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Six months into the Two Words Project, and here’s where I’m at…

The last few weeks have been stressful. Soooo busy at work with my boss away and in this job (where I LOVE the people and the place), I’ve been given more responsibilities than I initially signed on for. Which is exciting, but it does mean learning new skills. Stuff I don’t have down pat. Stuff that means I’m not 100% brilliant at my job right now, while I undergo this new learning curve.

I can’t tell you how much I hate not being 100% brilliant at my job.

So it’s been busy and crazy and with my boss away, a bit of a strain. Because I’m one of those people who looks around and if I see something that needs doing and when there’s no one to do that task, I’ll try to fill the gap.

None of this is good for my health, as you might imagine. Stress is debilitating for folks with autoimmune conditions. It causes physical pain, and a resurgence of symptoms. For example, my memory gets even fuzzier than normal, and my throat tightens up. I get a bit mopey and exhausted.

What I’m beginning to realise however, is that these new circumstances in my job are shining a light on old patterns that’ve been around for a really long time.

As sucky as facing up to old patterns can be, I keep telling myself: this is all a part of the healing process.

My life is currently more balanced than ever. So I figure I now have the capacity to face up to other issues, whereas in the past there wasn’t space to deal with anything other than healing my body and mind. But now I’ve done enough work to stabilise my life, there’s room to look at other issues that are holding me back. So here they come!

Luckily, I had a kinesiology session booked for this weekend. Perfect timing as always, to help me clarify some of this stuff.

Here’s what I’m looking at right now:

I tend to put my own needs at the very bottom of the pile, underneath everyone else’s

This is an oldie but a goodie, and very common for women. It’s a people pleasing thing that goes hand in hand with my (previously out of control) poor-self esteem. I’ve mostly healed my self-esteem issues now, but this whole thing of not speaking up for what I need is still kicking around. And kicking my ass.

The reality is, I can’t afford to let this pattern remain active anymore. My health can’t take it, so like everything else that’s bringing my health down, it has to go.

Building appropriate boundaries for myself that allow me to take care of my own needs while interacting with others

So, there needs to be a balance between being of service to other people and doing the same thing for myself. I now have very specific health needs and if I don’t take care of them appropriately, I fall over in a heap.

And if I can’t take care of myself, then I can’t help anyone else, either. One of my lovely yoga teachers likes to say: teach from a place of abundance, never from a place of lack.

I’m actually pretty good at taking care of myself now, until other people come into the picture (see previous point!).

Until recently, I would always dropped whatever it is I was doing for myself in order to fulfil the needs of others. This can be seen as being over-helpful, and also it just isn’t balanced.

Plus, this isn’t what I teach as a yoga practitioner and teacher. So once again, I find myself drawing on the wisdom of yoga to bring into my life.

If you don’t have appropriate boundaries and awareness when doing yoga, you can hurt yourself. If you try too hard, you can hurt yourself. The teachings of the middle way are what I’m reminding myself of here:

Put in effort, but NOT too much effort. Work at a moderate pace. Don’t strain or force. Enjoy.

Men: this is pretty much my Achilles heel

In all the work I’ve done to recover from PTSD, this issue is one I’ve dodged since the beginning.

For many years after I was assaulted, I had no interest in men at all. NONE. I was completely shut down in that respect. Then I started feeling less shut down. But there were (and are) some big fat issues in the way: betrayal; physical/emotional intimacy; trusting myself; trusting men; feeling powerless; being unable to open up…

Those are the general themes. I think I’m now in a stable enough space to consider the idea of dating men, BUT, there’s still lots of fear swirling around.

See, I’ve been out of the dating game for so long that I feel like an awkward teenager. Around men I’m attracted to, my carefully re-established self-esteem goes up in smoke.

The irrational fear-voice in my mind says things like: I’m too old for men to be attracted to me; he’s gorgeous so why would he be interested in me; is he flirting with me? I can’t even tell; what if he DOES like me – I’d have to be vulnerable (and that’s insane); it’s probably safest to assume he isn’t into me… and so on.

Of course, this has come up because there’s a guy that I’m RIDICULOUSLY attracted to at the moment. Well, on a physical level anyway. It’s both uncontrollable and undeniable (believe me, I’ve tried to quell it!).

However, I really don’t think we’re compatible in other ways, and I suspect that this is my old pattern of being attracted to men who are wrong for me. Which is all about choosing men I can’t ever really be close to, as a way to keep myself safe (ha!). This is the very same pattern by the way, that once upon a time allowed me to invite a sociopath into my home… (not that I think the guy I’m now attracted to is a sociopath!)

Unfortunately, knowing such things hasn’t stopped this rampant attraction from growing like wildfire. I’m pretty sure it’s only one-way, too. He is someone I have to interact with on a regular basis (at work), and he’s very demanding in his dealings with me. So also: hello, boundary issues!

That’s right – my current work situation is a triple threat of my old patterns coming up to bite me. Hard.

But out of my kinesiology session, it became clear that perhaps this has come up to help me close out the these lessons: being able to have my needs met; setting appropriate boundaries; not being attracted to inappropriate men.

Which helps me put the whole thing in a new light.

This guy that I’m wildly attracted to? He isn’t here to tempt me, but to teach me.

And that’s a lesson I’m willing to accept. 😉

~Svasti

P.S. Don’t forget my Yoga Nidra give-away! It’s open until Friday 15th June – spread the word!

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