Open to Surprises

5 years ago

Get out, get out, get out even more, Lindsay (they personalize, I love that)! Because there are people you've yet to meet, laughs you've yet to share, stories you've yet to live, and riches you've yet to tap into, that will not find you under any other circumstances. Besides, how else can I shower you with surprises? (www.tut.com)

I love how this email lands right with my experience of this past weekend. One of the tools in my wellness toolkit (doesn't everybody have a wellness toolkit? ok, maybe not, which is one of the reasons I blog) I use in my life is something called ACT, which stands for Acceptance Commitment Therapy. It's a modality created by Stephen Hayes, the essence of which is to "quit fighting against your pain so you can focus on getting through it". Rather than try to shift, avoid, transform, ignore or deny any kind of painful feeling, the point is to really surrender to it with compassion and gentleness. From there, it's possible to look at what you are committed to from a values standpoint and act accordingly.

Here's an example. Yesterday afternoon I felt some discomfort along the lines of fatigue, avoidance and a desire to just do nothing but curl up on my bed. Despite loving the Super Bowl and wanting to join in the NY spirit, all I really thought and felt was how much I did NOT feel like being in a bar to watch the GIANTS take on the Pats and Madonna take on a set of bleachers in stilettos (I did not know that at the time, obvi, just illustrating) all the way in Park Slope, which in my mind at the time felt like a journey from the north to southern tip of a large state, rather than a few stops on the subway and 8 minute walk. I also had a stomach ache.

Basically, I could tell things in my head and body were a little exaggerated. Maybe even a lot. SO, with this new ACT tool, the goal at the time was not to try and change anything I was thinking or feeling. It was just to be mindful of them. I did't even tell myself my brain might be exaggerating things a bit. I actually put my head down and took a nap. But the goal was just to take a nap and be present, not change anything. Then I thought about my commitment to my values, which are to be with friends on fun occasions (like the Giants in the SUper Bowl and Madonna performing the halftime show), I thought about my value of living in reciprocity with people I care about (not always expecting Brooklynites to come to Manhattan being a nice example of that in my world), and also the desire to go out, meet new people and just have more fun in my life.

By the time I showered, got on the 2/3, put my script in my bag to learn lines instead of doing nothing on the train except staring at the ads, popped a Tums for my stomach, and arrived at Union Hall in Brooklyn less than 10 minutes into the first quarter, I felt much better. I wasn't over the moon but I was grateful, content and felt in alignment. I literally "ACTed my way into right thinking" and whatever voice was discouraging me from venturing out into the world for a little fun had completely fallen away. Pretty cool.

GO GIANTS!!!!!! GO MADONNA!!!

The other part of this little quote is about surprises. On Saturday night I went to one of my oldest, dearest friends' surprise birthday party which her doting husband organized. I met some new people, saw some old familiar faces, and actually felt a lot of pleasure talking to women my age who seem happily married with kids. I was reminded how beautiful and precious it is to be in a loving, healthy relationship.

I recently taught a class (intenSati Single and Sensational 1, I think the second installment will be in April) about feeling empowered while single. I realize how personal the journey is, how wrong it is to ever judge myself or others, the way we all have different needs and desires, etc, etc, but what matters most is knowing what you really want and standing for it with unshakable self respect, even in the moments when nothing would be as comfortable as going back to the old flame. For a while I simply could not do that, I could not stand alone, but once I hit a bottom however many months ago, I never went back. I am finally free. I do still feel sad sometimes, empty sometimes, a bit bored, frustrated, and whatever else. I do still have the occasional flashes of jealousy and envy when seeing other couples and missing the person I cared about deeply, BUT but but, all those feelings pass. This zone is the best place to be for really discovering who I am, what I'm made of and what I really want. I am at peace with feeling those feelings and the truth is they are getting lighter, fewer and farther between. I know that now only because I made the leap.

Life is FULL of surprises every single day. New people, faces, places and opportunities will enter your world at any moment and change the course of your existence, break your rut, shift your thinking, radically alter your career, your love life, health, and potentially so much more. Here's to following the Universe's lead and being recipients of life's many gifts........

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