Saturday, October 5, 2013

Transitioning From Vulnerability To Strength

It’s been a long, long week.  By Friday evening, I was physically and mentally drained beyond the point of being suitable for public interaction. Saturday morning I was in a funk. Feeling tired, beat up and vulnerable, I aimed to take care of myself. 

I started with my stomach by batch cooking meat pucks for the upcoming week while listening to music and running loads of laundry.  My stomach was sated, an obligation was completed, and I had more energy.  Still my head wasn’t satisfied.  I took our recyclables to the transfer station and stopped for a latte.  At home I cleaned the bins and basked in the sun for 20 minutes.  I would have thought it would make me feel better, but I was getting more agitated and needed an attitude adjustment.  I gathered my gear and went for a hike. 

I chose a difficult hike in an effort to push myself physically.  I was cautious to take frequent breaks and not go too fast.  Still, five minutes into the hike I was breathing hard and mentally pitying myself.  A friend of mine has said the limit on self pity is five or ten minutes a day.  Then let it go and get on with it.   Unfortunately I wasn’t letting it go.  I kept climbing the mountain.  Hike eight minutes, rest two minutes.  Repeat.  20 Minutes in I started feeling a bit better. I alternated nine minutes hiking and one minute resting for the duration of the ascent.  Reaching the top at 59 minutes I was slower than my best time but not even close to my worst time.   My body felt a huge sense of accomplishment but my head hadn’t caught up. 

I thought back to a Ted Talk I watched this summer.  In “Your body language shapes who you are,” Amy Cuddy teaches us that changing our posture for two minutes can change how we see ourselves.  It’s a powerful presentation, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to feel more confident.  Watch her talk to understand why it works, but I’ll give the spoiler alert here.  Just standing in a Wonder Woman stance with hands on hips for two minutes in private can change our body chemistry and lead to others perceiving us as more powerful. 

A discussion with girlfriends who have also seen the talk revealed that we feel stronger when we do warrior yoga poses. Alone at the summit, I took to doing some yoga poses.  For me, Dancer pose combines strength, balance and beauty. 

Dancer pose was the final step I needed!  I descended the mountain in a fabulous mood, feeling stronger and emotionally balanced.   I’m ready for the world again!