The day I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time I was a few months shy of my 40th birthday, suffering from depression, a lot of knee and joint pain, unknown post traumatic stress, and alcohol dependency.

Was I scared? Yes. I was scared shitless!

I didn’t know if I was going to hurt myself or help myself. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry. I didn’t know if others were going to laugh at me or cry for me.

Nearly three years later, I am no longer depressed, I’ve been sober for 2 years, I laugh WITH myself, and I cry because sometimes it’s what I need. I’m no longer ashamed of my past mistakes or the abuse inflicted upon me. I’m no longer afraid to fail OR to succeed. The nightmares have stopped, and room was made to start my life over again from scratch–for me and for my family who never doubted me.

I realize now that the first step toward my current freedom was completely in my hands. The power to transform, grow, and heal was within me. Stepping onto that yoga mat back in October 2011 began my awakening.

But my awakening wasn’t instant. Nothing transformational is ever instant. We must work hard for it. With each practice, I learned to be more patient and more gentle with myself and to remain hopeful.

Despite occasional set backs and struggles, I stuck it out. I kept going back to the mat. I kept learning something new about myself and my abilities, both mental and physical.

I’m glad I stuck it out. I surely wouldn’t be in a place to write today if I had given up many yesterday’s ago.

If you’ve started on your transformational journey through yoga or some other practice that fits your needs, I want you to stick it out, too. Even when you don’t think there are changes happening, stick it out!! You rarely have the capacity to realize or appreciate the changes and transformations in the exact moments they occur. Life informs you days, weeks, or months later. So be patient. Stick it out.

And if you haven’t started, start today by telling yourself that you’re worth it and you deserve joy, peace, and a chance at an awakening and new beginning.

Namaste!
~Paula

Category:
abuse, Addiction, Alcohol, Bikram Yoga, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Fitness, Friends, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Yoga
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Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Paula, thank you for this. I knew I had some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress after my divorce. Once the EXTREME/SEVERE Parental Alienation began 3 years later, my symptoms returned. And another three years after that nightmare of a custody battle, the symptoms are still here. Whenever I have to talk about my ex, my abuser, the abuser of my precious child and family the court does not protect us from, I experience the following: anxiety, confusion, helplessness, hopelessness, & a lack of trust in general. I have been afraid I would cry in yoga class, but now that I’m jogging, it helps the release of pain. I will get into a yoga class. My health is being affected, & there’s no point in letting the sociopath take that, too. My unhappiness benefits no one — not even the sociopath.

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    • Oh…I’m so happy you’ve made this decision. Exercises like jogging provide release and temporary feelings of euphoria as a result of the adrenaline rush through cardiovascular exercise. With yoga, the effects linger long after the practice ends and your brain and body and aches and pains begin to heal themselves from the inside. I recommend finding a restorative or yin yoga class. Ease into it. We release toxins through our tissues with yoga, so the slower and more gentle we are with releasing them, the better. XOXO

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    • Great info — I know Thich Nhan Hanh says bad feelings have to be released from the body through Thai Chi etc. I think Peter Levine also wrote about this. Thank you for your encouragement oxoxo :0)

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    • Oh, yes!! My son has asked about learning tai chi. Very meditative and energizing from what I have read. 🙂

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  2. I love the line “Life informs you days, weeks, or months later.” I am going to post this in our kitchen. We may not always know in the moment, but if we stick it out, we do become informed. Thank you!

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  3. Just what I needed to read today. Thank you!

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  4. Very inspirational post, Paula. I got a double dose with Carrie’s re-posting, which served to remind me of why I needed to read it.

    Indeed, it is true that we seem to look younger post-N. I wonder why….LOL.

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  5. Dearest Paula ~

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful piece. Your incredible ability to connect with so many of us through your words, and experiences consistently speak to my being. I’m so grateful to you; grateful for all you’ve done; grateful for your blog.

    First of all, your selfie pics of you are your son are A-dorable! Oh my goodness, he is a cutie, Paula!

    You know my struggle. You’ve read them, you’ve heard them resonate from my voice…from my soul. I didn’t know how to pick up the pieces from the devastation I felt with my 2-1/2 year relationship with the NS in my life. I struggled with my womanhood, with my self-worth, with my being. Afterall, to experience betrayal by a man whom you loved…only to be told you’re no longer worth what you “thought” you were to him (everything that he told me he yearned for — even yearning desire he had for me after 33 years) and dumped with no explanation for an 18 year old girl was like an alien had pierced my chest with an invisible instrument with intent to crush the very core of my being. It’s difficult typing this as I sit at the office today. BUT, I AM A WARRIOR. I AM WORTH THE STRUGGLE….I AM WORTH IT!

    Yoga, prayer, meditation, depression, sobbing, sleepless nights, ice cream, appointments with my therapist, medication to ease the edge — only to repeat again — day after day….yoga, prayer, meditation, depression, sobbing uncontrollably and so much so that my stomach would ache, sleepless nights, MORE ice cream, appointments with my therapist, medication to ease the edge — repeat, repeat, repeat.

    I shared with you how proud I was so proud that I’d had no contact to the extreme of ultimately having contact. You only absorb truth with experience. That is the ONLY time it will “sink in;” at least for me that was the case. I read your post of No Contact, read responses from other aching souls advising “not contact, because it will only bring more pain.” I can unequovically say beyond the shadow of a doubt that making contact, whether initiated by you or the NS, only brings about more pain.

    The scab had been compromised — the hurt and pain and uncontrollable sobbing is now reopened, yet my desire….my burning desire to NOT let this entire experience close my heart met me head on — if you close your heart, you will not grow — if you remain open, inspite of the pain, true and rewarding light will greet you with loving arms….growth will embrace you….growth will patiently and loving embrace you.

    MY YOGA PRACTICE is my true and rewarding light. Staying persistent with my practice throughout all of this madness has been and is my guiding beacon. Yoking — oh my goodness…yoking. Staying persistent with my practice, brought about more prayer, more meditation, my loving-kindness for myself, a renewing of my “self-worth,” a renewing of my “self-love” — LOVING ME, AGAIN. Staying with my practice centered me, guided me, calmed me, awakened me…it even took the “me-ness” of of ME. Compassion began to grab me more and more…tugging, awakening the light at the core of my being that has been so dim for so long, it seemed.

    Do I still think of Mark? Absolutely, I do. Who knows how long it will take for that “thought” to subside. In the midst of what was once incredible anger remains only remenants as they appear. I deal with them as best I can “at the moment,” acknowledge them….let them go. Do I still cry? Absolutely. I cry for Mark because he is “suffering.” NS are NS because of “suffering.” Even after making contact, Mark did not show or have apathy for me; yest inspite of me experiencing it once again, I pray for him; sometimes daily…sometimes not.

    I know that I would not have come this far without my yoga practice. It’s one day at a time….but it’s how we should love and honor each day we are given by the Divine anyway. I’m healing. I feel it in my soul. I feel it in my heart. THIS TIME….I’m healing. I no longer see my therapist; I have my therapist with me in the trunk of my car — my mat. It goes where I go and I let it lead me daily. God promised he would never leave me or forsake me and I truly believe it. My mat tells me that as long as I show up, it too, will never leave me or forsake me. Sleepless nights are still there but not consistent. Sleepless nights will fade….medications to take off the edge will diminish and so will the pain.

    In four weeks, it will be the anniversary of the beginning of one of the darkest moments and experience in my life. In four weeks, my light will shine and shine brightly on that dreadful day. No more dread — in four weeks, I will celebrate my beautiful heart and the incredible journey it experienced. A journey I needed in order for me to grow….even at 59 years of age.

    And…I still have a little ice cream from time to time. 🙂

    Much Love and Gratitude to You, Paula ~ Namaste

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    • Nyla, You are amazing. Truly amazing. I also send loving kindness to the one who caused me grief and torment, because I know and understand he is the one who is truly suffering. His suffering is and was the source of my own. I wish for them both to end their suffering so the suffering of others who contact them will also end. Peace and love to you, Nyla! I eat ice cream tonight with you. XOXO

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  6. OMG I love the picture of you and your son (I assume). So adorable! 🙂

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  7. I love the pictures of your son and you! You are so beautiful, from your soul out, It is amazing how a person gets younger looking the longer they are free of the narcissist/sociopath.

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    • Thank you, Carrie! I feel free and younger!! Today was Armando’s last day of 3rd grade. he doesn’t know how to take a normal photo. Hehe! XOXO

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  8. Reblogged this on Ladywithatruck's Blog and commented:
    as always Paula is right on with this post. When you first start out on your healing journey you struggle with no contact, you feel the pain will never go away but if you stick it out you are rewarded 10 fold. You achieve a level of self awareness a person could never attain with out having to put yourself back together. Paula did it through yoga, others meditation, what ever means you use to heal; as long as it is through self reflection it is well worth the effort, you are worth it.

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