Susan Jacobs was so stressed out she was about to snap, crackle, and pop! What does it take to realize that being wound so tight is not the healthy norm?
Do you ever feel like you’re bouncing off the walls like popping popcorn? Or so jacked up on caffeine, sugar, digital stimulation, or lack of sleep that you don’t know how to slow down?
Even while you’re feeling like this, which is usually from stress, has it gotten to the point where you just accept it as normal? And what does it take to realize that being wound so tight is not the healthy norm?
For me, it took being hypnotized recently for the first time. Over the years, I’ve had all sorts of alternative and trippy healing sessions, but this was my first experience with hypnotism. By phone, my practitioner friend talked me into a very deep state of relaxation that left me conscious, but just barely. After she brought me back, my head felt five pounds lighter. She asked for feedback about some of the verbal direction she had given, but I remembered nothing—even reading her follow-up notes left me with a blank memory of the session.
This was the deepest state of relaxation I had been in for some time, which brought to light that I had been holding on tighter than a guitar string. Until you get relief, it is hard to know how off you have been.
It is ironic that I allowed this to happen as I am a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and practitioner on-and-off for fifteen years, have dozens of yoga DVDs and books filled with kriyas and Yogi Bhajan’s words of wisdom, and tons of self-help books (now seemingly called ‘personal development’)—basically, all of the tools needed to live and maintain a balanced yogic lifestyle.
I know what I need to do on daily basis to keep me healthy, happy and holy, yet often push those practices aside coming up with all sorts of great (in my ego mind) excuses as to why it is better to start back on another day. I have a PhD in excuses and procrastination. If I could figure out a way monetize that, I would be very rich!
My definition of a yogic lifestyle means conscious, clean, and healthy living; not inflicting harm on self or others; a daily practice, be it morning sadhana or some other time of day that works best for you; living present; listening to one’s own mind, body, spirit; following one’s heart and intuition; expressing daily gratitude; spreading light and love; and being of service.
Lately, my sensitivity to all things external has gotten amplified. I’ve become hypersensitive to the light, fan, music, and teachers voice in yoga classes. My balance in yoga postures is shaky due to mental distractions from my surroundings. The symphony of routine street noise outside my windows in Brooklyn are at a heightened level of messing with my head. All of this has taken me off center, and off my game.
With a long career in entertainment marketing, public relations, and event producing, being Superwoman came with the territory and fit perfectly with my personality. Professionally, I was able to do anything, regardless of scope and turnaround time, fearless to make things happen by any means necessary, and always delivered to clients’ great satisfaction.
That professional Superwoman complex spilled into my personal life, and I set ridiculous expectations for myself, most of which were unachievable. This led to repeated failures of not meeting the Herculean goals I set, and the subsequent downward spiral of self-doubt, insecurity, and retreating inward, but not in a good way. And all of this, I realized, was so silly once I was snapped back to a grounded, centered self from the hypnotism.
The amount of time and energy I expended and wasted on living in mental storyland was just too exhausting, unfulfilling, boring, and self-destructive. Not first-time revelatory news to me, just briefly forgotten. The beauty of the yogic lifestyle and way of being is that it’s always there waiting with open arms and no judgment. Each day is a new beginning, a new opportunity.
My yogic toolkit brought me back to reality, in full acceptance that I am a mere mortal, not having to prove any Superwoman feats. There is no need to push myself to the breaking point, or to think self-care and self-love is secondary. It took the deep, almost unconscious state of relaxation from hypnotism for me to remember that I even had a yogic toolkit.
Yoga, meditation, a good green smoothie, deep breathing, gratitude, and acceptance are all I need (and perhaps an occasional Jameson!). To seal the deal, my favorite drug of choice is salsa dancing on a weekly basis, which completely frees my spirit and ego, and brings me pure, unadulterated joy and happiness. And the morning after, my yoga mat is waiting for me to work out the kinks from dancing for hours, and gets me set for the new day.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That life is friggin hard but that pretty much all of us are wanting the same things, and that we’re mostly doing the best we can. I accept that there’s a backstory to everyone’s life, and passing judgment, being unkind, serves no-one. My life is great – I have no business complaining about anything, yet I struggle often with owning my gratitude. And gratitude is key! So that’s an ongoing work-in-progress, to not just say the words of gratitude for all the blessings in my life, but to own and believe it down to a cellular level.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
That I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and there will be fumbles, bumps, dips, victories, and everything else along the way, and it’s all ok.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Healing myself holistically of a hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease. Of reinventing myself once a decade. Goals and dreams are plentiful and the list is always growing! But talking about them sometimes can disperse the energy so I would rather say, ‘stay tuned!’
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Oh, let me count the ways! I go through phases of not sticking to commitments to myself or others. Just coming out of a period of that, which is so exhausting because the act of not doing creates much more stress than is actually involved when keeping your word. Love the last couple of weeks of the year — a time to make those lists and commitments to do better, be better, check and cross things off so as to feel strong, focused and driven for the new year!
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love that I’m a perpetual work-in-progress. I love that on most days able to laugh at how absurd and silly I can be within the confines of my own mind. I love that I don’t care what people think and often talk to myself out loud walking down the street and definitely when grocery shopping!!