• Speaking My Mind

    Life During the Apocalpyse Part 3

    It’s June now, and I am doing much better mentally than I was at the beginning of the quarantine.

    Yes, we are still in quarantine.

    Being optimistic about life feels more plausible now that lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted…but anyway, I’m not here to update you on the status of the world. I want to share with you what I’ve been up to these last two months!

    Quarantine has forced me to slow down, reflect, reevaluate, and initiate new action. While I would hope to never endure a quarantine again, I think I have taken advantage of this time in a few different areas of my life. Those areas include my mental well-being, my career goals, and my yoga teaching.

    After several mental breakdowns two months ago that put a strain not only on my mental well-being but also on the relationships I have, I decided to make finding a therapist a priority. I had been considering getting a therapist a few months prior, but I kept making excuses, which was easy to do when I was busy running around living the life of a twenty-something-year-old woman. Quarantine made it difficult for me to continue to ignore my mental health though.

    After some research, I decided to try BetterHelp because it was affordable without health insurance, it was easily accessible since the communication is digital (which is perfect during quarantine), and it offered a lot of flexibility. It was super easy to set up an account and get matched with a therapist- you answer a few questions and share any preferences you have for the type of counselor you want, and that’s really it!

    Some things I really like about BetterHelp include:

    • I can message my therapist at any time and as frequently as I want. This has been great for bad days when I need to just dump all of my feelings.
    • There are group workshops weekly that you can sign up for on different topics such as managing worry, toxic friendships, trauma, etc.
    • There is a weekly “live” session with your therapist and you can choose how you communicate. I’ve been opting for the video chat format but you can also choose a phone call or live-messaging.
    • My therapist has been sending me BetterHelp’s worksheets to help me work through areas I need more support in, and I find the worksheets to be useful. One that I’ve particularly enjoyed is about decatastrophizing worries.
    • I also really like my therapist, but if I didn’t connect with her for any reason, I can request a new therapist.

    Please do some research before deciding to try virtual therapy. I’m not an expert, but what stood out to me as the biggest drawback to virtual therapy was that counselors at BetterHelp can’t diagnose any mental illnesses and they also can’t prescribe medication. Please do research to determine which type of therapy is right for you.

    If you do want to try BetterHelp though, you can click here to get one week free. This is an affiliate link so if you do sign up via this link, I would also get one week free.

    In addition to therapy, I have begun graduate school!

    I honestly did not expect 2020 to be the year that I enroll in a program…I thought I was going to be traveling a ton this year. Fortunately, I did travel before the quarantine began at least. But let me tell you about the graduate program!

    I decided to enroll in graduate school after losing both of my jobs and after having a difficult time getting a new job. The challenges of getting a new job during a pandemic are likely related to the pandemic’s impact on the economy, however, I also began to notice that many jobs I was applying to preferred candidates with a CPA, which I don’t have. Thus, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Accounting so I can be eligible to take the CPA exam when I finish!

    Graduate school has significantly benefited my mental health while I’m continuing to search for work because it provides me with a little more purpose daily and I know I’m working toward a specific goal. It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m very proud of myself.

    The last significant change I’ve made in my life over the last two months has been establishing an online yoga presence.

    Since I was teaching at a community gym that provided me with clientele, I wasn’t focused on promoting myself or creating an online presence at all. Unfortunately, I lost my clientele during the pandemic because I don’t have anyone’s contact information and I wasn’t connected with anyone on social media at all.

    So I’ve recently created an Instagram, a Facebook, and a YouTube account! I’ve been primarily making short yoga videos, and most of the videos are chair yoga videos. I’m still experimenting with the online yoga stuff and I don’t have fancy equipment, but it’s been a ton of fun putting myself out there in this way. My partner has been supportive of it, which I really appreciate. His support has been the fuel for a good portion of my motivation to even do it at all.

    If you are interested in any yoga content, please click on the following to check me out on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I am “Yogini Victoria” on all of those platforms.

    Thank you for reading and for being here. Please let me know in the comments below how the last two months have been for you. Please make sure to include one thing that you are proud of, no matter how small it may seem 🙂

    xx Victoria

  • Mysticism

    I Am Where I Need to Be (An Oracle Card Reading)

    A couple of months ago, when I was at the beginning of my yoga journey, I had asked in the yoga Facebook group I’m part of about tarot cards. I was interested in learning more about them and possibly integrating them into my practice. As someone who is not particularly spiritual, I wanted to learn about different spiritual practices. The members of the group responded that in order to get tarot cards, it is recommended that you go in person and that you purchase the cards that call to you. Well, I don’t frequent spiritual shops, in fact, I’ve never been to one, so I looked on Amazon for a couple of days to see what types of decks are available, but then I forgot about it and moved on…

    Until I was in the back of the cluttered East Meets West with my girlfriend, looking at crystals and books. It was then when I came across an amazing deck of cards that seemingly chose me. The cards honor the Hindu god, Ganesha, who has the body of a man but he has an elephant head.

    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield
    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    I was drawn to these particular cards because I had learned about Lord Ganesha in my yoga training. I found the tales about him and how he got his elephant head rather amusing thus, I was very attracted to this deck. I checked on Amazon to see if the cards were cheaper there, which they weren’t. The cards were actually the same price, and out of 103 ratings, it had 5 stars. Then I immediately purchased the deck.

    When I returned home, I eagerly opened the cards up and read the manual (which I believe is rather thorough and well-written). I became more excited about the deck when I read that Ganesha is revered for removing obstacles to allow people to achieve success. He is also a god of cleverness, learning, and intelligence. I did not know this beforehand but it made me feel like I needed this deck because of where I currently am at in my life AKA a recent college graduate who is still figuring out what to do now that I’ve graduated.

    One of the suggested spreads called, Ganesha’s Horseshoe Spread, is precisely about discerning what your next step is and what obstacles are in your way, so I did that one. Interestingly, the cards I pulled were topics I write about on my blog all of the time.

    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards Horseshoe Spread
    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards Horseshoe Spread

    (Underneath is my wooden picture of Baymax from Big Hero 6, so don’t mind that. Aren’t these cards beautiful though?!)

    The first card, which for me is “Positive Outlook,” represents where I am in my life now. While I always struggle with maintaining a positive outlook similarly to everyone else, I believe that I have made great strides in achieving this as a more permanent state of mind. I’ve been working on quieting my negative outlook by meditating and/or using breathing techniques. By changing my outlook on life, I’ve also been inspiring others to change their outlook. A recent example is when my dad was complaining about a meeting he had the next day, and he was already saying it was going to be horrible. I suggested that he change his perspective because if he went in with that mindset, it definitely would be horrible. I didn’t think he would heed my advice at all, but the next day he surprised me and told me he tried what I had said and his meeting actually went well! It was a cool and inspiring moment.

    The second card that I pulled is what my next step or task is, which is “Perseverance.” This resonated with me because my mind has been so focused on my previous “failures,” which makes me want to give up entirely.

    Despite applying to at least thirty jobs this summer, I have not even had an invitation for a phone interview. Why bother applying to jobs then? What’s the point of this yoga teacher training if I’m not part of a local yoga community? Is it just another avenue for interminable failure? Is it just another degree where I still won’t be able to get a job?

    It is important for me to maintain my positive outlook so I can continue to persevere, which would look something like this…

    Okay, so I haven’t had any job interviews yet. SO WHAT? When this training is over, I’ll buckle down and keep applying. I will apply to jobs I actually want to do. I will get a yoga teaching job too. I will go to different yoga studios and try out their classes and find my place somewhere. It is an accomplishment and a blessing to be able to have my Bachelor’s as well as a yoga teaching license. They will provide me with opportunities I will otherwise not have. I will keep going because I have all of these skills and so much knowledge, and it’d be a waste to not share it with others!

    The third card represents an obstacle I have to overcome, which for me is “Nurture.” When I first flipped this card over, I thought that it meant I needed to overcome my family. To me, this could mean that I need to worry less about how they perceive me and that I need to have difficult conversations with them when/if necessary to be visible. When I read the instruction manual’s description of what the card meant though, I realized the card could be referring to an obstacle that is greater than my family. The card represents taking care of yourself before taking care of others and being more resourceful and practical. I feel like this description is applicable to my life as well as how I interpreted the card because I have been rather exhausted lately with the intensive yoga training. While I have had some alone time…it hasn’t been sufficient because when I’m not doing yoga, I want to spend time with my family or with my girlfriend. So…I will work more on nurturing myself which means to prioritize myself, and that can be expressed by overcoming obstacles I encounter with my family.

    The fourth card indicates that my strength and resource for overcoming obstacles and for discerning my next step is “Cultivation.” Without reading the meaning of the card in the manual, I thought that this card was about how I need to focus more on what I want to cultivate in my life than on what I cannot do, which relates to the previous cards I described. The manual gave an interesting description of this card though, which I think is valuable to me as well. The manual describes this card as indicating how music can heal, encourage, and nurture the soul. The manual recommends listening to soothing music to inspire me and to gain more clarity about what I am creating in my life. For anyone who has read my blog and has seen the music I include with poems and stories and/or knows me, my taste in music is not calming. It is the complete opposite. I’m just a sucker for gravel-y voices, screaming, emotional lyrics, and heavy drums, what can I say?

    Regardless, it may be beneficial to integrate calming music into my daily routine. We’ll see what happens!

    The last card tells me what my new focus or outcome is, and mine is “Acceptance.” This kinda surprised me because while this is something that is certainly important to me, considering it is a major theme of my blog and in my life, I thought I had achieved it. But…upon a second reflection, maybe I haven’t.

    I’ve been primarily focused on what I don’t have when comparing myself to everyone else: I don’t have a job opportunity, I don’t have any interviews, I haven’t taken the GRE’s, I don’t have a clue what I want to study for grad school, if I even want to go to grad school…I don’t live on my own, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a clean room. I’m not hanging out with my friends in my spare time and I’m not doing the summer activities I want to do, while everyone else is. I don’t have any answers to questions anyone asks me about my aspirations!

    Or at least I don’t think I do.

    I’ve tried to refrain from social media to reduce the comparison trap, but lately, I’ve been spending my spare time on social media. How does that make sense?? Of course I’d be complaining about what I don’t have and how I don’t have any answers to my life when all I’m doing in my spare time is mindlessly scrolling through what everyone else is doing.

    So, I need to stop. I need to focus on accepting where I am now, and only focus on myself. That’s how I’m going to get to wherever I need to be. Plus, it’ll make me happier overall.

    Even though it may feel bleak when I wonder how I will achieve success, and what that success will even look like, it’s only bleak because I’m not practicing the most yogic lifestyle. I will heed the advice from my card reading as I make these changes.

    I decided that instead of looking at Instagram first thing when I will wake up, I will pull one card and gain some insight into what I should focus on for that day. I will make that card my daily intention. Then, whenever it feels right to do a horseshoe spread again, I will do it and I will write about my experience.

    What obstacles do you feel like you need to overcome to achieve a new outcome? Please let me know in the comments below!

    If you are interested in a card reading, comment below or email me at yoga@unziptheselips.com!

    xx Vic

     

     

     

  • Short Stories,  Speaking My Mind

    Getting Lost

    2015/05/img_1495.jpg

    Her favorite types of bridges are the old, wooden ones that have vines curling along the railing and suspension cables, in the deep woods. She prefers it when they overlook a stream, so when she’a standing on it, she can gaze at the water crystals rushing over the rocks.

    These types of bridges remind her of The Bridge to Terabithia. A magical, scenic bridge that takes you somewhere else…somewhere better. She wants to go somewhere better, but no matter how many bridges she crosses, they only leave her with reality. Every bridge she crosses that doesn’t take her far away from reality is burned down. Regardless of the beauty they uphold, and regardless of the history they have. She just doesn’t want to be followed, and she doesn’t want to go back.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Second Update: How to Discover and Redefine Myself

    The past two days have been really good…Friday I went to the women’s basketball game and we won.  Yesterday I spent the whole day in the library with my friend but we watched a bunch of movies later so that was nice…last night though I had a bad dream about my ex.  She wasn’t in it much and we didn’t interact with each other…which is one of the reasons that it was bad.  It was also a bad dream because I had many physical limitations…like I couldn’t move fast enough and/or I couldn’t talk or see…it was frustrating and difficult.

    Regarding my ex, I feel very powerless about what happened between us which is probably why I dreamt feeling powerless when it came to her in my dream…I was physically unable to tell her how I felt and look at her…it was hard and depressing.

    Yesterday when I was in the library I wrote my final letter to my ex under the advisement of my therapist.  My therapist had suggested that instead of writing a “mature” letter, I should write something vulnerable.  She didn’t say I had to send it but I think what I wrote is important for my ex to know.  I’m going to share it with my therapist tomorrow and see what she thinks, and then when I drop off her stuff at her house during Thanksgiving break I’ll include my final letter.

    The letter is vulnerable, strong, powerful, compassionate…I think it’s a really great letter and hopefully it’ll make these dreams of feeling restricted and powerless go away.

    Anyway, just wanted to share that before I update my list to see what kind of progress I’ve been making…

  • Speaking My Mind

    Lukewarm Showers

    Today was like a lukewarm shower: it’s hot enough to be comfortable and do what you got to do, but it’s too cold to really enjoy the shower and feel refreshed.

    My day actually ended with a lukewarm shower because the showers on my side of the dorm are fucked up again.  

  • Speaking My Mind

    Update: How To Discover and Redefine Myself

    It’s been about two weeks since I’ve made this list and I’ve been single for a month (although the first two weeks seemed more like a temporary break so I still felt committed to my ex).

    It’s weird because I’ve spent most of 2014 with my ex and I’ve known her since 2013 and now she’s just completely gone from my life because that’s what she wants I guess but…it’s just weird.  An adjustment on top of all the other adjustments I’ve been making since late August when I moved into my dorm at college.

    I feel like I’ve been doing a lot better lately…there are times when I miss her a lot, times when I’m angry with her, times when I feel…like it’s hard to accept what happened because I don’t have much closure..but for the most part I’ve been so busy with school and getting more involved…connecting with friends…that those feelings quickly dissolve.  If they don’t go away, I write about them so they can be out of my head.

    Anyway, I just wanted to update this list…share what I’ve been doing to help me move on and other projects I plan on taking because I’m passionate about them and they make me happy.

  • Speaking My Mind

    You’re Full Of It

    I feel…exasperated.

    So here I am…single because my ex wanted to take a break to work out some things in her life.  I respect that, I understand that, but what I DON’T understand is why she was all “I still want to text because I don’t want to lose my best friend” and then fucking doesn’t text me.

    Please, hear me out.

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