. Sigh.), the Melissa playlist was songs that could get me out of the fuck-its. They are songs that make me feel most like me. They are songs that make me want to jump out of bed and write a bestseller, run a marathon and  open a new restaurant all at the same time.

Do you have something like the Melissa playlist? Do you have something you read over and over? A song you listen to? A place you like to go that makes you feel calm and grounded and most like you? Share here in the comments. Share on the FB page. Feel free to text or email me.

If the fuck-it’s  happen a lot for you, I’m teaching both the Free BreatheEcourse and BreatheOnline in January. Join me for skills and tools to manage anxiety, depression and PTSD using mindfulness, yoga, dbt and nutrition. All are welcome, you need not have a diagnosis and it doesn’t matter whether you are medicated or not. These tools are helpful for everyone. 

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The Fuck-its Or, Double Fisting on Monday

Happy Monday! I started my social media interaction this morning sounding more bright and cheery than I feel. If you don’t know me personally, or haven’t figured out by my online presence, I’m a pretty happy person. Bubbly, I’ve been told. People think that I’m one of those people who whitewashes my FB feed so my life looks perfect, which is really surprising to me because when I look at my posts I don’t see perfect. At all.

This Monday, I’m not feeling it. I’m not feeling bubbly or even energetic. I’m dragging, I’m sad and I’m feeling a bit….it’s not hopeless, cause that would be bigger than this. I think I have a case of the fuck-its. It’s that place where I feel like I’m the only one who cares about the holidays, so why bother. I just had to postpone my workshops and two of my clients with depression are really struggling, so why bother? The whininess goes on.

It’s a crappy place to be, but I’ll get to the other side. I always do.  The thing about the fuck-its, is that they can lead us to some dangerous places. They can lead us to some pretty destructive behavior.

Getting Quiet

Getting Quiet and finding connection are two great ways to chase the fuck-its away.

So, what do you do? Here’s what I know. Catching the fuck-its as soon as you can identify them and doing something about them is way easier than pulling yourself out of a bottle of gin and another bad-choice-sex-encounter. Catching the fuck-its before you get to hopeless is going to save you a lot of billable hours at your shrink’s office.

I also know that the more aware you are of your ups and downs, the more honest you can be with how you’re feeling body/mind/spirit in any given moment, the easier it’s going to be able to see the fuck-its and move around/through/past them.

Managing the fuck-its means loving yourself and nurturing yourself with self-care. It means doing for yourself first. It’s time to stop putting yourself on the back burner and taking care of everyone before you

So, here’s what I’m doing today. I’ve been on the run for a few weeks and dealing with my dad being hospitalized twice in the last two months, and is on his second acute care facility. I’ve been working long hours, flying a lot, driving to Salem every weekend for four or five weeks. I’m tired. So, today, I’m not juggling. I’m just doing some work and taking it easy. Cause when we’re constantly in multi-=tasking mode our brains get tired. Really tired. When I’m in Lawrence, I have out with friends and drink more often than I normally would, over a shorter period of time.

Double fisting

So, today, I’m double fisting it. I’m having hot, strong, black coffee, cause i love it and it doesn’t feel like morning if I don’t have some. I’m also drinking Gingerade Kombucha, cause I’m probably dehydrated and because living foods helps me bounce back. It helps even when I’m just flying, it’s a super-tonic when I have ALL these things going on at once in my life.

Dehydration makes everything bigger and harder. It makes your physical ailments harder to manage. Pain is worse, tight muscles get tighter, tension gets more tense. Dehydration can be the cause of sleepiness, fogginess, even inappropriate hunger.

I’m sleeping extremely well these days and I’m not someone who likes to or believes in over-sleeping, so I’m letting myself just do it. I’m letting myself just sleep as much as I find prudent. Now, if I were someone who really likes to sleep, who finds sleep a welcome escape, I would do the opposite. Hypersomnia can be a real problem for those of us with depression and anxiety and indulging in too much sleep can be a slippery path.

I’m making sure that I hang out with friends and family a lot., The fuck-its like two options; isolation or hanging out with other people with the fuck-its. That makes the fuck-its sing and dance.

So, for today, I’m double fisting coffee and kombucha at the library. I have two friends I’m waiting to hear from to see if we’ll meet for lunch or a drink later. Until then, I think I’m going home to nap.

 

Want to connect with me more? I’m all over. Join me on Facebook for tips, tools, skills to make your life more manageable with mindfulness and yoga. Work with me one-on-one. See my travels, cooking and eating on Instagram or see what I’m thinking on Twitter, search A Yogi Kitchen for either @BreatheBostonNY or @BreatheLawrence. Looking forward to getting to know you better! 

 

 

 

 

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What is BreatheOnline?

This post is from a few weeks ago. I’m working with everyone who signed up for this course privately. It’s just the way it worked out. So, there’s no group class happening currently. The next course starts January 21st.

In 2018 prices are going up, cause they haven’t in quite a few years, but you can catch BreatheOnline at the 2015 price for another two weeks. Sign up by December 1st for just $150. Check out the video and description on the website and read more here to learn about BreatheOnline! 

 

I’ve been teaching in some way or other for most of my life. Speaking in front of groups comes fairly easily to me. I’ve taught art for grade school, pre-school, yoga for pre-schoolers, teenagers and adults and I’ve even taught a few cooking classes.

I started teaching online last year.and have enjoyed it in a very different way than teaching face to face. It poses so many interesting challenges and I love to problem solve.

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So, it was a little surprising when I decided to record on Anchor this morning about what BreatheOnline is and what it isn’t.

Okay, if you haven’t heard yet, over the weekend I discovered this great new app called Anchorfm. It’s basically like SnapChat for sound. Starting Monday (yesterday) I started recording morning check-ins and this morning I went to record answers to the questions  that my clients and students have been asking about BreatheOnline.

I am not someone who has trouble talking. I’m actually more shy than people think, but I’m the quiet kind of shy. I’m the say too much kind of shy. I don’t often have trouble talking.

I had a little trouble describing what BreatheOnline is and what it isn’t. What? that seems ridiculous right?

And then I recognized a core issue for me. What I write about BreatheOnline and how I talk about BreatheOnline are two different things! This course starts on Sunday November 12th! I’ve taught it before! How can this be?

So, I did a lot of work last night and this morning getting quiet and really working on streamlining what BreatheOnline is and isn’t. I think the issue is that I want to be everything to everyone, so I never rule anything out and it’s exhausting trying to cover everything.

So, what is BreatheOnline? Head over to Anchor.fm and find out. Also, join me Monday, Wednesday and Friday forMorning Meditation, which will be check-ins for the next six weeks.

Check-ins are a great way to grow your awareness of what is and set intention. It’s also a great tool for feeling connected, body/mind/spriit. Feeling that connection and being mindful in the moment is the core of BreatheOnline.

We’re starting Sunday November 12th. Yes! That’s in five days. All you need is a journal and an open mind and open heart. You don’t even need a yoga mat! Join me!

 

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I am going way out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there.

Over the weekend I discovered Anchorfm. It’s a little like SnapChat, but for sound. It’s in its early days, so I feel a little less pressure trying it out. Honestly, I’m having a blast. I think there’s a little part of me that really likes the idea of connecting with a larger audience, more frequently and more personally. If someone asked me to do this, I would say No Way, not my kind of thing. I’m actually fairly shy.

So this has been a lot of big growth. Learning to be afraid and do it anyway is something I learned on the mat and slowly it crept into my everyday life.

So head over there, hear my newest plans for My new station. I also shared some of the music that I teach and practice with. Enjoy!

“Hi, I’m Melissa!” from A Yogi Kitchen on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/ayogikitchen?at=1064822

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Welcome to BreatheEcourse

Hello and welcome to BreatheEcourse!

I’m so honored that you’re joining me next week, and if you’re not, I hope you’ll consider it!

Thank you for your interest, your support and for choosing to look at your mental health in a new way. Implementing these skills and tools into my life has changed my anxiety and PTSD. I still struggle at times, but for the most part my life is manageable and even enjoyable. Most days I feel pretty grateful to have the life that I have and know that whatever comes up, I’ll be able to handle it.  That’s a lot different than it used to be.

Starting October 22nd we’ll be spending 7 days together. What that looks like is completely up to you. What I will do is send you emails daily with a core Breathe concept to bring some ease to your life. I’ll talk about a tool or skill that helps me. In the secret FB group, I’ll share my own experience of how the skill or tool works in my life.

I can’t promise you that everything is going to be shiny-happy right away, but I can promise you that these tools will help you shift your thinking and your mood, at least temporarily. I can teach you how to stop a panic attack, sleep better and start to feel a little lightness. I can show you that, but it will still be up to you to utilize the tools and skills. That’s the rub, isn’t it? To manage our anxiety, depression and/or PTSD we have to show up and do what we know how to do, Every Single Time. Cause it can spiral down incredibly fast, right?

Okay, so what will you need next week?

I always start BreatheEcourse and BreatheOnline with Let’s Get Clear and actually, you can start thinking about this now. Let’s Get Clear is about really being honest with ourselves about how anxiety, depression and/or PTSD is affecting us. Is your anxiety making you feel an overpowering need for control? Is that manifesting in skipped meals, washing hands, bullying your partner? Tough questions, but if you’re like me you don’t want to kid yourself anymore. You are ready for some brutal honesty, cause whether you do the work with me or with a therapist or in a group, brutal honestly is imperative. Aren’t you tired of trying to trick yourself? I absolutely am.

So, think about that. In addition, consider your time commitment over the next week. How important is managing your mental health to you right now? Are you really struggling? Or is life humming along okay and this is just a way to add some tools to your toolbox?

How fast do you want to make some changes? I’m a rip-the-bandaid-off kinda woman. I would rather put my life on hold for a bit and jump into healing with both feet so I can feel better fast, than take baby steps. Having said that, there’ve been plenty of times when I’ve had to do a little bit often. Feeling better is not where I like to do that.

First, you’ll need a journal to record all these honesty thoughts, take notes and just be present during the week. 

You can use absolutely anything you like.  It can be a notebook from the dollar store or a fancy leather bound journal. It can be your everyday journal or something new that you buy just for the week, or just for recording thoughts and feelings around your mental health. Whatever works for you is perfect. The only thing that I ask is that it be bound in some way, not just loose pages.

Well, I also insist that you write and not type. There’s lots of research out there that suggests the act of writing things out longhand is completely different than typing, when it comes to our brains.  The healing happens when we write longhand. The healing? Yes, healing. Journaling can even speed our physical healing. You don’t even have to write about your physical ailment.

What else? You also need an open mind and heart. We’re going to work on this, so if that scares you, don’t worry. All week we’re going to work to reach a place that’s called Wise Mind. I’ll explain more when we start, but basically it’s where we consistently look for the middle ground, a hard task for people prone to black and white thinking. Everything we do next week is going to be about centering  body, mind, spirit, so we can stand in Wise Mind as much as possible.

When we’re in Wise Mind, we’re not reacting to partial information, we’re using both sides of the brain to see the whole picture and then we can make observations about how we’re actually feeling and are able to make wise choices about how to act. Take action, not react is the key. 

So, let’s get in Wise Mind and create some changes in our brain chemistry! You’re going to get the most out of these 7 days, if you can stay on top of reading the emails, do the exercises and connect on the FB page. It’s 7 days! The more work you’re willing to do, the more things will shift for you and the better you’re going to feel after a few weeks of implementing these tools.

The secret FB group is not a whim. i really thought hard and long about what’s been the biggest help in managing my anxiety and PTSD. Overwhelmingly, it’s been connecting with people who get what I’m going through. Cause how can you really understand a panic attack unless you’ve had one? Saying, it feels like you might die, or explode, just doesn’t make sense to the person who’s never had one. It doesn’t. We need our people and for me, that means other people with similar health issues! Listen and share and connect and enjoy a whole group of like-minded people who get it.

So, find the perfect journal and the perfect writing implement and let’s join together in community, a core yogic concept, and take a step towards ease, wholeness and maybe even a little happiness.

If you’d like to join us, but haven’t signed up yet just drop me an email at Mel@ayogkitchen.com and I can add you to the list.

I’m starting BreatheOnline November 12th, for those of you interested in a longer session with some deeper work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Extreme Adulting

It’s finally fall in the Northeast! Well, yesterday was 75 degrees in New York, but today in Salem it’s bright and chilly.  Wearing a sweater on the balcony.

As many of you know, my life has been a bit crazy lately.

I absolutely have no idea how I got to be such a grown-up. As if to prove to me that I’m really old enough to have attended my 30 year high school reunion a few weeks ago, the universe keeps asking me to put on my big girl pants. Over and over for the past six weeks, I’ve been seriously adulting.

Two family members have been in the hospital,  one just a ER visit for a PIG BITE, a kid has been sick, the other kid is habitually sick from, guess what? Anxiety! I’ve traveled twice to the Midwest and many weekends to Salem, MA. I got a beautiful ring from my sweetie, which shouldn’t matter, but you know, it really does.

In Chicago, a few weeks ago,  I saw friends I’ve known for over forty years, I heard story after story of how my friends’ parents died or managed a big illness. Over and over as they heard that my dad is in multiple organ failure in the hospital,  people held my hand and told me to enjoy the little moments and to be present with what is, cause it will be the little things that I will hold on to. It was a weekend of deep connection that, today, still makes my heart smile.

Before alumni cocktail parties and once in the middle of my class dinner I talked with my father’s doctors and social workers and, with my little sister, helped my dad make some big decisions about his life.

Six weeks!!  This has been six weeks!  Okay, the ring might have been the month before, but it’s so beautiful and I’m so proud of it and so happy and inspired by  this amazing relationship that I wanted to mention it. Cause it’s one of those moments where attention must be paid.  And it’s real, grown-up kinda stuff. Cause a serious relationship at this point in my life is so different than the first time around.

You all know that I work hard to manage my anxiety and PTSD. There have been times in the last year that I’ve seriously questioned my life and whether I still want to live it, so I know you’re wondering how I’m doing with all this.

I’m doing surprisingly well. I’m not depressed, anxious or worried. I’m sleeping well. I have no appetite, perhaps that’s a little gift I’m getting. Seriously, I’m eating well and working hard. I’m terribly behind, but when you throw all these issues into one woman’s life, being behind is to be expected.  Acknowledging what is and not expecting it to be how I want it, helps me manage my anxiety.

I think there are a few big reasons that things are going smoothly.. First, nothing that is happening is actually about me. It’s all about the people that I love. It’s so important to leave your stress where it belongs. It is not me who is in the hospital on dialysis. I do not need to take on that stress or responsibility. Even though I’m feeling okay, I’m making sure to do the things that I know to do. I have no appetite right now, which suggest that I’m having more stress than I feel. A little numbness would be normal. The old Melissa, with the eating disorder, would say. “Hell Yeah!” and not eat. Until I had to and by then I’d feel sick and exhausted.

So, instead I’m doing what I know to do, even if I don’t feel like it.  And this is extremely important in terms of managing anxiety, depression and PTSD. You can’t just do what you want all the time, you have to put on your big girl pants and do what you know works for you. And then you have to do it again and again. It’s not sexy, but neither is Melissa hiding in bed because life feels too big.

Finally, the biggest thing I’m doing? I’m connecting. Luckily, my sister and I work well together. We’re consistently on the same page and I think we do a good job of encouraging each other as well as being kind and compassionate to our dad. I’m reaching out to good friends, some who’ve gone through what I’m going through right now, as a parent and as a daughter, and some who just know me and know how to listen and be there for me. I am not afraid of asking my tribe to hold space for. me. It has saved my life more than once in my life.

As we move into the holidays and the stress of projects, family and hyped up schedules, think about the ways in which you manage. What do you know to do that actually helps your anxiety/depression/stress? Not what do you you do to push it away, but how do you make the discomfort okay?

None of this is new information. I often share with you how I’m coping in different ways.I don’t always do it perfectly. It’s not always prettyt, but I’m still here. Hopefully, by sharing each time, in slightly different situations you get some value and learn something about coping and managing.

If you’d like some comfort, support and guidance, join me for BreatheEcourse, seven days of free emails that teach the skills and tools that I’ve learned over the years to help anxiety, depression and PTSD. Email me mel@ayogikitchen.com or like the FB page for all the updates. Hopefully, despite whatever craziness the universe is sending your way, you’re finding some ease and feeling confident in your ability to handle it.

=BreatheEOct

 

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Blessed To Be In Pain

It’s been a tough week. Well, a tough two weeks. I’d like to exaggerate and say whatever could have gone wrong, did. That’s hyperbolic and thank goddess that’s not what happened. Everything didn’t go wrong. A lot did, though.

So, today as I traveled from full-time mommying to solo life in New York, I listened to some podcasts and tried to get back on track. I listened to Tony Robbins interview Pitbull. And as Tony is so great at doing, he reminded me to be grateful for my hardships.

It took me a long time to get here. A really long time. I get it now. I didn’t for my twenties, thirties or most of my forties.  I heard people say they wouldn’t be who they were if it weren’t for the hard times. All I could think of was who I might be if I hadn’t had the crappy childhood and the resulting behaviors. I imagined a life free of struggle, a life blessed by financial freedom and full of social confidence, stability and security.

To be embarrassingly honest, I didn’t fully get it till just a few years ago.  I was starting to wrap my head around it, slowly but surely moving towards what I knew instinctively to be true. Then, I saw I Am Not Your Guru, the documentary about Tony Robbins. I heard about his crappy childhood and saw where he is and it clicked.  I got it!

Now, I’m not a big fan of trendy documentaries or pop-psych, but that’s what it took for me to get it. I heard the right words at the right time.

Now, I embrace my crappy childhood and my big struggles. They do make me who I am and for that I’m grateful, but also, they have made me really good at what I do and able to really embrace the imperfect and not be so judgmental and accept people for who they are, where they are; all traits that are so important to the healing work that I do.

I also know and accept that pain is where the big healing and the big growth happens. I know, it sounds so trendy and woo-woo, but it’s also true. I have slowly, reluctantly learned to sit with the discomfort and learned not to act out.

I love my life. LOVE IT!  This week was a hard one, though.  It was hard cause my kid was sick and then my kid was hurt and I made mistakes that really affected my day to day life and made me feel worthless and hopeless and I got hit hard by the fuck-its. If you don’t know the fuck-its, you’re lucky.  It’s the place where nothing matters and the more you can self-sabotage and hurt yourself, the better you feel. Some people eat a tub of ice cream, some people spend their paycheck at the mall and some of us really like to go deep and big and do irreparable damage to our lives and ourselves.  Guess which one I am?

So, I got to a truly terrible place, which is a funny thing for me to admit, cause I like to hide it from everyone I know and I can be in the fuck-its, thinking my life is over, or that I’d like to end it, but then I’ll be making plans for three months from now.  I’m a complicated bird.  I actually have grown a bit and don’t hide it from my sweetie, but alternatelivly, I feel guilty for stressing someone else out.

Complicated.

The fuck-its passed, as they always do. That’s a set of skills I’ve only learned in the last six years or so. The world is not actually ending, even though it feels really, really bad, I now know that I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, do what I need to do and the fuck-its will pass.

Years ago I went to an awesome Sunday morning sermon by Rev, Paulette Pipe at Unity Church of Lawrence in Kansas. It was called If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going. Based on the Winston Churchill quote, it was examples from Paulette’s life about times she just wanted to sit in the mud and cry, but she kept going. And she reminded us that whatever you do, you do NOT want to stop in the middle of hell. It’s hot and uncomfortable and it is a place where there is no joy or grace. She illuminated the gifts on the other side of hell and how if she’d stop having faith, if she’d stopped believing that there was something better, she never would have done things like move to the US from the UK. That sermon was life-changing and she’s still someone that I like to listen to when I need a little reality check and I need to remember that the universe celebrates and supports me.

The link above is Paulette’s radio show on Unity radio. And the best part? She has this soothing English-accented voice that if you doubt that you are loved, open and grateful, she’ll remind you.

Danielle LaPorte says, “It’s not the pain that drives you insane, it’s the fear that the pain will go on and on.”

I believe that. Completely. I also get really exhausted that I’m BACK in the fuck-its. WHY do I have to go the fuck-its in the first place? That can make it last even longer for me.

So, this round of the fuck-its was long and hard, but it did pass. I’m on the other side and life seems exciting and fun again. I’m a little wary and a little worried about the next time, which will come, cause it always does, but today I’m on the other side and all is okay.

I know I’ve said it. I LOVE my life. I love holding space and healing people that are in pain. I’m good at what I do. You know why? Cause I get it. I get how hard and big and ugly it can be. I get it in my bones, deep in my soul and swirling around my head. So when I meet someone in the fuck-its, I know they’re not exaggerating, I know how much it hurts and how it seems way too hard. We all need that gentle hug, that reminder, that nudge towards the other side. Being so hurt, so damaged, so tired and so done has taught me how to just hold space and give that gentle nudge.

The other gift? When the darkness passes, the light is so bright. I know, that sounds woo-woo and hippy dippy, but it’s true.  Coming back into the light feels like I’ve had a big purge. I feel lighter and everything feels lighter. Also, beginner’s mind is right there, so easy to touch and feel and that always makes the work of beginner’s mind so simple and easy.

So until the next time the fuck-its find me, I’m feeling lucky, grateful and blessed to have felt the pain.