Erika Straub

Yogi Trainer Psychologist Writer

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When I feel insecure I can be a complete bitch…


     When I feel insecure I can be a complete bitch. As if I want those around me to either feel that themselves, or feel how I’m feeling and make me feel better, unconsciously. Now that I can tap into those times when I feel insecure I’m no longer ignorant to how completely impolite I can be. Those times I feel insecure may spawn from doing something outside of my comfort zone. It may come from starting something new and having expectations that aren’t compatible. It may come from comparing my day 1 to someone’s day 300. It may be a product of self sabotage. Regardless, insecurity shifts my energy and I vibrate lower. I’m emotionally exhausted from staying in a negative headspace and feel disconnected from myself and those around me. Tracing the chain of events that occur that lead me down this negative spiral, I notice it starts and ends with fear. Once fear has taken over the perspective I filter life’s happenings from changes completely; the inner dialogue transforms from curiosity and ambition to self consciousness and frustration. A deadly combo when what you are seeking is fluidity and openness. The self talk is brutal and the distortion of others perception of me makes me shrink even further into myself. Once within this inner cave I truly want to abandon outside stimulation and become completely introverted. While absorbed by my own introversion I assess the evidence that supports staying locked in this negative space and believing the reality this filter portrays.. It is in this negative space that my self love self confidence and grounding evaporate. The negativity becomes a tangible weight that robs me of motivation, paralyzing me from the inside out. Without motivation I slowly slip away from the daily rituals that feed my soul and it is a slippery slope from here. Without daily rituals I don’t have the foundation of daily habits and movement to create the momentum to reach the bigger goals. And without momentum, the bigger goals seem too far away, too impossible. And so I am resigned and bitchy. The work is to notice when insecurity is present, rather than unconsciously projecting that onto others. Pushing those away who feed your soul because your too afraid to be seen in rawness. Rawness doesn’t equal insecure or imperfect, but instead implies you can be vulnerable, it can feel scary, but you can own it.

I am passionately committed to my goals…


     Sometimes days feel mundane and hardly inspirational. Sometimes days are filled with synchronicities and connections that make you spill over in joy. Regardless of the feel of each singular day, it is in our habits that create movement, and not our ever changing feelings. Sometimes habits are driven from inspiration and sometimes habits are formed by discipline. But the days those meet, there’s a little bit of magic that feels tangible. It is in the tangible that our imaginations expand to encompass maybe’s, what ifs, and our wildest dreams meet reality. But if we are to allow our minds to reach the conclusion that these fantasies are impossible, a shrinkage happens; quicksand, stagnation, even regression. The magic that we just grasped slips through our fingertips. How do we prevent the unraveling of goals and dreams into impossibilities and sedentariness? It is not having a goal so big it scares you, it’s in the creation of daily habits. I often feel not too much changes day by day, but when I take my vantage point to see month by month, the movement cannot be debated. This phenomenon speaks to the significance of daily happenings having an enormous influence on long term goals. I have found that implementing daily, weekly, and monthly goals paint the larger picture. Every morning I set an intention that captures my goal for the proceeding day. And in a ritualistic fashion, Sunday evenings are filled with my weekly to do lists that can be retitled and reimagined into weekly goals. The first of every month I build off the prior month’s accomplishment and set a new goal. This has been my foundation as of this year and it has not only given me direction, it has instilled within myself the possibility of holding inspiration and discipline. I now understand the relationship between these two experiences as a fluctuating, overlapping, and transitional. When I am inspired my energy natural gravitates to the path to achieve my goals, yet when I am uninspired, I fall back on my discipline, my muscle memory, to carry me through. I am committed to my goals passionately, but flexible in how I achieve them, based on the knowing that my motivation will be derived from variable means and emotional states. If I’m too flexible I lose my discipline and if I’m not flexible enough, I miss out on tiny intuitive directional pulls that could lead to massive amounts of inspiration. I’m allowing passion to dictate the goals I set, yet creating momentum from the ever changing emotional dynamism between inspiration and discipline through my daily habits.

It only takes fifteen seconds of courage…


     Its only takes 15 seconds of courage. I don’t do things because of fear- flat out. The things I believe about myself when I’m seduced by fear prevent me from stepping into it. Fear has kept me paralyzed, kept me small, and ironically has shaped me into the very things I am most afraid of being. I am the most boring vanilla version of myself when in the grips of fear. Within fear there isn’t any room for passion, for creativity. I traded those outlets of expression for the security of never failing. It’s safe, but incredibly uninspiring. It resembles security, but it is soul sucking and suffocating. Settling, being average, lacking dreams, resenting those in their arts, are all results of being possessed by my own fear. When the sameness became too monotonous I was able to connect with my fear in a different light. While I was either completely consumed by fear, or pretending it wasn’t there by hiding my insecurities, I was experiencing the dullness and flatness of living inauthentically. Can I look fear in the eye and make the conscious choice to not believe the story it is telling me? Have you ever felt fear and done it anyway? Have you felt fear and then tuned in to the dialogue that goes on in your head? Mine went something like this: “Yeah that would be amazing if only I was 1.) good enough 2.) like that other person 3.) Had more experience 4.) insert every excuse in the book as to why I should not do something. The language of fear is so scripted that I could verbatim disclose what goes on in my mind when I am suddenly faced with an audience and the potential to fail in front of them. What is hiding beneath this dialogue is the very real yearning to be witnessed by an audience in my vulnerability. What really needs to be reshaped is my definition of failure. Maybe it’s simply the letting go of perfectionism, therefore letting go of people needing to see me as perfect. Maybe that’s what my fear has been about, a fear to be seen imperfectly. I was afraid that these imperfections would make me not enough. It is in these imperfections that make me unique. These are the parts of myself that need more love and less fear of them. When I feel fear I know it to be a signal that I am going to have an opportunity to be vulnerable in the presence of others. This makes me feel alive and inspired, and it only takes fifteen seconds of courage to begin.

I can only love you as deeply as I love me…


     What is the purpose of relationships? How do we keep passion present after the love chemicals of newness fade? How do we create happily ever after? How do we f*%$ and make love? I certainly have struggled with these questions and have had many doubts and fears that have perpetuated a self fulfilling prophecy in my past that nothing last forever. I’ve also put a lot of weight and pressure on sex trumping anything else. That was the way to connect, the only way; lead with the body and let emotions and intimacy catch up, if they could at all. Often they don’t catch up because you already put yourself in a box by showing up only in a sexual light, not allowing yourself to be vulnerable and seen in all of your emotions. If you can only connect through sex then intimacy is drastically limited and has an expiration. What I’m learning to value above anything else is the foundation of a friendship with your lover. Seeing your person as your closest friend and not putting expectations on them that cause you to lose sight of the friendship. I expected my person to take care of my happiness, to meet ALL of my needs, especially the ones I couldn’t meet myself. Expectations I would never dream of putting on someone I viewed as just a friend. When this gets convoluted, to me it signals a fusion, enmeshment, and a complete lack of individuality within a pairing. The things that most attracted us to the other person become the things we resent in them. When the resentment starts surfacing, that’s the point when you need to separate metaphorically, not in the physical sense of a break up, but in a sense of introspection. It is a time to capitalize on your unconscious demons being reflected to you by the other. The demons are now made conscious, and once they are conscious they can be understood and released. Once we can reclaim our own pains, instead of blaming the other, we have a chance to feel that love romance again. It is a gift to be able to see these different parts of yourself. Once we have acknowledged the negative emotions we are projecting on to our partner as our own, we are blessed to see the other only with love once again. This is a continuous process of fusion and separateness, facilitated by the acceptance and excitement that we can never know another fully, just as we cannot know ourselves fully. When we claim to know all there is about another we lose our desire for them, there is no mystery. Mystery creates desire and desire is what fosters the longevity of love. I can only know another as well as I know myself. I can only love someone else as deeply as I love myself. So ultimately relationships are the most reflective mirrors that illuminate parts of ourselves that we previously couldn’t tap into. Growth, dynamism, connection, wholeness, LOVE; the true essence of relationships.

My room is a mess and my brain is a mess…

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     My room is a mess. My brain is a mess. Simple. Or is it my brain is a mess so my room is a mess? Not so simple. But the takeaway is, regardless of the starting point, if my external environment is a disaster, it’s guaranteed my internal affairs are just as chaotic. Are you someone who cleans a little bit daily; picks up the mess as you make it? Or are you like me, let the junk pile up gradually, and then spend hours decluttering, tossing, and organizing just to see the floor again? I’m curious as to how much my cleaning habits correlate to my thought processes and well being. I’ve never been someone to start scrubbing and delegate other chores to different days. I’m fearful I won’t be in the mood to pick up where I left off the next day. This fear then creates the immediacy to scrub soak bathe sweep mop shine dust etc, all at once. OR worse, not at all. There’s a lot of pressure in the need to complete all my chores in one dose after not having done any in weeks, there’s a lot of spikes and dips in my energy levels, and there’s a lot of potential for failure. I often fail before I start because I’m paralyzed with the overwhelment of spending/losing an entire day just cleaning. It’s inevitable that I will eventually have to clean, so each time I pick up the mess it feels like I’m having to start over. And that feeling I resent the most. This style of living directly feeds into the all or nothing, black or white, on or off, tension of the opposites type of existence. This dualistic compartmentalism of my mind is something I am very familiar with. It’s a pattern that shows up in my physical training, eating and sleeping habits, my creative and professional ventures, and my relationships. After all is said and done, I believe the way I process the world is unconsciously shown by the way I externally do such things as clean. While this is a pattern that has allowed me to reach many goals, they were short term ones, with instant gratification and no chance at longevity. These goals were singular and lacking connection to other goals, and they absolutely weren’t given the opportunity to build off one another to foster long term goals. I am tired of starting over, therefor I am going to begin using my cleaning tasks as a way to influence areas of grey into my mental processing. If I can begin to pick up clutter little by little, I won’t ever have to face the resentment of spending excessive energy and time cleaning. The better I take care of my external home, the more comfy my internal home will feel. The more space I allow into my bedroom, the more space and clarity I will possess mentally.


The map I was handed came with the promise of a white picket fence…


     I have started endless amounts of thoughts with “ I should”. If I were to sit back and reflect on how I was feeling about myself in those moments of verbiage, I would inevitably come to the same fate; I wasn’t feeling empowered. I was feeling defeated, lost, less than. It was in the moments of feeling less than, that I had to question who or what I was feeling inferior to. The red flag to bare witness to was the impulse to compare, not only to my peers, but the comparison between who I was in the present and who it was I thought I should be in the present. My current reality wasn’t a silhouette to my expected reality. But what was it that built the foundation for my expectations? What made me conclude I needed to be a particular way at a particular point in time? What conditionings have I absorbed that defined my shoulds? What map, how to guide, or timeline was I attempting to mimic, yet finding myself consistently lost and frustrated by? The map I was handed came with the promise of a white picket fence, financial security, and family. What the legend didn’t depict was the unhappiness and unrest that would occur if I continues pursuing a cookie cutter outline of how my life SHOULD go. Why was I being directed to follow an already existing external source, when what I was really searching for was an internal compass? There’s a frame of mind that holds our shoulds, our expectations, our comparisons, yet consumed by this reference point, we often feel we are on a constant chase to catch up and do it the right way. We are given a timeline that is only completed correctly if it consummates with a grand achievement at the end. But there is another state of mind that fosters acceptance, creativity, and progression. This mentality orients from the process and the journey of creating your own map, from the unfolding of events as the compass itself. When these two states of mind collide, they reveal their existence to one another and their discrepancies. It’s in the moments of collision that we have a choice; to feel that we aren’t measuring up or to feel we are paving our own way. We can choose to take a map or we can choose to hold a compass. We can conform to the shoulds or we can create the possibilities. Sometimes we need to get so far away from where we planned to be, to see that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

I need a how to guide to do things my own way…


     A need for structure and a need for spontaneous rebellion. A need for a “how to guide” and a need to do things in my own way. Can I have both? Can I reach my goals and facilitate personal growth by intuition, or do I need a detailed plan to execute? I’ve resented schedules and structure for as long as I can remember, yet I’ve had the most significant feelings of accomplishment when I actually follow through with a plan. I’ve gotten curious with this resentment against structure, and it feels less distasteful when it’s self imposed. Maybe this resentment grew out of fear, fear of not being able to maintain, putting an all out effort and still not achieving my goal, failure, etc. The risk to not follow through, to not be accountable, that all kicks up a notch when you are your own boss. So how do you build the integrity with yourself to set out what it is you want to accomplish, to be open to a schedule set by you, and to still have space for the unplanned moments? I realize that passion will always tip the scale and the concept of balance is relative. Intentions set the night prior, followed up by a morning meditation, lock them into your day. How you start your day sets you up for how your day will manifest. I’m slowly accepting my nonnegotiables that make it on the calendar daily/weekly/monthly and these are setting my intentions, maintaining a gratitude practice, starting the day in meditation, sitting down and having breakfast, logging my food intake, sleeping 7 hrs, moving my body, writing, and surrounding myself with a solid support system. Intentions are the foundation and the daily steps to reaching goals that seem unreachable because it truly is a powerful mindfulness and energy practice. So I guess there’s something to this structure thing after all: sense of confidence and integrity with yourself, more energy, and beautiful morning rituals.

I’m into yoga and shit but i can’t quiet the chatter…


     It’s been exactly one week since I recommitted and revamped my meditation practice. I’ve been in a mental funk, maybe longer than I realize, but often the first thoughts racing through my head are far from uplifting. And what a drag it is to fight through them every morning, and some mornings they feel so real they absorb me. And those days look much like Netflix and lack of productivity. With the awareness to this morning battle and the energy drain it was causing, I decided I needed to create a morning ritual. Accepting I needed to create some structure in my day was probably the hardest part because of my desire to be completely free. Ironically it is the commitments and intentions that are already giving me more freedom. So every morning before I eat breakfast I light a candle, crawl stumble roll growl moan whatever I have to do, onto my yoga mat, and set a timer for a brief 5-10 minute practice. Meditation to me use to go: -Okay deep breath, focus on your breath, inhale exhale, relax release, please be quiet mind, what am I going to eat today, I have to go to the gym, what’s my boyfriend doing, I need to lose weight, I don’t want to go to work, oh wait shut up head your suppose to be quiet- and on and on it circled. The only shift I felt from that was accomplishment for torturing myself and that I could say I did it since I was all in to yoga and shit I should be able to quiet the chatter? Turns out my mind had a ton to say, probably because I’m guilty of lacking self expression authentically. It was the worst and I would quickly give up and abandon my practice and often yoga all together. Something inside me kept pulling me back saying get upside down shake things up a bit and just listen to what your body is telling you, be the observer of this chatter, not the victim of it. SURRENDER. So my mind needs a release. Why block out my thoughts and my creativity when my imagination is bubbling over? I can instead stay in the seat of consciousness and let go. Meditation is transforming for me because I am now directing my focus on visualizing and manifesting my goals and my dreams, I am playing with the images that come into my mind and exploring them as if they were memories forgotten. When you get out of your own way, the universe sends you signs symbols images dreams people, and there is so much gratitude to be had in that. So here’s to committing to 365 days of meditation, to raising my vibration, and to experiencing the power of manifesting!

Procrastination is sadistic…


     I’ll do that tomorrow. I’m going to start Monday. I can’t think about that right now. I am tired. I can’t. These have been normal and daily verbiages, that if I don’t literally say one or more out loud, you can bet they race through my mind and attach themselves to many of my daily decisions. Procrastination has been at the root of my experiences. An experience that I dressed up in the disguise of pressure, a phenomenon that I told myself I enjoyed. Pressure is defined as the weight or force that is produced when something presses or pushes against something else; the weight of the air in the Earth’s atmosphere; or force per unit of area. In other words, I am going to actively and continuously choose to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, incrementally adding more daily, and then try to not only engage in activities that require energy, but to feel happy and ambitious about them, and simultaneously telling myself I will not combust this time. Procrastination is sadistic, no matter how neatly you tie the bow around the justifications for holding on to so much and waiting for the right moment to get stuff done. My procrastination starts with not doing my dishes and mindless social media scrolling and ends in crash diets and all nighters cracked out on coffee to finish papers. And then I’m left in a state of confusion as to why my life, my goals, my passions, all seem to be stuck in a state of quicksand; spinning my wheels, expending excessive energy, and consumed with defeat. Literally living in a state of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The energy is in the present, the energy is in not allowing the space in the back of your mind to get so full with the things you are putting off, the energy of evolution begins in the daily habits and daily mantras. Combating procrastination begins in doing your dishes because how you do anything is how you do everything.

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