Repressed Happiness

It's been a good week.  Busy.  Exhausting.  And good.  I continued to learn this week that I repress my happiness.  I bottle up all the laughter, joy, and smiles and keep them way down inside and only let out the sadness, anger, and frustration.  Weird, right?

On Wednesday, we did an exercise in my Oscillation class where we learned to massage the belly.  Working through any possible blockages in the large intestine.  Blockages don't necessarily mean physical "stuff"... but tend to be the physical manifestations of a lot of our troubles.  We store a lot of emotion in our guts and having them massaged tends to bring it to surface.  There is one part of the massage where the masseuse gathers up all the tissue and goo that we have built up to protect our soft vulnerable little cores... and the client is asked to feel their true belly... the flat, inner, bare self.  The true uncovered, unprotected beautiful self.  Many people tend to cry at this point.

I volunteered to be the demo girl for this massage.  I laid on the table, bared my tummy, and prepared for the worst.  I was ready to start crying my eyes out - assuming I had some deep dark demons waiting to erupt.  I was wrong.  When it was my turn to feel my true tummy... I became elated.  Elation is really the only way I could describe it.  It was like a bright, warm, fuzzy, comfortable feeling... like that was where the happy Dania has been located all this time.  And it brought me right to a picture that I keep of myself from summer 2007.  I had just finished the Disney half marathon... I was healthy, I looked amazing, and I felt amazing.  I couldn't pry the smile off my face for the rest of the day.

I know I said I wouldn't linger on the past - and only look to the future.  That Disney picture is my motivation for the future.  I don't want to get back there.  I want to feel that way again.  Empowered, and for the few minutes after crossing the finish line - invincible.

After class, I addictively checked my e-mail on my iPhone... and discovered I had been selected to run in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October.  What are the odds?  I ran this race in 2007.  I did the full marathon, loved the first half.  Hated the second half.  Entered the lottery in 2008 and I think again in 2009.  No success.  On a whim, I threw my name in the hat for this year's lottery.  Someone out there felt this was MY year to get back in the game.  Needless to say - I have a goal this year.  I will PR my fastest half and it will be at this race in October.  I have vague training plan lingering in a notebook somewhere... this weekend, I will dig it out and firm it up and get my tushie moving.

 Happy Dania is bursting at the seams and ready to run... the journey continues.


"Who told you its not okay to laugh?"

This is my friend Greg and I at Christmas one year.  I don't remember why I was laughing so hard in this picture, but the fact that you can see the back of my throat must mean it was really funny.  Laughter is such a wonderful outlet for healing and I need to remind myself that it is okay to laugh.  To laugh more.  To laugh harder.  And to laugh often.

When I set out on this journey, I don't think I was necessarily prepared to address what was going on deep down on the inside... I figured I could just tweak a few things and get right back into a groove... one that I know I've been in before and am convinced I will find again.  What I've discovered recently - is that there is a lot more going on than I wanted to acknowledge... a series of feelings, events, emotions that I am allowing to hold me back.

I was told by a wise woman last week "Be kind to yourself."  This was after almost an hour of tears welling up and bursting out over my "loss" of running, marathoning, mentoring, and involvement and interactions with like minded fitness individuals.  Sometimes you don't realize how important some things are until they are gone.  I had attached what I thought was a superficial sentiment to my running regimen.  I have since learned that there was something deeper... there was some other connection, bond, outlet - whatever it was... with me, with running, with other runners.  And when I moved away from all of that - I had it likened to me as though I had lost a very close family member.  This realization, the thought of it still strikes me, still takes my breath away.  Those words, "Be kind to yourself", hang heavy in my mind every morning... every night, every time I go to put food in my mouth.  And with every negative comment I make about myself... even in jest.

When I signed up to go back to school for massage therapy - I viewed it as "something to do."  I felt it would open up new doors, introduce me to new people... and simply be another option in this extremely uncertain time of finances and employment in our household.  Little did I know, I was about to enter into some of the most incredible therapy sessions I have ever experienced.  On a surface level, I've met some beautiful people - beautiful on the inside, each with their own struggles.  Their own stories.  Their own life's path.  I've relieved the pain in my lower back that has prohibited certain workouts at CrossFit.  I've learned little tips and tricks that have helped alleviate other nagging bodily issues... to be expected from massage therapy school, right?  What I wasn't prepared for was the emotional releases.  The identification that there is more inside of our bodies than just blood, tissue, cells, and bones.  We are pack rats of emotional baggage... encounters, experiences, comments whether from others or ourselves - we unconsciously hoard it and manifest our reactions to all of it in physical form.

In class yesterday, my partner was providing the massage... actually, she was merely supporting my upper spine in her hand - there was no movement taking place.  For some reason, I was struck with a case of the giggles.  At first, I felt it was ridiculous that I was laughing and tried my hardest to stifle the choking chuckles that kept bubbling up out of my mouth.  The harder I tried to hide my laughter, the harder I would laugh.  My partner, Heather, was a good sport - she refused to stop the session... she knew, better than I, that there was some type of healing going on.  After a few good minutes of deep down belly laughs, some wheezing, some giggles and a lot of putting my hand over my mouth... our teacher, Gary, asked me "Who told you its not okay to laugh?"  I couldn't answer.  I'm still thinking about this one.  We learned after the session was complete that during massage, laughter is a release... right behind laughter there is often tears.

As I was gathering my things and preparing to leave for the day, Gary looked at me and said "Spend some time being good to yourself."  He was right: soon after laughter comes tears.  Twice in one week.  Twice in one week I was told to be nice to myself.  Do I wreak of self-destruction?  In one word - yes.  I've reached a new level of consciousness this week... through these experiences.  I'm destroying my efforts with food.  I'm punishing myself for something.  What that is, I don't know yet.  On the surface, I can PR my lifts at CrossFit... I can improve my pull-up attempts, but it will all be for naught if I don't truly take care of the inside first.  Beyond the nutrition, beyond the diet.  I need to focus on my unconscious mind - the storage shed of all my baggage that just doesn't need to be in there anymore.

My goal for this coming week is to truly be kind to myself.  No negative self talk.  No more fat jokes about myself.  Humorous?  Sometimes.  Self-destructive?  Absolutely.  No more punishing my body with bad food choices.  No more negativity from within.  I will laugh more.  I will eat less.  I will learn to love the body that God gave me and treat it like the beautiful gift that it is.  It isn't mine to destroy.  This body is on temporary loan, it is the only one I get and its time to piece together the entire mind-body connection in the most loving, healthy way I can.

Now if you'll excuse me - I have some laughter I need to tend to.