Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Learning to Trust

Typically when practicing yoga, the instructor tells students to adopt a mantra for the session. In other words, a goal or mental focus. While I was sweating it out during a 5:30 Monday night class, one word popped into mind: trust.

A strange choice, I won't argue that. But the longer I kept that phrase in my mind, the more it made sense. Particularly in the light of celiac disease.

A yoga triggered reflection...
When I was sick from undiagnosed celiac, how much trust did I lose after my body stopped accepting nutrients? When food hurt instead of nurtured, and the "healthy" American diet of whole wheat bread and gluten contaminated foods caused me to waste away?

And how much trust must I still give to others? Allowing doctors to poke and prod and test before correctly diagnosing me with celiac disease. Accepting restaurant chefs' promises to prevent cross contamination when cooking my order. Believing that my family will keep their glutened bread knives out of my peanut butter jar.

I had to trust the hospital staff too!
Lately, I've been craving a different kind of trust in my life. An internal version that will last longer than a dinner out or a few minutes balancing in Tree Pose.

I want to trust my body's natural diet and shape. Sometimes all I want is a smashed baked potato with lots of veggies and homemade vegan cheese sauce. Other times, I'm digging into salmon and zoodles or a big burger with a side of fries. This summer, I've been all about the smoothies - a huge one for breakfast and a smaller for a night snack. Maybe this winter I'll fall in love again with my oatless oatmeal. Or maybe not. My cravings don't have to follow seasonal rules. And neither does my body.

I love food...even though that surprises some people!
Because this body has rocked more shapes than a melting ice cream tower. Curvy. Athletic. Stick skinny. And everything in between. Yes, I know I need to gain some more. But I also know that double thinking everything I eat - Is it enough? Is this the right amount of protein? Should I force more food down even when I'm not hungry? - makes me more of a Stressed Stacie than Marilyn Monroe.

I want to trust my own capability to balance school, work, friends and food. I have only a week left before junior year officially begins, and I'll be honest - I'm not a fan of the calm before the storm. It's anxious and boring and full of too-much-to-do-too-soon-to-do-it. Like usual, I'll have a heavy plate (yes, I do enjoy food puns wherever I can fit them) on my hands. Classes. Work. An internship. And a hopeful social life. Add the celiac needs for cooking and the Casey needs for some stress-relieving exercise, and my weeks will be full.

A little mental juggling required...
Some nights, I wonder if I'll be able to handle it all. But then I remember all of the challenges I've already kicked butt at. Like building a relatively successful blog. Making the scary choice to drop my school's meal plan. And even meeting a special boy amidst the college celiac craziness. It'll be hard, but life usually is. I'm strong. I'm smart. Plus, a little bit sassy. A trio that betters "sugar and spice" in my book any day.

I want to trust a need to move or to rest with Netflix all day. I love exercise. I'll say that right away. It de-stresses and re-focuses me, and I'm usually up for trying any new form. (Spin class, a 5K Mud Run, yoga, and many cliff side walks have all landed on my calendar). Today, though, the amount of exercise advice can feel overwhelming and over thinking it is easy.

One of my favorite fitness throwbacks!
My goal is to not exercise perfectly - it's to listen better. I do this every time I ask my body what it feels like doing to move, whether it's a stationary bike session, HIT workout, or time with the Nike Fitness App. And on days when I'm not feeling it or am just craving a relaxing yoga flow, that's OK too. Hello Netflix marathon! 

Mostly, I want to trust that these next months of school, my approaching twentieth birthday and all of the adventures to come will be crazy, but leave me with a smile on my face. 

And more memories - the good, the mediocre and the hiding-under-the-covers bad - than I can count. (Or blog about.) 

A few of my favorite sophomore memories!
Yoga instructors also usually warn that many emotions can emerge during practice. Accomplishment. (For my dad, joy at surviving an advanced routine!) Maybe even tears. Or, in my case, reflection

For most people, especially those with celiac, trust can be hard to come by. And even harder to hold onto. My mantra for the next week, though, is to simply do it. Trust in myself. In the future. And in the sheer possibility of trust itself. 

Hanging on Potato Chip Rock!

Because without the trust that you can survive a fall, why try to rise and balance at all? 



What reflections have you experienced from yoga, exercise or meditation? Do you relate to the complex tie between celiac and trust? Comment below! 





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