Control and recovering from type-A personality

27 05 2010

My inspiration for this post came today during my yoga class. We were in the middle of some more intense movement poses and my instructor kept using the the word “control” in reference to our ability to maintain difficult poses. I found myself getting SO stuck on that word…what place did control have in my yoga practice!? Shouldn’t I be more relaxed and zen!?!

Wow, Em, take a step back and relax. As I’ve been on my road of recovery from living as a type-A person, I have gathered a list of taboos. The world control is probably the top of that list! It just reminds me of the neurotic (yes, psych term) need to have your hand on over little detail, nothing spared! Its how I felt about my eating and exercise last year, it’s how I used to feel about making plans with friends, it’s most certainly how I believed I would maintain the insanely fast-paced life style that I lived in my last two college years. Funny how one little word can bring up so much emotion and energy.

Thankfully I also came to a new understanding of the word during the class. I began to realize that my instructor was not talking about some neurotic need to control, but rather a discipline to hold on and persevere despite the discomfort of the movements. It is about being able to remain focused on the moment and the position while hundreds of muscles, big and small, are screaming “enough”! Suddenly control was not such a bad thing after all.

I knew that going to this yoga class today was a must; I am leaving for my trip on Saturday and this was my last for sure time to get in a yoga class before leaving. The class was my chance at carving out some time and space in a busy, scheduled day to connect my mind and body and honor the present moment. The class fulfilled that expectation and much more.

I feel that I am in such a better place than I was a few days ago regarding this trip. The bundle of nerves that I was on Tuesday was in no way helpful or positive. I am letting go and practicing my non-type-A lifestyle 🙂

I hope to post again tomorrow and maybe even get a post or two in from my trip. I am extremely excited because I recently purchased a new Panasonic Lumix point and shoot digital camera and am also taking along Eric’s Nikon D60 for some days when I am feeling a bit more creative and also to get some delicious shots of the food we will be making! I have really wanted this blog to include pictures but I have not had a good camera accessible lately. That will be changing soon and I am planning to make this blog a lot more visually interesting and personalized.

That is all for now, hope everyone has a good night!


Learning about myself and a strange dream

25 05 2010

So today has been a bit of a rocky start for me. I could just NOT get out of bed this morning. I think the combination of allergies and a really long day yesterday just kept me rolling over and ignorning the clock. I finally got up around 9 (late for this early riser) and hopped in the shower. I was intending to go to the beach today with my  good friends but my stomach had different plans for me. I guess my stomach really tells me when I’m stressed and today it was screaming loudly. I get frustrated with it because I know thats why I feel the way I do and yet I have not found a way to stop it. I usually just ignore it but some days I really just can’t. I know that it has a lot to do with the stress I am having about my impending trip to California (I should be excited, right!?) Well I am SO excited for the trip, I’ve been planning for a few months and talking about it for a couple years. Its not the trip itself that I am worried about but just the flying. I know that I am a nervous flier and that thought has been in the back of my head for about a month now. I  know that seems a bit crazy/obsessive but for anyone who has travel anxieties you will know what I mean. I just find it funny that its so cyclical: I worry about not feeling well on the flight which makes me not feel well which makes me worry about how I will feel when the flight comes on Saturday. I honestly want to just let it ALL GO and just enjoy every bit of this vacation and that is my true goal. I have been in need of a true get-away for a while now and I don’t want to be the reason it does not turn out as wonderful as I have planned.

The trip will go something like this: early flight out of Logan on Saturday morning with my mother and aunt. We will have a comfortable flight, landing in San Fran 9 or so their time.  We will have a short layover and board a smaller plane and fly to Fresno airport. My aunt will be awaiting our arrival and we will head back to her home (a short 10 minute drive!) to begin our week of fun. Memorial day cookout on Sunday, trip to wineries at some point in the week, shopping, relaxing, sunning, and tons of healthy cooking and recipe experimenting!  One of my favorite thing about spending time with my mom and aunts is that we all love to cook fresh, healthy food. They love finding new recipes to try and we love buying fresh, local produce when we are in CA. This is one of the few opportunities I get to be with my aunt in CA and really spend time and bond with her. She has lived on the west coast for most of her life and all of mine so our time together has always been limited. I really look forward to seeing her and am so excited about this trip. All that being said, my trip will be wonderful and low-stress 🙂

On to that dream that I had. This is so wierd and I remembered it just as I was about to write this post. So in this dream there was my stressed self and then this other side of myself. I was supposed to be meeting my parents at some sporting event for my boyfriend’s brothers but I has having trouble getting there. The stressed me just felt like there were too many things that I needed to do before I could leave the house and get there. When I finally did get there, the other side of myself was already there, sitting with my parents and my boyfriend, enjoying herself and the game. I remember just sitting there watching her thinking how happy she was and how beautiful she looked…and she didn’t even know it.

This is definitely not me speaking vainly, I’ve struggled with my perception of myself for most of my life and have always had a hard time seeing myself as beautiful and attractive as I am. This dream struck me though because it was like being able to sit back and see myself for who I am and really accept and appreciate that. It moved me to think that I am becoming able to realize that (even on a subconscious dream level) because it’s something I have been working on for a while now. Even though I am frustrated with myself today for feeling this way and not going to the beach I am wanting to do, I think that being kind to myself, rather than angry, will serve me much better. As I have said, I am on a journey, and even though today felt like a setback I am making tremendous steps forward whether I realize it or not. I know that I will not be able to kick some of my anxious “habits” in a few days, but I am working hard at it and becoming much stronger every day.

Enjoy the day everyone, whatever it is bringing for you 🙂

The journey has begun…

5 04 2010


Let me introduce myself. My name is Emily and I’m from the north shore of Massachusetts. I am an aspiring therapist and wellness enthusiast. I am in my first year of graduate school in a Counseling Psychology program and with semi-concentration in Holistic Counseling. While pursing my Master’s degree, I have also begun pursing a better sense of balance in my life. The previous four years of my life were spent as a undergrad in Boston, balancing a multitude of things including class, friends, working as Resident Assistant, interning, family, relationships, etc, etc, etc. These years took me on a roller coaster of my physical and mental wellness as well as discovering myself and my place in this world.

As you can guess from the title of this post, I am far from complete with this journey but I am aiming at enjoying every bit of the ride from here on in. The last two and a half years of my life I have learned how to work out and get my body in shape. It was difficult because I had always been an athlete and being on team sports had kept me fit and active. The first 2 1/2 years of undergrad I was lost and didn’t have an understanding how to work out or eat well. December of my junior year something finally clicked. It actually occurred after my first spinning class, the day after Christmas, with my mom. I looked in the mirror and was disappointed with what I saw, the “freshman 15” had gotten to me, and then some. But what was more motivational, was the post-workout high that I felt. Spinning made me feel alive, I had reconnected with my body and reminded of how strong is could be.

This feeling convinced me to sign up for a bi-weekly spin class at gym back at school. The class was invigorating and gave the me the push I needed to begin exercising regularly. There was also an announcement on campus about a yoga class, happening 2 mornings a week. I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy and decided to give it a go. So there it was, spinning and yoga twice a week, the fitness had begun! I was feeling good and soon noticing a little difference in the fit of my clothes (read: looser, roomier!) just in time for my spring break/course trip to Rome! I credit this trip for a great deal of the growth during this year in my life. Just signing up for the course and getting on the plane were huge steps for me in terms of my fears and anxiety. I’m a nervous flier and an even more nervous traveler; a part of myself that I find frustrating but also not defining characteristics. The trip did not come without its moments of nervousness, but it expanded my comfort zone and my idea of what I am capable of. The trip was a religious course on Religious Traditions of Rome, connecting me with the roots of the Roman Catholic faith that I have been raised in. Fit-wise, despite the daily sorbetto stops (did I mention that I am lactose-intolerant, yup, dairy free!) and pasta, I came home having lost a few more pounds. Walking countless miles around Rome made me appreciate being outdoors and my body’s ability to get me place I need to go!

The summer following this year of school I signed up for the gym and made spinning  classes my new best friend. I probably hit the gym 5 times a week and finally got past the need to have a buddy to make my workout happen. I was my own motivator and I loved it. By the end of the summer I starting to get in shape and finally seeing the light at the end of my freshman 15 tunnel. I had begun to see real changes, and not just on the scale but in other aspects of my life, too. My confidence level went WAYYY up! I had been someone of a shy person up until this point. Although I am extremely social with those that I know and am familiar with, I didn’t always put myself out there with new people before this point in my life. Something had changed though, and people were beginning to notice. I met my current boyfriend, Eric, this summer (although I had “known” him from work for almost a year), and I believe this confidence had some role in that.

As the fall approached and I faced my return to college life for one more year (school cafeteria, late night eating/drinking, separation from Eric) I found myself in a panic. How would I continue eating healthy and working out in that environment? I turned to my mom, admitting my fears and nervousness. She calmed my fears, explaining that the hard work I put in was proof that I could keep it up no matter what. I trusted her judgement and hoped I would continue to see results at school. To give myself a little help and assurance battling the college cafe, I enrolled in Weight Watchers online; a way to track and keep up with what I was eating.

As I said before, the year was a roller coaster. Being overly scheduled an perpetually busy I found myself obsessing with getting in my exercise and eating well. I found myself going to bed between 12-1:30 and up at 6:15 to hit the gym before class. I was obsessing about what I ate and scared to death of gaining weight. Not surprisingly, it got to be at an unhealthy point. I developed a bad relationship with the scale and an even worse one with food. I was  at the lowest weight I’d been at since before I can remember. Although I was “in shape” running 4 miles of intervals a day and lifting weights, I was by no means physically or mentally healthy.

After graduating and moving home I slowly gained back my sense of self. I stopped running incesantly and started to enjoy life a little more. I rediscovered my love of bike riding outdoors, without the crazy spin instructor and resistance knob. I let go of my crazy eating habits and regained a love of good, healthy goods; no measuring or calorie counting necessary.

At this point now I am trying to, like I said, find a balance. I still have my days where I worry about how I look or what I eat but I am not nearly where I was a year ago. I have gained about ten pounds since last year and I tell myself every day that I love my body no matter what.

My goal now is to do the thing I enjoy that keep me both healthy and happy. That means things like taking a long bike ride today, beginning a regular yoga practice, and taking walks on nice day with good friends or family. I am also trying to eat things that are more natural and less processed. I focus on having fruits and vegetables as the mainstay of each meal, as well as whole grains. I am finally easing up enough to allow fat back into my diet, I am in love with almond butter, avacado, and salmon 🙂 I am also trying to find that blissful connect between mind and body, this means reading and learning more about mindfulness, reiki, yoga, and meditation. I truly believe that most of the health problems we face are preventable through a wellness oriented lifestyle. I believe that this journey to my own wellness will be endlessly helpful when I begin working as a therapist some day (soon!).

Until then I am on this journey, and loving every moment including all of the bumps in the road. Life is meant to be lived and I plan on doing just that!