Avoidance

Marley._A_love_story.__dance___sweatersocks__joy copy

I’m slowly coming to learn (and work through) the awful truth that I have a tendency to avoid things when I need them most. Writing this post is a prime example. I love writing and I know that after my often frazzled brain always feels a bit clearer and more settled. Yet, every time I have sat down to write over the past few weeks, I have never gotten any further than a title before deciding I was too tired and just went to sleep.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve avoided praying about something only to watch it fall together the second I get on my knees. I am learning over and over, that I cannot do it all myself, like a memory chip that is constantly getting reset and needing to be reprogrammed.

All through college I was blessed to have a best friend who knew that when I got super quiet she needed to ask me “what’s wrong?” because I’m terrible at just openly saying “I need someone to talk to.” Growing up as the shy, usually smallest, kid in class, I honed serious skills for listening to others…but it’s the talking about me I’ve had to work on.

As a dance/movement therapist, I vocalize constantly to my clients the importance of staying in touch with their bodies. We do body scans at the beginning of each group to understand how their physical feelings connect to their emotions and cognitions. And yet, every time I make plans to do something good for my own body, avoidance kicks in. So, when I finally got myself back to a yoga class tonight, I knew I needed it. My body definitely knew I needed it. I even made myself pay for class online yesterday so that I would feel pressured to go…but even getting in my car tonight felt like dragging a 6 year old off to the dentist. And, true to form, the second I sat down on a mat in a low lit studio with brick walls and wood floors and was told to simply “rest and be kind to myself” I felt as if I may cry. Because once again, my body and mind connected over the fact that I really did need this thing I had been avoiding.

For me, the most beautiful gift was that this class tonight reminded me I had been avoiding letting myself be taken care of. I spend countless hours a week working with groups and individuals trying to understand what they struggle with, how they cope, and how I might help them use their strengths towards recovery. And truthfully, I find this easy. It’s easy for me to care about others, to throw all of my energy into their cause. On the flip side, I struggle a lot with being cared for. But tonight, all I had to do was move my body, slowly and easily, as the kind woman instructing class walked us through each pose. I couldn’t remember the last time I had just let someone guide me and encourage me to tune into myself. It was the best gift I could have asked for. And when we got to the end, I stopped avoiding the tears as well.

On my drive home I began to mull over this idea. Perhaps avoiding that which we need most is more common than we realize, because maybe it scares us, because it means being open and vulnerable. Maybe it’s something that we need to get back to but we don’t know exactly how.

So hear I go, once again, trying to push the avoidance aside and acknowledge what I really need. And I’m learning the only way to do so is to dive right back in.

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2 thoughts on “Avoidance

  1. Ashley, I know why you love to write. It is because you express yourself and your feelings so clearly in words that come from the heart. Tears came to my eyes as I, too, see my need to slow and allow time for my self. Time to pray and meditate on God’s word, and time for that Word to wash over me and refresh me as my tears washed my face today. You are one amazing young lady and I am so glad you are best friends with my Kitty. I love seeing the two of you interact together, always smiling into each others eyes as you chat and share and laugh and enjoy being friends. Keep writing and I will keep reading your deeply personal thoughts that you express so beautifully. Love you and come and see up again soon. Love and blessings, Kay.

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  2. Thank you so much Kay! Reading this touched my heart today. I am very lucky to have your daughter (and you and your whole family!) as my friend. I definitely hope to see you all again soon!

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