Pod-Blast 3: A Solution Problem

Apparently I am an American after all.

When asked, at the beginning of this episode, “Are there problems that shouldn’t be solved?” I had a visceral reaction to the idea of leaving something unfixed.

But that emotional reaction is actually the meat of what this episode of the incredible Invisibilia show is about.

The Problem With The Solution – INVISIBILIA Season 2 Episode 2

The American “We Can Fix It!” attitude has given rise to our empire’s greatest accomplishments–and some of our worst flaws.

We’ve created an infrastructure for easy transport of goods over long distances, which made the US a world power. It also made it easier for us to unscrupulously take too much from the environment, on our own land and on others’. It made productivity seem only held back by human need for rest.

(Which we solved by creating graveyard shifts, and overtime. Not necessarily for the better.)

This episode starts with a jarring idea: that maybe people are not meant to be fixed.

Can this be true?

Listen here. And let me know what you end up thinking–because by the end of it *I* had a completely different idea of problems and solutions in mental health, as well as the American Fix-It impulse.

The Process of Un-Numbing

Apparently I am becoming a person who weeps at the movies.

OK, “weep” may be an exaggeration–“cries fat, warm tears” is more accurate. But still, for someone who never cried during a movie before the age of 20-something*, this is an unexpected twist.

I honestly am not quite sure when it happened–that I decided emotions were dangerous and had to be muted. All I know is that when I first started doing some uncovering and emotional work, I did NOT expect it to take years to thaw from that deep freeze.

But anyway: MOVIES.

Granted, the two movies I watched this week that made me feel like a watering pot are Inside Out and Moana.

Both are emotional journeys–which, if you know anything at all about me (even if it’s just the headlines of my blogposts) is kind of both my kryptonite and my superpower. Funny how that works.

It also is partly that I am seeing everything through a lens of emotional journeys these days.

But a girl going out on a ship to save her island in the face of criticism and having to believe herself worthy? Having to convince a demi-god he is worthy not because of his powers but as a person?

T_____T

I feel like I might have a detailed write-up on this movie in me. But maybe while I’m still bringing myself to tears when I think of the theme song ISN’T the time.

 

*this is slightly inaccurate: Ever After made me cry. But it was definitely more the last straw on the camel’s back of 15yo hormones, jet-lag, and reverse culture shock. It was definitely an outlier.

Calling It

The other day I had a mild (?) panic attack.

It was quite fascinating!

Because I spent the greater part of my early life in a sort of anxious haze, I had never really thought about whether I had panic attacks.

It’s quite possible I haven’t had one before, at least not one so clearly delineated. There was a series of circumstances that caught me by surprise, I was nervous about something else, and I found myself getting trapped in an emotional whirl.

Because I’ve been doing some investigation of my emotional triggers, I recognized it as a phenomenon of brain chemistry that was actually quite distinct from what I felt I should be processing intellectually.

“So this is a thing that’s happening,” I marvelled.

Now that makes it sound rather surgical. Of course what really happened is that I was walking out the door, asked for keys, was on a bit of timeline–and found out I had to drive a new car I’d never driven before.

And it made me scared and angry, and for a few minutes I wasn’t sure why, but things were NOT GOOD.

I decided, once I realized this was a state not entirely rational, that I would give myself some extra time. Went out to the car, came back in to get more ready. My mom, picking up on my not-so-subtle mood, asked if I was alright.

It felt like a relief to tell her–it just had triggered anxiety.

For one thing, it was great to feel how much of an outlier that experience was to me, now. To have vocabulary that allowed me to step back from it.

To be able to take charge, even though my emotions had been going haywire.

Of course, I put a gob of EOs on, too. And later in the evening, when I couldn’t figure out how to turn on my headlights and was on the highway with someone helpfully flashing their lights in my rearview window, I did not panic.

I mean, I freaked out, but only the rational amount.

***

Small steps like this are sometimes are huge shifts for our thinking!

If you’re thinking about how to transform your life, including work on how you interact with your emotions, my coaching program is designed around enabling that.

Check out my webinar this Friday, September 30th 7PM Central: Unlock Your Agency

The Disproportionate Fear of Firsts

When I called a college the other day, I had to psych myself up for it–I even called a doctor’s office with a little question as a sort of trial run. (Killing two birds with one stone: if the doctor’s office call was all I had, I would have dreaded it more.)

I got through a phone-tree to a person, who directed me to the right office, where I left a message. And I congratulated myself, scented by all the courage-enhancing essential oils I’d put on, for doing it. It wasn’t so bad. I was an adult!

I happened to miss the call I got back the next morning.

Still in my pajamas, I immediately, calmly rang back. Got a phone tree–zero for operator–got through.

Had a very confident conversation with minimal blethering-on (I feel the bio was appropriate to establishing connection, if slightly long) and then got off the phone feeling like I had deported myself with honor.

All without real pants on.

Why are we so afraid of doing things for the first time?

I think in a lot of cases, it’s the lack of connection. I called someone who doesn’t know me, and has power of judgment. When she called me back, I knew I had succeeded in at least making a small connection.

Being vulnerable enough to make that step toward connection is a big deal.

What’s something you’ve been hesitating to do because of this kind of personal risk, big or small?

What do you need to actually go do it?

I can set you up with some EOs! Or a coach who makes it a bit more rewarding.

(If you think I don’t do things so I can brag to Coach Carmela about it, you’re dead wrong.)

~ Bethany

Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach

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Taking action despite fear is part of what separates the hero from the extra. Interested in learning how you can act the hero part more in your life? Come to my webinar, Unlock Your Agency – Friday Sept. 30th, 7pm Central on Zoom!

Alien Body Syndrome

I’ve been pondering the ways our bodies become foreign territory lately.

Several things inspired it–this :fire: interview on MarieTV, my belly dance class, and also interviews with martial artists for a book I’m planning.

And yesterday as I was walking I realized that the small of my back is always tight because I’m trying not to let my body sway too much. Walk straight, tight, compact.

I recently watched what was essentially an academic lecture on gender portrayals in advertising, “The Codes of Gender”. It talked mainly about femininity–how it’s portrayed as vulnerable, unconnected with surroundings or even objects the model touches. But the masculinity is hyperreal, too–even if the men are skinny they seem to have a certain strength or confidence that lines up with an ideal.

Both sides of this may not be the way the models actually feel, but it’s in the way they are presented by pose.

While I am intimately familiar with way women feel about their bodies, there was a theme in my interviews with the male martial artists–when they started they were unconnected to their bodies, because they were “not athletic” or “skinny”.

Women’s bodies are treated as objects. Men’s bodies are supposed to possess certain sizes and skills.

Most of us, I think, disassociate in one way or another, to not feel shame or inadequacy.

So we have these alien bodies that send up flares through pain or hunger or anxiety, trying to regain connection.

Like Glennon Doyle Melton talks about in that interview, yoga (and martial arts and belly dance) can be the way we reconnect with our bodies. More importantly, you have to take the step of being willing to listen not just to the flares, but the reason you disconnected in the first place.

It’s work I’m still doing. But Rising Strong is one resource I can recommend for exploring that, as is any of Brene Brown’s work.

And if you want a comrade on that journey, I’m here.

~ Bethany, Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach

***

My upcoming webinar Unlock Your Agency (Sep 30th, 7pm Central) will cover some easy tools to start on reclaiming your life, including your body. I’ll also have a special enrollment price for new clients!

Are you ready to reclaim your body as your territory?

Book Review: Rising Strong

Sometimes you don’t open a book for a reason.

I had asked my mom which Brene Brown books she had when I finished listening to her episode on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons* podcast, a brilliant conversation about fear and creating..

*I also got Gilbert’s Big Magic out–look forward to a post on it as well!

This book sat on the top of a sizeable pile of To-Read books for while–and then I had a couple of failures in very different arenas of life, and it was waiting for me.

I read it through as if it were a particularly addictive novel. But it’s not a fluff read. It’s funny, wise, and occasionally heartbreaking. And it digs into the reasons we weaponize our words in situations–and how to instead explore what the pain is that makes us retreat into our tanks.

It’s not a comforting “you’re fine, just be true to yourself” read. It’s instead a concrete guidebook for those who want to do the work of confronting their emotional baggage, shame, and own that vulnerability.

It’s the kind of book that could change the world. At the very least, it will change the world around those who read it and take it to heart.

I’ve been doing the work of coaching in my own life for some time now. Up to now I’ve been learning to release emotions and improve my baseline. A mainly self-centered process that’s important. Rising Strong outlined how to expand this into relationships with others–when you have a conflict, and are face-down with hurt.

How to learn from those moments to later keep your feet under you and recognize, “Oh, my sense of inadequacy is being triggered by this, but I don’t think that’s the intention. How do we handle this together?”

And in a way it is a comfort to read. It says, “Oh, yes, you will fail yourself and the people you love. But here is how to learn from that.”

That sounds less like wishful thinking and a lot like the life I can live. It’s actually really exciting.

***

I’m also really excited to share this with my coaching clients! The more we understand emotional hindrances to moving forward, the more I can help them be the heroes of their own stories.

Mark your calendars for my next webinar, Unlock Your Agency on Sept 30th, 7pm Central!

Link is to the Facebook event where updates and reminders will be posted. Join there and you can even catch a replay if you miss the actual webinar.