Last February as part of my healing journey, I reached out to a couple of local martial arts studios. Two years into active engagement in my shadow work had brought me to a new level of personal understanding. But I was still struggling to let go of the grip the trauma had on my body.
The Dialectic: I was aware I needed a physical outlet to work through this residual trauma energy AND as a person who has struggled with weight and body image issues my entire life, the gym has never been a place that is comfortable/safe to me. (Though believe me I’ve belonged to quite a few in my never ending quest to gain control over my body!).
I chose a location about a mile from my house based on the vibes I got in response to my email. Years of tuning in & I will say – my wisemind is good at picking up the energy of people who fit in my tribe! So last February I walked into GMA and met Jimmy for my first session.
For the first two months I worked with him, and it was exactly what I needed. A physically draining session where I was expected to show up and do my best. It was hard. And I dreaded going. But I went to every session because that was what I agreed to.
At the beginning of the summer, Jimmy switched things up & I began training with his wife. (I’m pretty sure he was tired of my lack of athleticism😆) Yet again, it was the universe giving me exactly what i needed, when I needed it.
My first session with Hope coincided with the anniversary of my business venture closing the year before and the termination of my relationship with my mentor/business partner (a little cherry on top of that loss sundae).
In my initial email, I had requested to work with a male. It took me until now to realize I had spent that entire year completely closed off to all women in my life. The painful split had been a final straw at the time – the last mentor I’d ever allow to stab me in the back. The easiest way to protect myself – not to trust & not to be vulnerable.
Letting this amazing human being human being in to my life was exactly what my spirit needed. She gave me a safe place to show up and work through my stuff and know that I wouldn’t be judged. It’s what I know works because it’s the same environment I create with my clients And it’s exactly what I needed!
She waited a whole year to pull out the “Kickboxing is Cheaper than Therapy” shirt…
We both got a good laugh. Though my suggestions for a better shirt would be:
Kickboxing is Cheaper & Better for you than Antidepressants!
So how exactly does 1 hobby illustrate the practice of 6 DBT skills?
Build Mastery – Build mastery is the obvious go to for any physical training experience. As adults we have often “mastered” the tasks of our lives and have few actives where we actively work to gain or improve our skillset. As children we are constantly absorbing new information and working to become better. Engaging in the processes of learning and development not only help keep our brain young (neuroplasticity), but can also increase self esteem.
Opposite Action (Anxiety) The action urge typically associated with anxiety is avoidance. The first emotion I experience when walking in any place occupied mainly by “fit people” is anxiety & the easiest way to ease that anxiety is to avoid that environment. Unfortunately that doesn’t get you any closer to your life worth living!! One of the simplest steps to beating anxiety is just to “do the thing” over and over again. I showed up the first time, and then I just kept going even on the days when my thoughts tried to get in the way.
Reducing Vulnerability PLEASE (Exercise) Multiple meta-analysis have concluded that moderate exercise (30-45 min / 4+ days per week) is as effective as antidepressants in reducing the symptoms of depression. Every time we choose to engage in activities that move our bodies, we are taking care of our mental health needs as well.
Values Driven Life Healing is really important to me. I was aware I had stalled in my own work and that I needed a physical way of processing trauma energy. Kickboxing was one of multiple options I had looked into. In the end I chose it because I saw that it was a single behavior that could the largest breadth of positive impact in my life. (Other options had been reiki, acupuncture, massage & ketamine).
Modeling As a mental health coach & consultant, it’s important to me that I not only “talk the talk” but I also “walk the “walk.” I strive to live a life that is healthy, balanced, and wellness focused. Prioritizing physical well-being was especially important last year. I’d be a hypocrite if I sat on these phone sessions and told all my clients to figure out how to take care of their bodies while ignoring my own.
Connection This was a *bonus* benefit I wasn’t really expecting to gain. Which is silly because there are so many similarities between a trainer and mental health coach. We both become actively invested in your life & we want to see you do your best. True connection (when we can be authentic and vulnerable) is the antidote to shame. 2017-2019 had left me bathing in my own shame. This relationship was an important step on the path to me crawling out of the cave of shame I had made home.
That is how it is when we are living a life of alignment!!!! The behaviors we choose and how we invest our time benefits us on multiple levels & across different domains of life. I was looking for a certain outcome when I began this. But I’ve gained so much more than I initially thought because I put myself out there and I stuck with it.
I want to wrap up by encouraging you to do the same. Show up even when it’s scary. Put yourself out there and try things you think would be good for you. And notice how the universe rewards you.
Shameless plug – for y’all who are local to Houston – I highly recommend check out one of the classes at GMA or schedule a session with my girl Hope!
How are you actively engaged in your healing journey? I’d love to hear about it! Share your stories of mastery, connection, opposite action & PLEASE skills in the comments below.
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