The Inside Of My Brain: How to get out of my own way to find calm

As I sit here, currently on a train, I can’t help but reflect on a question that one of my friends asked me a few weeks ago- “What’s it like inside your brain?”. I was taken aback when asked. I suppose this is what the focus of my year has been. The short answer to that- “hectic”. The long answer…

I’m going to start by going so far as to say that 2015 has been one of the best years of my life. It’s DEFINITLY been the highlight of the tornado that was my 20s. Sitting here newly 29, I feel more driven, more balanced, and most importantly- more able to practice self-love than ever before.

This year has been a busy/ productive one creatively, a massive challenge physically and involved a lot of trains, planes and Uber cabs. My Spring brought me travel to New Brunswick and Vancouver, my Summer brought me to a lot of small town Ontario, and my Fall will see me in London (Ont), Montreal, Ottawa and back in New Brunswick. I’m a lucky girl, all while being  grateful and bursting with more joy than I knew possible.

In general, I run on a very high level of anxiety. This anxiety dictates a lot of my life in a self-sabotage sort of way. I get overwhelmed and lost in the chaos of my own thoughts. I try to stay ahead of it as much as possible, but in the end my anxiety rules my choices 98.7% of the time. My anxiety is most definitely the reason I’m single, but that’s a blog post for another time ha-ha! Recently, I’ve discovered there are certain tricks/ tools that I can lean on to clear away some of the anxiety and “get it out of my way”. There are little lifestyle choices that settle my hectic brain a little and allow me to find the bundles of joy hidden inside.

One of these tricks is participating in a highly physical/ challenging sport- OLY lifting. Lifting gives my brain something outside of myself to focus on. Set numbers, tasks and physical goals that my anxiety can drive towards. I find it helps to take my anxiety off of my self image or self perception and I’ve found it’s raised my self-confidence a 10 fold. While there are definitely days and moments where my anxiety takes over in this sport, over all on a day to day level it’s actually left me feeling more calm.

The next I would say is creation, which may seem obvious for a choreographer. I love what I do. I LOVE CREATING. I love distilling and solidifying my fears, thoughts, hopes and dreams into a work that can then be communicated and expressed to audiences / other humans. Creation helps me to cultivate a sense of belonging and togetherness with society. It helps me feel a part of a larger picture and less like a single lonely anomaly. It helps me not take myself too seriously and helps me to participate in life in a productive manner.

The last, I’ve recently discovered, is travel. And in a very fluffy sort of way, the “journey” over the destination. I find that there’s something about being in a moving vehicle that calms my nervous system. Whether it’s because of the soothing motion of the vehicle, or the productive nature of moving forward through space, I’m unsure, but while sitting on a train or driving a car I feel present and calm. I think one of the reasons I’ve found so much success this year is because I’ve had ample time IN JOURNEY. In transition from one place to the next. More so than years past, I’ve had time to sit and think and digest life, all while travelling forward, so my anxiety can take a break for a little while. It’s been really nice.

So, while the answer to “What’s it like inside your brain?” is still “Hectic”- I’ve found little spaces of “peace”. I’m most calm these days while lifting, while creating and while travelling. My hope is that with age, I can continue to crack open these little pockets of life and find more and more calm within a hectic brain and a hectic universe.

And I can’t help but ask, What’s it like inside YOUR brain?

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