Michele Paiva: Zen Psychotherapist | The Washington at Historic Yellow Springs
We know how stressful wedding planning can be, and the strain that it can put on your relationships with your (soon to be) spouse, family, and friends, so we asked Michele Paiva, an eco-zen licensed psychotherapist with advanced training in mindfulness, immunology, trauma, and weight-loss for advice.
First, what is “eco-zen”?
“A lot of people ask me what eco-zen is, and it is a combination of both eco-psychotherapy and zen-psychotherapy; I mesh together the importance of syncing to the natural world and owning intuition and intellect as natural states of being, as well as components and teaching of zen buddhism which is touted as the first true study of psychology.
As you know, brides are often under a tremendous amount of stress, and often pressure to please their family, their S.O.’s family, etc. What advice do you have to help them to better handle the roller coaster of emotions that they may experience?
“Some brides (many) put a lot of importance on their wedding day itself, and thus, they bring stress on. Once the decisions are made, there are certain areas that are simply out of their control and to stress over the future is not going to help the present moment to be enjoyable. I think, no- I know, that many brides miss out on the beauty of the present moment because they are so entangled in their own anxiety. Although the wedding unto itself is a celebration of the couple, the pleasing of the family is real; real because it is also the meshing of families. Families and friends who are like family, are the very reason that the wedding, rather than just the vows, is taking place. I think it is important to honor suggestions but keep firm boundaries but, in those boundaries, to always behave with respect. This goes for families also; the couple are opening their day to include you, and that unto itself is a gift, try to let them express themselves fully.
1. Stay present.
2. Be respectful and realize weddings and other larger celebrations like family gatherings at holidays, tends to bring out everyones coping issues and techniques. Allow everyone to express themselves even if you don’t like what they are saying. Ask everyone to put it in writing so that you can read it when you get to it (on your time).
3. Keep wedding communication to a facet of your life, not all of it. The more you talk about it, or worse, complain, the more you open yourself up to opinions and fuel more of the same energy- talk, opinions, complaints.
4. Watch your self-regulation. If you are getting stressed, don’t expect that your vibe won’t catch on. Think of this- imagine you are seated in a dental chair. The dentist walks in. He is stressed and shaking. How do you feel? You are just as ‘catchy’ as the dentist. If you want everyone calm around you, then you need to try to stay calm too. If you feel others are beginning to get power-hungry, check how you are carrying yourself, etc. It’s not all on you, but don’t forget that you have to own that you are a contributor of the atmosphere of your own pre-wedding planning.
5. If you are searching for perfection, stop! Create what you love, part of true love is vulnerability and acceptance. If you can apply that to your relationship, then apply it to your wedding”.
*In addition to her traditional practices, Michele Paiva is a yoga therapist and uses yoga as well as other non-dialogue strategies to help individuals express their emotions and work on self-healing. She also trains and certifies peers in integrative adult and pediatric yoga therapy nationally, and works with BodyMind Institute in international training and certification of life and business coaching. Check out her website, michelepaiva.com for more information.