Picture this. A few years ago, I was at my weekly yoga class. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and the intensity of seasonal planning, parties, shopping and work pressure was building. At the end of the class, our teacher offered us a very simple practice. Something we could do whenever we felt overwhelmed, or perhaps wanted to punch someone. Something we could do when we were miles from our trusty yoga mat.
She suggested that we pay attention to our eyes. As we were battling Christmas shoppers in the city or psyching ourselves up for yet another argumentative family meal, she asked us to try softening our gaze. Rather than focusing intensely ahead, only considering the endgame, we were to allow our eyeballs to sink a bit deeper into the socket. She wanted us to allow our vision to take in whatever was in our periphery. She suggested that doing this would help to relax our nervous system, it would calm our breath and help us to soften to everything around us.
I tried it. I softenend my gaze when I felt stress rising. I noticed what was in my peripheral vision. Such a low tech solution was surprisingly powerful. I could feel my whole face softening. I stopped holding my breath. I’m sure I was more pleasant to look at and such a small shift automatically brought a smile to my face. Game Changer.
I think fertility treatment can be a bit like Christmas (stick with me). It’s supposed to be perfect, twinkling and joy filled. Instead, it’s often intense, ugly and upsetting. There are lots of things to think about and many people to consider. Planning, preparing and staying focused can be exhausting and exclusive – it can exclude joy. It can exclude big picture thinking and dreaming into the future.
Does that sound familiar? Have you found yourself putting off decisions about holidays, triathlon training or career because you might be pregnant in a few months? Or perhaps the question of what kind of house you’d like to buy is long fingered, because you have no idea how many bedrooms you’ll need.
It’s important to make space in your life for the new human you’re hoping to welcome. It’s also important to notice what’s going on in your peripheral vision, to welcome joy into your life right now. When did you last have fun, just for the sake of it? When did you last sing, dance, move your body simply because you felt like it? If you allow your gaze to go really wide and imagine how your future home might look or where your career is heading, what do you see?
I know it’s scary. Hell, I’ve been there and I’ve forgotten to soften my gaze. I need constant reminding.
I’m inviting you to try out that simple suggestion made by a beautiful wise woman in my life. A suggestion that changed my experience of a time that can just be plain ol’ ugly, stressful, upsetting and exhausting. Give yourself permission to colour outside the lines, to have fun just for the sake of it and to dream beyond your single pointed focus. What does it look like? How does it feel to soften your edges and stop holding your breath?
Take the risk, it’s the only way. Join The Fertility Companion Community for support and inspiration. Register below for my free Sanity Guide to Fertility Treatment and be part of a growing community of people who want to THRIVE on their fertility journey. My 6 week programme will open for registration soon and you’ll be the first to hear about it when it does.