When I used to catch myself wildly spinning on the inside, I would act as if I was my own defibrillator to disrupt the crazy. I’d get my attention by stating my name loudly and firmly: Sally. And then, when I’d get myself to stop for a second, I’d say assertively: slowthefuckdown.
A visual would be like a teaching video on assertiveness training. Make eye contact, step toward the other, point in the direction of the other with all five fingers, and then make a firm and direct statement. Yep. I got my own attention and shook myself out of the spin cycle by using the essence of a cheesy assertiveness training video. And that’s why I named this blog and my adult content: STuFfeD. Do you see the play on words? Slow.The.Fuck.Down. Consumed. Too much. Stuffed.
My method to shift my state was to care enough about myself to use the skills, tools, and strategies I was learning about through a variety of available content in books, videos, blogs, and live stream online trainings. The more I did it, the more empowered I felt and the big feelings eventually no longer ran my show. I always intended to teach long before I knew the content I would teach…or better said: long before I understood the content. And that’s where Self-Care 101 came from.
The tagline, ordinary day…extraordinary way, is a little tricky to transfer as to how it came to be. The reason it’s tricky is because it spawned from what I consider to be the most impactful, illuminating, transforming social and emotional program I know of: Challenge Day. When I taught Behavioral Health at Hemet high school in Hemet, California, I had a video tape called Teen Files: Surviving High School. The video content originally aired in September 2000.
I loved this video. The culmination of the teenager experience shared throughout the show was the teens hosting the Challenge Day program at their school. I cried every time I showed the video to a class – as did a majority of students. I taught Behavioral Health for 3 years at HHS. On average I taught 5 classes a day. The course was a semester long. I watched the video at least 30 times over the three years I was at the high school.
Fast forward 15 years. I was no longer working full time at one high school. I was embarking on an idea that I could be a ‘patchwork’ school social worker and somehow only teach and facilitate social and emotional learning – so I was working at like three different schools in two different school districts. Neither school district was in Denver. I lived and still live in Denver. Somehow I connected with a person who had been an assistant principal in a Denver Public School and was now working as the director of a nonprofit to raise funding to provide DPS schools access to the Challenge Day program.
I attended two live Challenge Days at a middle school and a high school in DPS. Life changing, soul filling experiences. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I was invited to attend an adult workshop facilitated by the creators of the Challenge Day program. Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St John were celebrities to me. Not only did I attend the day workshop once, I attended two years in a row.
Here is where it gets tricky. I love Challenge Day. In no way would I ever minimize its power or its effectiveness.
I had a thought during the second adult workshop. This program was almost twenty years old. And it was the same. Challenge Day. I thought about the results I wanted for my life. I just wanted Day. What if it didn’t have to be constantly at the intensity of ‘cross the line’? If we were getting new results and growth outcomes, would the intensity lesson? Is our desired and preferred outcome Day?
Whoa. I did not intend to write this much for a blog post. My intention this morning was to share a reflection on two of my favorite ‘day’ endeavors in real time: Orange Theory Fitness and Kindness Yoga. Two ends on a spectrum of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being to some extent. Often those who enjoy hard core fitness may say, ‘yoga is not my thing – too slow and no impact’, or those who enjoy a yoga lifestyle: ‘OTF is not my thing – too high impact and fast moving.’ Obviously I am generalizing.
At OTF the tagline is ‘more life’ with a focus on improving VO2 max to increase life expectancy. At Kindness, the focus is present moment awareness – getting to know the sensations of experience ‘on the mat’ and learning to be with what is. I enjoy both. To say I ‘enjoy’ both is actually an understatement.
It’s not about an either-or. It’s the both-and. I heard that saying first years ago during graduate school in a Marriage and Family Therapy course offered through the Denver Family Institute. I use the saying often to gain perspective – it doesn’t have to be an either/or…it can be both/and. Kind of a Taoist vibe if you’re into that.
I stand between the ‘high energy, getafterit’ and the ‘slow down, be present’ energy. And when I stand there and be the observer of the two, I get to choose. I choose both. I choose to live from an empowered state where I am the choice maker. I am not one or the other of anything. I am all of it.
STuFfeD: self-care 101.
ordinary day…extraordinary way