I am thrilled to announce a new feature on follow my bliss called guest book. Every once in a while, I’ll ask a guest to generously share their story with us, in their own words.
I’m hoping we’ll collect a variety of accounts from people who can relate to the themes of this journey. It’s for learning.
Without further ado, I present this week’s guest book:
The lovely young woman second from the left is named Blue. Blue is our first guest book contributor! Here she is with her old improv team Vacation Island, the group that, she says, kept her laughing all year long last year. She told me that this photo makes her really happy. I love that.
I met Blue at The PIT, where we both do comedy stuff. She’s a very sweet, very talented lady. She’s also drop dead hilarious.
Blue reached out to me a few weeks ago, after happening upon follow my bliss, and told me that she was really inspired to read what I’ve been exploring, since she’s kind of on her own ‘bliss’ journey. We’ve had several really great chats over the last few weeks about our priorities and awarenesses. I was so glad when she agreed to write a guest post about her recent experiences.
Please welcome our guest, Blue.
Last fall I had an interesting problem. That problem was: I had no problem. My life was full of amazing friends, a regular improv gig with a troupe I loved (long live Vacation Island), a steady job I enjoyed, and I even had a cozy little apartment to call my own. But I was unhappy. It was an interesting feeling, because I have often had periods of unhappiness in the city, but I could usually attach that feeling to a boy/career/social problem. For the first time in a while, my life was pretty steady, and in that steadiness I felt incredibly uneasy. When things were so good, why did I feel so bad? (Cut to Carrie Bradshaw typing on her laptop.)
Thus began the search. My friend Anna, a student at Pacific College, introduced me to acupuncture and I began going weekly. Acupuncture is so interesting because it can assist in healing almost any ailment. Cramps? Check. Back pain? Check. Emotional pain? Check. It’s a much better pain reliever than Aleve or Ibuprofen (or Jameson on the rocks) in that it actually gets to the root of the problem. My acupuncture appointments were a place I could go to get some relief from that down-in-the-dumps feeling. Turns out, speaking with an acupuncturist was my first step towards self-awareness. At each appointment we’d start with her asking how I felt this past week physically, emotionally, and mentally. I hadn’t really thought about it before. I started to realize all the small things that I had just gotten used to feeling. In the words of my friend Anna, “It doesn’t have to be that way.” It was nice to be so proactive about my day-to-day living. What would I like to work on today? Oooh… maybe those headaches I keep getting. Or how about the tummy aches that hit me in the middle of my shift at work! Or, could we work on my overthinking? (Yes–Acupuncture can help us overanalyzers too! Looking at you, fellow Virgos.) While speaking about my past week, it finally dawned on me that my lifestyle played a big part in how I was feeling. I’m depressed? OH! Maybe because I drink so many depressants! My stomach hurts? Maybe that’s because pizza is my dinner three times a week. It was a seemingly obvious and yet empowering realization.
I began to make some lifestyle changes, like thoughtfully drinking, not just numbly having four beers at Mustang Sally’s because it was a Wednesday. I cut dairy out of my diet. I made sleep a priority. I began studying up on food and the best kind of food for my body. And, I started to feel… better. Just paying such close attention to my physical health began to affect my mental and emotional health as well.
The next step was scary. I had always wanted to take a yoga class but was so scared to be a beginner and to be in that horrid “bad-at-something” phase. But l’m no stranger to Fear, and have learned to just acknowledge the feeling and do what I truly want to do anyway. And, as usual, I was rewarded for moving forward and not being held back by that big scary monster Fear. I found that my whole week was improved by just going to one yoga class. Yet another useful tool to put in my happiness box. After taking another deep breath, I walked into a bikram yoga class with my friend Abigoliah. Here, I discovered the practice that really fit me. This yoga challenges me in just about every way I need to be challenged right now. I leave the class knowing I am stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some days are more difficult than others, and it’s definitely not fun, per se. But as one of the teachers said, we are so lucky to be able to practice yoga. And it’s so true. What an amazing gift and luxury it is to be able to take time out of the day to focus only on personal growth.
Then there’s my work with Dion Flynn. Dion is one of those people who radiates light. When I first met him, I could tell that he just gets something. I wanted to get something too! One of the activities he has you do is to create a big map using pictures that inspire you from magazines. He said that over time, different pictures may start to mean something more to you. Mine is filled with comedians, islands, music, travel… And there’s one picture of a girl in a bubble bath–her leg is in the air and she’s looking at her toes with a big smile on her face. I love this picture because it’s such a vision of self-care. This girl LOVES baths! They bring her joy! I bet she takes a bath every day. This picture has become the one to stand out so much more to me than the others–more than Amy Poehler or Bob Dylan or the guy surfing in the Greek Islands. I have realized that at this time in my life, self-care has become my number one priority. And I am finding that as I tune in to my inner needs first, everything else is falling into place.
The beauty of this is that it all started with a deep, confusing sadness. But if I had felt completely content I would not have discovered anything. The simple act of admitting to myself how I was feeling spurred change in huge ways. I’m now becoming more clear about who I am and what I want in my life. I took my happiness into my own hands instead of just waiting or hoping for it to happen to me.
The other day Mika, a manager at work, asked me, “Are you taller? Or is it just the happiness?” I hadn’t shared any of this with her! I was so excited that my inner work was beginning to shine through. I’m discovering that the secret to my personal happiness lies in the daily pursuit of it. As I continue to pursue happiness, I am finding my own bliss, and my joy for life is expanding.
Thank you, Blue, for your brave insights and for taking the time to share with all of us what you’ve been learning. It’s not always easy to put stuff like this out into the world. I love what she wrote – it has encouraged and motivated me to keep exploring different ways to care for myself.
Blue and I are trying to find time to take a yoga class together – I’ve never tried bikram yoga before and I really want to, and she might come to a restorative class with me at Om someday. I’m also now interested in giving acupuncture a whirl. Of course, I’ll make sure to chronicle it all for you guys.
Thanks again to Blue. You can catch her with her new improv group, Punch, performing at 9pm at The PIT on Wednesdays.