Have you ever noticed how a baby who has learned to sit up sits up so straight? I can remember noticing even as a kid how straight some women sat. To me, it made them even more beautiful.
I wish good posture came naturally for me, but because of a prenatal stroke it’s much harder for me. The most commonly used definition of posture is “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting”. Participating in band, through high school and college, taught me to be disciplined with it. When in a concert ensemble and playing an instrument, you are expected to sit up straight and on the edge of the chair. This helps your breathing and playing. When marching, I had to work not only at standing up straight, but also with proper horn angle, while moving AND playing! Talk about discipline! Over time, I found myself doing these things naturally.
Many years after marching band, I found another cardio exercise I love – the elliptical! It’s much more suited for my body than running! I can remember noticing one time how balanced I’d become on it! I was standing up straight, not holding on, dancing away! My posture was great and my whole attitude had changed!
This reminds me of a tool I gained in The Journey Training. It’s called Ground and Center. When I carry myself in a grounded and centered posture, I feel tall, centered, and ready.
That brings me to another definition of posture: “a particular way of dealing with something: an approach or attitude”. This posture helps us react to life. Trials and tribulations happen. The better the posture, the better we approach or react to them, and the better outcome we will have.
Are you critical of yourself in pictures? One of the worst pictures I perceive of myself is a picture from college, at my heaviest weight, pretty much leaning against the guy behind me. As I began losing weight, not only did I start to appreciate my posture physically in pictures, my attitude had also changed. My confidence skyrocketed and it showed!
I was remembering this recently as I looked at myself in the mirror. I’ve dealt with plenty of shame regarding my weight and how I look. Carrying the shame burdened my posture. The Journey Training taught me to change my perspective. Rather than holding onto the shame, I let it go, I chose to look in the mirror, stand up straight, shoulders back, and see the real me. There, now you look better, Alison!
Posture equals attitude. Change your attitude and you’ll change your outcome!
I was in my bed with a book of prayers. I’d been reading and praying for a while when I realized that I was perfectly relaxed. My pillows were perfectly situated. Supporting my lower back was a cushy, squishy pillow with its ends curled just slightly around my sides. Above that, supporting my shoulders, neck, and head, was a firm throw pillow. It was perfect for reading and my prayers were so peaceful.
Why in the world am I telling you how I like my pillows? The support was critical for what I was doing. So, it is in life.
My life has changed a lot in the two years since I went through The Journey Training. I have found a new job, moved, made some incredible new friends, and made several changes to my health and fitness regimen. Through all of that, I have received a world of support. I am blessed by the world’s greatest family and friends! I can count on them to always lift me up.
Sometimes the support systems shift though. A particular person may not be there the way they were previously. I often find that God “highlights” one or two relationships in a given season, in which He enables an increased energy and focus to be put into that relationship. The support changes based on what I need, who I need, and who needs me. When I am well supported, I feel relaxed and at peace. I feel ready to tackle whatever is in front of me.
We are not meant to go through life alone. We all need support from time to time. Do you crave some quality support? Consider trying The Journey Training – you’ll be lifted up like never before!
For most of my life I can remember feeling like I had a black cloud following me around everywhere I would go. When I became an adult,and had some hard things happen in my life. I went from feeling like I had a black cloud following me to feeling like I was fighting to keep my head above water so I wouldn’t drown in a sea of emotions that were pulling me under like crashing waves. For most of my life, I had been taught to not allow my feelings to control me. I became an expert at putting on a good face to others by stuffing and denying how I truly felt. But inside I was fighting to catch my breath because I was drowning in a sea of anger, pain, shame, fear, and loneliness.
After my 20-year marriage came to an end, these feelings increased in their control over me and my life was filled with rage, depression, worthlessness, panic, and loneliness. Through The Journey Training I learned that this was the result of stuffing, denying, and not acknowledging what I was truly feeling. I had spent a lifetime thinking that this was how you “didn’t allow your emotions to control you”.
The truth was they were controlling me – in very negative ways. By not acknowledging the anger I felt at my husband for his part in our marriage ending, I would blow up in a fit of rage at my children over something as insignificant as a sock on the floor. I was overwhelmed by worthlessness because I had not even considered the amount of shame I felt for staying in a marriage for so long with someone who had made choices that deeply wounded me. Depression also ruled my life because of the pain I had endured during my childhood, with an alcoholic father who physically abused my mother and the emotional hurts my mother inflicted upon us as a result of her own pain. Finding myself a single mom of 4 children, I would now have many moments of panic. I was afraid of not being able to adequately provide for them (even though their father was an amazing financial support during this time) and also paranoid that I would never recover and have the opportunity to be loved and married again. Isolation has always been a part of my life as an introvert. It is very easy to hide away and not interact with others, especially when I was so insecure that I often felt alone in a room full of people. So, I would isolate all the more to avoid that feeling of loneliness.
At The Journey Training, I learned tools to help me process or acknowledge my feelings and I found gifts on the other side. I learned that by acknowledging what I am feeling anger about, I could find the motivation to do something about the situation instead of denying what I was feeling. For example, my adult son was not paying us for his phone and insurance as agreed upon and was not putting forth much effort to get a job. Instead of continually griping at him about it (as if that was doing any good), I found the motivation to set a boundary and inform him that he had until a set time to pay the two bills and if he did not, the data would be shut off on his phone and he would not be allowed to drive any car because he would be removed from the insurance policy. The result, he found a job within a week and our relationship was not damaged by my continuous nagging. It was a win – win!
When you touch a hot stove, it burns to let you know that something has happened to your body that needs your attention. Feelings are that same kind of alert – to let you know something has happened to your soul that needs your attention. If we ignored the physical pain we feel when we burn our hand, the pain would increase and some kind of nasty infection would probably develop. Consider what our souls must look like when we ignore the warning signs that our emotions are giving us!
If you would like to learn more about tools for processing and acknowledging your feelings, consider coming to the next class at The Journey Training. I am beyond thankful that I did 4 years ago! I no longer feel as if I am emotionally drowning nor do I have a black cloud following me! Do I ever have a bad day? Of course! But now I know what to do to identify the cause of whatever I am feeling and deal with it before it infects my soul.
Fear, shame, anger, and heartbreak…all emotions I felt in one week. By Friday, I was exhausted. By Saturday, I was aware of how much better I was for them.
The fear arose from a health scare of someone on the favorite person list. The shame came from negative perceptions of myself. The anger and heartbreak built up from letting things boil slowly over a month’s time until I was cooked…like a frog.
If you don’t know the metaphor of the boiling frog, it is said that if a frog jumps into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is in a pot of cold water, as the water heats up and begins to boil, it will not perceive that it is being cooked and will boil to death.
I didn’t stay in the pot…
I know that as some of my friends and family read this, they will worry about me, either that I had to endure those feelings or that they didn’t. Take heart in knowing this: I didn’t live there. I didn’t die.
Each of those feelings DROVE ME SOMEWHERE.
The fear of my friend’s health scare drove me to the reminder of what really matters. I could feel what the fear felt like and it reminded me of the bigger picture.
The shame drove me to lose the lies, reach in and reach out for wise counsel. It drove me to taking action.
The anger was enough to force my friend and I to deal with all the little issues I’d let slide. In the past, I boiled so fast that I literally exploded and when the fuse blew I created scenes that I felt horrible about. This time, I knew that I couldn’t deal with the issue in that moment. As soon as I identified the anger, I told the other person that I was too angry to deal with it right then, so we tabled the conversation until a calmer moment…and we are better for it. Our friendship is stronger for it.
The heartbreak drove me straight to worship. In my brokenness, God was there, ministering to me and loving me through it.
These feelings were not fun. The moments surrounding them were painful. The Journey Training taught me how to accept my feelings, take responsibility for them, and also how to RESPOND to them.
“We fix our eyes on what is seen, not what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
Have you ever needed to break the cycle? Haven’t we been here before? Is that the same house we saw? Yep, we just went in a big circle. Siri is confused, or confusing you. You can relate, right?
I’ve gone in circles as well, once in a canoe. I circled myself and a kayak right into a bush. There are of course, a few times you may want to be going in circles; races, bumper cars, and doing donuts on a jet ski.
We go in circles in life. Maybe it is the weight loss yo-yo game, same fight, different day; all problems, no solution. Conversation that leads to “we are right back where we started.” I often struggle with stories that I make up in my head. They play over and over and over until I’m feeling like a broken record. It’s a vicious cycle.
How do we break these cycles?
A circle, by definition, is a “continuous curved line, which is always the same distance away from a fixed central point”.
To break the circle requires a change in distance or direction. If you’re taking all lefts, try going right or straight. If you’re me in a kayak, get a tow! If you’re struggling with weight, money, or relationships, do something different!
I see cycles break in my students sometimes. They will have a rough morning, go to Specials, and come back a changed kid. The change in direction breaks the cycle of the morning.
When those stories are playing in my head round and round, I have found that if I change what I’m doing, whether it is my physical activity, who I’m talking to, or switch from stories to songs, that breaks the cycle.
Is your life in a vicious cycle? The Journey Training offers participants tools to change their perspective, a safe place to evaluate their life’s direction. Break that cycle by enrolling in the next Threshold class!
If you’re a Journey graduate needing to break the cycle, consider enrolling in Launch and you won’t just break the cycle, you’ll go into orbit!