Many of us have life experiences or incidents that create an emotional or psychological shift in how we see ourselves and the world around us. From 2008-2009 the shift for me involved my reproductive health and the loss of five people within eight months. My 2008 diagnosis and surgery for stage four endometriosis was life changing and the diagnosis of possible infertility subconsciously impacted me in ways I am just now fully understanding. The change in seasons brought about 2009, the year from hell, when I lost my best friend to an asthma attack, two cousins to homicide, an uncle to suicide, my godfather to cancer and then my boyfriend at the time ended the relationship saying “he didn’t sign up for all this drama.” A shift in my perspective on life occurred and it has taken me a decade to realize the impact on my interactions with those around me and my physical health.
For almost a decade I have struggled with high blood pressure, chest pains that were diagnosed as anxiety attacks and unhealthy relationships that are clearly an indicator of attachment issues. I used to be super chill and easy breezy like Sunday morning type, but have evolved into an overly anxious worrywart. The sight of an unknown number from 502 or 510 zip codes gives me immediate anxiety; and seven times out of ten it’s just someone calling for a Pinterest recipe.
Two things happened that made me consider the need for an emotional and psychological shift in the other direction. The first incident was my breakup last year that spiraled me into an eight-month deep depression. With my history of loss, I don’t do well with being cut off. My ex’s conflict-avoidant behavior felt like death was hitting the knocker at my door and was trying to make another appearance. The second incident was my mom’s recent cancer diagnosis, which has inevitably made me do some reevaluating. It’s become imperative that I have to the strengthen my emotional capacity to support her without unhealthy reactionary responses that are fear based.
My surgery in 2008 changed me as a woman and the loss of all the men in my life in 2009 changed me as a human being. The two aforementioned incidents have become a wake-up call for me to take control of my life and mental health. Change and death are inevitable. I have to embrace change, learn to let go of unhealthy attachments, be selective about the company I keep, and develop self-compassion and mindfulness to help ease my anxieties.
Yoga and meditation are some of the tools I am leaning on to assist with this shift. It is through prayer and meditation that I plan to reconstruct the stories that do the cha-cha-cha in my head. I recently enrolled in the Cognitive Based Compassion Training course, which has been somewhat helpful in reinforcing the importance of mindfulness, self-compassion and compassion to others. The journal by Habit Nest has been a good resource for me to keep track of the days and times I meditate. The only thing missing was a space to meditate, but I fixed that! The picture in the top right-hand corner is the meditation and yoga area I created in my room. Surabhi, thank you so much for the idea; I absolutely LOVE my space.
It is through mindfulness that I will begin to pause before I react. As 2019 approaches, I have a peep into the next decade and it isn’t going to be any easier, but my response to life, change, rejection and loss will be different and more fluid. Watch and see! Namaste…
1st photo taken by: Sreekanth Veerapandian (taken in Seattle)
2nd photo taken by: Kenya (my yoga/meditation area)