Discover more from Curiosity Spot
Meeting Myself Where I am
Finding balance and grounding at 6am
This morning I dragged myself out of bed at 6am and pulled on my leggings and top (inside out) and managed to make it to my sunrise yoga class. Pre-covid this was somewhere I could be found a few times a week (sometimes more, sometimes less) and it was literally the place where I found my balance. My dyspraxic body had always seemed a bit of a mystery to me, I could see the way other people seemed to control theirs, but mine just didn’t to obey in the same way. Throw in my poor interoceptive and proprioceptive awareness and I had very little interest in my body by the time I reached adulthood, in fact I felt mostly disconnected from it.
I’d had a few attempts at ‘getting fit’ mostly related to a desire to lose weight, but these were short lived. However, sometime in my thirties, while I was training to be a therapist, my relationship with my body was one of the shifts that came. As part of beginning to care more for myself I started to notice that my body was also part of me and could be recruited as an ally. It didn’t need to be this disconnected physical manifestation that I was stuck with, I could invest time and energy in connecting with it and this might even have benefits. A couple of things happened at the same time, I decided to have a go at running (thankyou Couch to 5K) and I discovered a local yoga studio.
Couch to 5K showed me that my body was capable of things that I didn’t believe it could ever do and by building slowly week on week I saw results quickly. But yoga was where I found balance, it is where I learnt to connect to my body and listen to what it was trying to tell me. It was more than just a physical practice; it was an exercise in compassion and letting go of my ego. I used to go to sunrise classes because of the difference it made to my day. When I was working in a role where I supported lots of people in crisis, days that had started with yoga were the ones where I stayed grounded (even if I was calling emergency services). I learnt to stay balanced in tree pose, but also in the flux of life and work.
When I hit my last big burnout, yoga was one of the tings that I put down, getting up early to make a class (or even leaving the house more than I had to) just didn’t feel possible and I became more dysregulated and destabilised. Then came covid and lockdowns and while I tried to continue my practice from home, I always struggled without the container of the studio. Finally, I developed long covid and I couldn’t continue my practice anymore. My body ceased being an ally and became another battle ground as I slowly lost so many things that had helped me to stay balanced.
It took me a long time to figure out how to start listening to my body again, to trust that I understood the new cues that it was sharing with me. I did a lot of grieving for my physical health while I was processing my autistic identity and grieving the loss of how different things could have been if I’d known that part of myself when I was younger. These different griefs became entangled in brain, I couldn’t really tell you what was about the long covid and what was autism. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the fatigue turned up all my sensitivities and increased my base level of overwhelm, or that (as so many of us feel) I seemed to become ‘more autistic’ as I began the process of unmasking.
I did lots of practical things, I started my private practice and eventually began working from home full time to manage my fatigue. I stopped expecting anything of my body, letting yoga, running and long walks go. I learnt how to rest and the level of stimulation my brain needed to allow my body to recharge. In the letting go of so many expectations and ‘shoulds’
I made space for the things that were most important to me. Unsurprisingly they weren’t a pristine home and ability to run long distances, but connection with the people I love and space for creativity (whether that was in my work, my writing or lego).
Over time the grief began to soften and I was able to start gently connecting with my body again. While my desire was to push, I learnt to wait and focus on creating space. Earlier this year I was fortunate to be able to work with my yoga teacher (who had trained in yoga therapy) and I was finally able to meet myself where I was. For the first few month we simply breathed. Once again yoga was the place where I learnt to embrace compassion and to let go of ego. Slowly we began to add in some restorative postures, building up to some simple movements, but always beginning and ending with the breath. Once again I recognised the feeling of balance and grounding that had been missing for so long.
I don’t know what will happen with my health and my energy, I never know if I will experience a relapse or if I have reached my plateau. But I continue to meet myself where I am, even as that changes. (A theme that often appears in my work as a therapist and supervisor.)
For today, I am able to enjoy the fact that I was able to get up and spend an hour in the yoga studio. That, for today, I have felt connected to my body and been able to find grounding and balance amongst my client work, is something worth acknowledging and celebrating.
I’d love to hear how you find your balance and connect with your body.