Graceful Warrior: This Rollercoaster We Call Life

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“Sometimes you’re ahead; sometimes you’re behind But the race is long; and in the end, it’s only with yourself” ~ Baz Luhrman, Everybody’s Free
Life is constantly in a state of flow. Everything in this world vibrates, meaning it gives off waves of energy, and all energy vibrates at a different frequency, meaning the waves are closer or further apart. So really, everything in life is a rollercoaster…, not the new fancy ones that speed you up going uphill using magnets and have lots of loops, but the old wooden ones that just go up & down, like the Judge Roy Scream at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas (for all my fellow Texans out there).

We are all on different points or heights on our rollercoaster ride, sometimes we’re sky high and to thrilled to see that next drop coming; sometimes we are at the bottom of the hill and can’t even see the peak. Recently, I’ve gained viewpoints from several friends all in different places currently, all dealing with hard things that happen as we go through life. I am so very inspired by their words, seeing how they really got/are getting in touch their thoughts, feelings and actions.

You can look at hard times with a “why me” attitude, and believe me, we all have and still do at times. Or you can face the pain and fear that comes with difficult situations, such as disease or the breakdown of relationships, head on, asking “what am I meant to learn from this?” and “how can this make my life better?”

Facing and even analyzing the hard times is not the easy road, which is why so many avoid it like the plague (also why over 10% of the population or 27 million people are on antidepressants). Below are a few ways I face hard times:

Keep breathing (deep): when our breathing is constricted, our bodies go into fight or flight mode, guaranteeing that we react to a situation instead of respond from a place of compassion.

  • Journal: write about whatever you are feeling, thinking, fearing, angry about, sad about, etc. A good friend of mine told me that after writing about hard times in her journal, she takes it and puts it in another room. In doing so, she gets some distance from it and is able to let go (for the moment).
  • Share: talk to someone or several people that you trust. You should feel better, or at least heard and supported after talking with someone. That means that whoever you talk to should not judge you or try to help you come up with a solution. Sharing is about opening up and beginning to let go of the pain and fear, and should be heard with compassion and love.
  • Get help: when the above things are still not helping me sort out and let go of pain, anger, fear and frustration, I turn to a professional. Seeking counsel, whether it be from a therapist, a clergy member or your wise aunt, brings in a point of view that is not your own, and is not attached to any desired outcome. It provides an environment where anything can be said, felt and worked through.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t compare yourself or your life with others, heading down the shoulda, woulda, coulda road. It’s never a good place and you really have no idea what all is going on in someone else’s life. It may look amazing (right now) from the outside, but no one has a perfect life. If they tell you they do, they are lying to you or themselves or they are blind. Each of us are exactly where we are meant to be on our rollercoaster ride, so stop looking at the other carts or tracks and just enjoy your ride, after all, at least you’re on the ride.

About Gina Shelton

We live in a dualistic world, or really a multi-istic one. As a woman, you are expected to be smart, caring, creative, and dedicated at your job, with your significant other and your family, plus you are supposed to make time for yourself in order to stay healthy and sane. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start thinking of all the aspects of your life that you are constantly juggling.

For me, this is where yoga comes in. In the West, we mostly view yoga as a physical practice and that is definitely how I got into it. But what I’ve realized in my 10+ years of practicing yoga, is that it has become more than just something I do to stay in shape, it has changed the way I view myself and the world and consequently how I interact with others.

Over the years, yoga has helped me meal my crumbling marriage, my low back and hip pain deemed chronic by my insurance company, and is now supporting me through my next ventures: trying to start a business and a family.

My love of yoga (I knew it was for me in my very first class), led me to begin training to teach after a year. I took my time learning all I could and finally became a YOGA ALLIANCE registered teacher in 2005. Since then, I have become a certified yoga therapist through Loyola Marymount University’s Yoga Therapy program and will soon have my Yoga Alliance 500-hour teacher certification.

This blog will cover topics related to yoga poses and breath awareness that will help you to find the graceful warrior hidden inside you: Strength to manage the everyday stresses in your life as you gracefully create new habits and patterns that allow you to find comfort, health and hope in all areas of your life.

Gina Shelton is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher and Loyola Marymount University certified yoga therapist. She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and weimeraner puppy Fleur. You can read more about creating a healthy lifestyle on her blog