It’s pretty basic, but it felt like an epiphany Saturday night: Don’t protect yourself.

Those were the words spoken by Megan, a yoga instructor on YouTube. She meant for us all to relax our muscles and lean into the ball for a little myofascial release, which I couldn’t do—at least not yet—because it required lying supine on the floor.

(I might be able to get there, but I am too weak to get myself up and too unimaginative to figure out what Dan’s help could even look like in that situation.)

But for me there was a psychological element to the yoga lady’s instruction too. Closely related to my anxiety. Stop anticipating pain. Stop bracing for a fall every time you stand up. Stop sleeping in the fetal position. Stop overexplaining.


Or, framed more positively: Notice what’s acceptable. Let the room pretend to spin. Trust the mattress to hold you. Ask for what you need without apology.


I learned this philosophy before, this “don’t protect yourself.” I will learn it again.

I’m not being too hard on myself or even admonishing myself a little. I’m recognizimg that I learned knew ways of dealing with adversities, mostly to survive some yucky stuff. They only served me for a little while but became habits anyway. Now they are things I need to undo.

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