I Started Yoga School: My Longtime Yoga Teacher Training Goal Realized as a Spoonie 200 YTT Yoga & Ayurveda Center

A woman on a pink mat with a white background extending her body into the cobra yoga position - shoulders back, head tilted upward, feet pointing downward, hips and legs hovering above the mat.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Before I developed chronic pain, I had a host of mental health disorders. Two biggies were dissociation and anxiety. I would bump into people walking around in public, duck out of hallways to be met by a face too flustered to apologize (and not sure to apologize). Not to mention my health was poor in general. I lacked stamina and self-esteem (problems which came back later).

My university offered 200 level and 300 level kinesiology courses in yoga for a required fitness credit. I took three of these required 200 level courses because I loved it so much.

Gradually, through learning savasana and deep breathing through poses, I became more in tune with myself. I began to see the world around me and my place in it. It was easier to not bump into people in public and my posture improved — because I was now aware of how my physical body felt.

Outside of my kinesiology classes, I took yoga at the recreational center daily, and purchased a yoga mat (which has now been destroyed by cats, and I badly need a new one).

I fell out of yoga when I graduated college due to working the night shift, but journeyed back once I developed chronic pain. I found I still remembered many of the asanas and my yoga textbook from college. Surprisingly I was still limber — although the philosophy of yoga is so much more than that.

Right now 45 minutes a day of yoga is helping my pain flare, any more than that is damaging me. I am hoping I can pull out of this okay. Right now the Yoga Alliance is letting online students register with them upon completion of a Registered Yoga School’s program by December 30, and I intend to do just that.

I can throw myself really hard at things, and I’m trying not to do that. Pacing for me is very difficult. Currently I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita as an audiobook and copying my notes from the past two days.

Should you wish to become a registered yoga teacher, check out the Yoga Alliance’s Rating on the Yoga & Ayurveda Center, my school. I am taking the 200 level RYS and loving it so far!

My goal of becoming a yoga teacher is to help other chronically ill people with chronic pain like myself, and to also heal myself: body and mind.

The light in me recognizes and observes the light inside you,

Meara

Unlearning Internalized Ableism

Rainbow painting with broad strokes. Title: Unlearning Internalized Ableism. spoonielifestyle.com

While writing my book, Wedding Planning for Spoonies, I realized how ableist I was despite having a disability. Even the subtitle of the OG cover shows that.

I have had a debilitating mental health disorder for 17 years, and chronic pain for 1 followed by extreme GI issues for 4. Each night I would vomit. But the doctors all said that nothing was wrong.

Because I had experienced discrimination throughout my life, I assumed I wasn’t ableist. But I slowly recognized, especially in the past few months, how I had internalized that prejudice and let it define myself and others.

For example, the word “crazy.” I had always adopted this moniker to try to mask my severe mental health problems instead of addressing them. I very badly wanted to be a “normal” person. Later I realized that disabled people, mentally ill included, are normal. We are our own normal. Disabled people are human beings like everyone else.

Maybe I never stopped to question what a human being was. It isn’t someone who drives a car or has a career. I was so focused on achieving that I never stopped to think that all people get sad and angry sometimes. We all get hurt. Maybe we don’t all have identical experiences, but we all feel the same feelings. There isn’t a person on this planet who never felt anger or grief.

In this regard, perhaps I was lucky to end up disabled. I had to slow down and reevaluate myself and work hard on myself to change bad thought patterns that blinded me to fundamental truths. I’m not saying I don’t want things to change – I would love to be healthy again – but this season of growth was spurred by losing total control of my life.

Perhaps when we are forced to “let go and let God,” we find ourselves and others in the eye of the storm.

Persistence

Open book with overlay text: "Persistence it pays off spoonielifestyle.com"

You know those pain flares when you end up crying? Yeah, I just pulled through one of those. I think it was the Saharan dust storm. But I don’t want to just complain. It’s more of an explanation of why I’ve been gone for so long, in case anyone noticed.

I became a Super Contributor for The Mighty and had my resume forwarded to the CEO of Junebug Weddings. Both are paid positions, and I am extremely excited.

When I talked to The Mighty about being a Super Contributor, I explained I was elated but confused, as most of my articles hardly have any likes on them. They explained that it was more about my persistence and creativity that they wanted to make me a Super Contributor. I have somewhere around 12 articles written with them.

Persistence means a lot, friends. If you’re struggling, don’t give up, and maybe read a book. That’s where I’m at with my book writing – I’m reading other wedding books right now for inspiration, and it’s helping a ton.

If you read this I’m sending you love vibes from my part of the universe. Thanks for reading.

Why I Take Selfies

Today, I had to take steroids. For the third time this week I ended up walking around the house using my wedding cane. It was terrible but the steroids helped and I’m keeping my legs elevated.

Another thing about today and the other days of the week I’ve used a mobility aid, whether I’ve left the house or not, I’ve done a full hair and makeup getup, and worn a pretty dress. Yesterday I tried the Pinterest listerine pedicure, which exfoliated my feet but turned them blue, and painted my nails red. I’ll probably stick to Korean feet masks.

Every time I make myself pretty, I take a selfie because of all the extra effort that went into it, especially if it was on a bad day. I am proud of the work it took to doll myself up, whether it’s a pedicure, skincare, an outfit, my hair, my makeup, or a mix.

Going back to being a child, I have found strength in my femininity. Many people denounce selfies as vain, but after my illness, it’s simply me saying, “hey, I did it!”

I’m not looking for attention or accolades. Just the fact that I did it for myself and have something to look back on is enough to help me fight my battle against chronic illness.

Do I always do this? No. But it helps when I do.

Whatever helps you take a step forward, do it.

Wedding Planning For Spoonies: Now With Actual Spoons! 🥄

It’s time for book talk! I’m back to almost 20,000 words after getting the book down to 16,000. That’s quite a feat for a week. And now I have this adorable cover!

It probably is a bit cisgender – but I wanted the rainbow background for a reason. Please give me some #feedback for fun!

For those who don’t know, this is a wedding planning book for the chronically ill and disabled that covers LGBTQ+ as well as cisgender weddings.

I am bad at social media

When I was growing up, friends always told me I should be a marketer.

I’m trying my hand at it now, and I’m telling you, I am SO BAD at it.

I’ve been sharing some of my articles at various places (Facebook, LinkedIn) and they barely get any traction. It’s horrible. The only platform I have any connection on is Twitter.

Maybe I should take a marketing class? I’m already certified in SEO, but that isn’t working well for this website either.

It’s duncehat time!!!

Wedding Planning for Spoonies: Inspiration & tips for the chronically ill and disabled

My wedding planning book is going through a few iterations right now. I hope to still work with my editor after doing something really really stupid (in a pain flare I should never email people at night). The plan is to focus on mobility aid users and the chronically ill. It casts a wide net. There are many conditions specifically included, but a few from the categories can be chosen to apply to someone whose condition is not specifically listed.

I’m a bit nervous about the rewrite as it’s a blow to my ego, but I have to remember the point is to help people.

I do think this book could be a game changer if I work hard enough on it.

I’d also appreciate comments on whether or not excluding sight and hearing still makes the book marketable, and how much you like the new title.

If you’re interested in helping, email me at spoonielifestyle@gmail.com.

How to Survive a Night of Insomnia

Lately I’ve been getting up at 11pm, 1am, or most recently, 2am, and despite my best efforts, have been unable to fall back asleep. I’ve tried everything from meditation, medication, to alcohol, and I still can’t nod off. Unfortunately I tend to do stupid and impulsive things at night, especially just before dawn. I’ve compiled a list of things for my fellow insomniacs to do while they’re up in the early morning.

1. Read a happy book.

Don’t read anything scary. Not a thriller. Not a mystery novel. A book. A happy book.

2. Try one night cap a week.

I take a shot of whisky when I get really, really desperate. Just one. If you struggle with alcohol I’m sorry I wrote this part and please don’t do this. It doesn’t put me to sleep but it calms my nerves and I actually don’t do stupid things due to my anxiety and rumination.

3. Write something.

I work on my book, The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, blog posts, and my 27 memoirs, as well as my running diary.

4. Listen to binaural beats.

These have never in my life put me to sleep but they help with pain and anxiety.

5. Hop on Twitter and make friends.

Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I can spend hours on there discovering new things.

6. Daydream on Pinterest, but only a little.

Pinterest can be triggering for me, so I tend to stay off of it. But sometimes it can be fun.

7. Virtually volunteer.

I virtually volunteer at a few places and get my work done overnight, because I’m going to feel horrible during the day anyway.

8. Play with the doggy.

This is the best part about early mornings. I have an elderly dog, and she’s only active in the mornings and evenings. She sits in my lap, dances around, and acts cute. Unfortunately the affection ends after I feed her at 6am. Gee, I wonder why!

I hope this helps some of you. Insomnia can be a real bear. I haven’t figured out the cure for it yet. We’re all in this together!

Keep Fishin’

Usually, no matter how bad my pain flare is, I wake up at 5am at the latest, do Tai Chi, have a blog post out by 9:30 edited a few times with a graphic, have eaten breakfast and downed 3 cups of coffee by 10am.

Presently I’ve been in a stress-induced pain flare. The pain has been worse than when I’ve first been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, when I would scream at night, sob while I read the bible, all because of the physical pain I was in. It was a nightmarish experience. Once I started the meds and began to get better, I thought that would never happen again.

The past 3 weeks I’ve had horrible insomnia, which has been a plague for me on and off for about two years. Last night I slept 12 hours.

Normally, this would not be a problem. But I’ve been applying for virtual volunteer positions, and I had an interview at 10am, and woke up at 10:55am.

Well, I may have missed an opportunity to make the world a better place, but my body feels much better and I may actually be able to do Tai Chi today.

What I mean to say is, for anyone else going through this, don’t give up, or as my favorite band Weezer would say, Keep Fishin’:

You’ll never be
A better kind
If you don’t leave
The world behind

Waste my days (Waste my days)
It drowns aways (Drown aways)
It’s just the thought of you
In love with someone else
It breaks my heart, to see you hangin’ from your shelf

You’ll never do
about:blankThe things you want
If you don’t move
And get a job

Waste my days (Waste my days)
It drowns aways (Drown aways)
It’s just the thought of you
In love with someone else
It breaks my heart, to see you hangin’ from your shelf

Oh girl when I’m in love with you (Do wah)
Keep fishin’ if you feel it’s true (Do wah)
There’s nothing much that we can do
To save you from yourself

Waste my days (Waste my days)
It drowns aways (Drowns aways)
It’s just the thought of you
In love with someone else
It breaks my heart to see you hangin’ from your shelf

Oh girl when I’m in love with you (Do wah)
Keep fishin’ if you feel it’s true (Do wah)
There’s nothing much that we can do
To save you from yourself

You’ll never be
A better kind
You’ll never be
A better kind

Waste my days (Ohhh)

Keep fishin’ y’all.

(Yes I know these are super lazy posts but I’m trying to still crank something positive out every day. Wait, that wasn’t a positive statement. It’s okay. I’m doing the best I can, me.)

It’s OK

I wasn’t sure what to write about today.

I woke up at 2:00AM in extreme pain, but that’s okay. It went away eventually and I fell back asleep.

As I erroneously look forward in my life, ever playing the fortune teller, I see black clouds hanging ahead. But I know that this is false thinking, and not what is actually true. Life can be hard sometimes, but it’s our perspectives that make seeing visible. If you purposefully put a towel over your eyes, you cannot see anything in your world. The world is dark and precarious. However, you are responsible for this. You can realize you have something covering your face and take it off, or you can see it in your hands and not put it on.

I juggle with the face-cover, sometimes blinding myself and sometimes enlightening myself within the cycle of minutes throughout the day. And that’s okay.

I’m human. So are you. We all are.