How to Feel Unstuck When There’s No End In Sight

July 24, 2021, was the one year anniversary (or “ann-knee-versary” if you will allow me one pun) of my ACL reconstruction surgery. I had a fun day lined up to celebrate my progress and mobility: a morning yoga class, an afternoon swim, and dinner at my favorite neighborhood Italian bistro. I thought the day would run as smoothly as my repurposed quadriceps tendon.

My knee had other plans. 

When I rolled out my yoga mat and set up my trusty blocks (now a staple of my yoga practice) I knew my knee was not in a good mood. It ached and felt more tight than it had in days. God help me if I had to do a child’s pose. I inwardly rolled my eyes at my ornery joint and clumsily followed along with the instructor’s commands.

As I winced at the pain and tried to breathe more flexion into my leg I thought about my year long journey. I have lived with some kind of pain and discomfort every day for a year. Sometimes I feel frustrated and exhausted. Sometimes I long for a light at the end of the tunnel, a deus ex machina, a sudden whirlwind change that grants me perfect, pain-free full extension and flexion. Sometimes I feel stuck and don’t see an end in sight.

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Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You: Marie Kondo, My Knee, and Me

Once again, as I did nearly a year ago, I find myself with my right leg wrapped in a bandage from thigh to foot and repeating an alternating series of exercising and icing. On Friday, June 18th, my trusty orthopedic surgeon carefully scraped scar tissue away from my shiny new ACL (well, my repurposed quadriceps tendon, but new in its job as ACL). 

Although I’ve been able to get back to many normal activities since last July’s ACL surgery, this scar tissue has impeded my knee from reaching full extension or flexion. It feels stiff whenever I walk downstairs. I still can’t do a full child’s pose in yoga. 

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My Post-Pandemic Body Is Different. And That’s Okay.

The other day my coworkers and I were planning some lectures we are going to give as part of a leadership development series. For the first time in over a year, we will be presenting to a live audience in person, and we have to dress the part. My team, men in their fifties and sixties, joked about how they might need to get new clothes since the running gag is everyone has gained weight during the pandemic. I told them that was the advantage of wearing dresses–they’re a lot more forgiving.

My post-pandemic body is different than it was a year ago. It’s squishier and, according to some clothes that didn’t fit when I did a recent closet de-cluttering, a little larger.

I’m okay with that…for now anyway.

Hear me out…

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Interview with Wing Chun Practitioner Steve Grogan: Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Steve Grogan of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and I get real.

Can we have a real, honest conversation about mental health? That’s what Steven Grogan and I do in this video. Steve is the founder of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and has been a guest writer on Little Black Belt several times. 

In this video (click here to watch), we talk about my new book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, how we handle mental illness, and how it intertwines with our martial arts practice. 

How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health

As the economy picks up, people get new jobs, or continue in their current roles, it seems like there’s the expectation to return to “business as usual.” Six months into 2021, and we’re not back to “business as usual.” We’re all still dealing with the fallout of the collective multiple traumas of 2020, and many people dealt with individual crises. Some people, like me, have been triggered back into active mental illness, while others are facing it for the first time.

This can affect the way we work, and we need to be able to have open, honest conversations about it with our bosses. Check out my article on Fast Company, How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health, for tips on what you can do to preserve your mental and emotional well-being.

Interview with Karate Practitioner and Writer Les Bubka

I’m pleased to share that fellow martial artist and author Les Bubka invited me as a guest on his podcast “Accidental Podcast…or Something Like That” which you can listen to by clicking here, or watch our interview on YouTube. We talk about martial arts, mental health, relationships, working with kids, and why he calls me a “Russian bride.” We had lots of fun recording, and I think you’ll have fun listening to and watching us.

Les has been practicing karate for over twenty years. He is the founder of the Karate for Mental Health Program and the author of a number of books about karate. For more information about Les’s work, click here.

Listen to My Story: Two Martial Arts Podcasts!

My martial arts friends in person and online have really come through for me as my first book was released into the world. Their support doesn’t surprise me, though, because martial arts people look out for their own. We like to help each other spread the positivity of what we love so much.

I’m honored to have been featured on two prominent martial arts podcasts by multi-media veterans Andrea Harkins of The Martial Arts Woman and Jeremy Lesniak of Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

To Listen:
Click here to listen to my interview with Andrea on The Martial Arts Woman podcast.

Click here to listen to my interview with Jeremy on Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

You’ll learn about my first career, my favorite martial arts action stars, how I got into martial arts, and the powerful healing qualities martial arts has given me for my mental health. You’ll also hear my “light Texas drawl” that I mention in Chapter 29 of my memoir.

 

 

 

Little Black Belt is SEVEN!

I’ve been so busy lately I almost forgot to do my yearly blog post. Today, April 15, my blog celebrates its SEVENTH birthday!

What started as a few rambling thoughts that had been haunting me since my color belt days has evolved into so much more. Thank you all for your readership and support.

As I always do on my yearly bloggiversary, I present my ten favorite posts of the past year:
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