Ducking and diving!

I don't feel that I am alone in feeling that lockdown has impacted my mental health and wellness. As a CBT therapist and yoga teacher some might argue that I have a lot in my toolbox that would help with the challenges of social distance, restricted movement and limited access to amenities, but sometimes we lose our wisdom, our resources, our action in the midst of 'survival' during a crisis. That is the same for therapists, helpers, healers and supporters... just because we know it at a 'evolved brain' level, doesn't mean we can apply it at a 'primal brain' level.

Don't forget in the dark what we know to be true in the light.

I love this quote... I share it with counselling students, clients, yoga classes... whoever will listen really!

It is so important when struggling to allow yourself the space needed to find a way out. The inner critic can stomp all over you with shoulds and musts. You should know what you are doing! You should be 'over this'. You should be showing the world how to cope! You should be using all these tools?

No... take your shoulds and shove them. Underneath all my professional development and training, I am a clunky, flawed, imperfect beautiful mess of a person. And... whatever I am, I am trying to figure it out, trying to be still, trying to get through it, trying to ensure, trying to survive.

When in my classes I talk to students about swans and ducks. They think I am odd and that is okay. When talking about self acceptance... I was a duck - the clunky messy scabby feathered wee duck, flapping around, floundering, thrashing about trying to figure it all out. But when around other people, peers, bosses, students... I thought I had to be the swan, perfect, elegant, refined, polished - the finished product - not a feather out of place. The stress, exhaustion, hard work this is - can't be described and the absolute crappiest bit of this was - that even if someone did try to accept me, like or love me... I knew it was built on sand because they were accepting my 'swan' production... not the real 'duck' of me. No-one got to see that... that was too much duck in a swan fest!

As I get older and through some serious therapy, study and struggle... I take my 'duck' self into spaces where I am uncomfortable, exposed and fragile. I am not a swan, I am a duck... and I'm figuring out that all the swans are really ducks too... all struggling, all trying to pretend they are more swan in so many ways. The relief in being a duck and saying 'you know what I'm not doing that swan thing anymore' is liberated me in so many ways. My students look at me a bit funny sometimes but I know they get it... and it gives them permission to be ducks too.


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