Some of you may have heard from me about it or guessed it from the silence, but I've been in a bit of a slump myself. If in 2020 I was able to keep redirecting and seeing the glass half-full, 2021 felt like the glass was empty and overfilling all at once.
The clouds are clearing now, but I wanted to share some thoughts that came up for me through this process:
- like the expectations that because I do yoga, meditate and have the tools that I know can make me feel better I shouldn't struggle, I shouldn't feel this way or I should be able to bounce back and feel good quicker, faster, more consistently.
- or the thoughts that denied my feelings and experience - knowing that it could be way worse and it is way worse for so many people, I shouldn't complain and struggle, I should be grateful and count my blessings.
Notice how many times 'should' is appearing here? And when has a 'should' really helped us feel better? When has a 'should' made you feel worse?
It was interesting to see how the tools that normally support me, started feeling heavy and forcing myself to do them was actually adding to the stress.
There was something within me that recognised that through my well-intended self-care I'm trying to run from what is and I'm approaching my practice with a need to fix, to find a solution or change this discomfort, this uncertainty I'm resisting. This uncertainty we don't really have control over, do we?
It reminded me of this Buddhist saying that our Suffering = Pain x Resistance.
And how much do we add to our pain by having this false idea that we should always feel good? That when we don't feel good something has gone wrong?
Yet to be human is to feel it all. What is more human or more natural than to go through changes, the seasons of expansion and contraction, to be challenged with things that are outside of our control, to experience loss and suffering in life, to feel the spectrum of all emotions?
And when I come closer to accepting that I don't need to feel better, it starts to feel easier. But it only happens as a side effect, not if I chase it as a goal. Have you experienced it too?
I shouldn't say this as a yoga teacher, but sometimes yoga for me is not to do yoga. Not to try to fix something, no to try to change what I do in the present moment, not to read more self-help books, not to set rigid rules or routines that if broken make me feel worse, not to be more productive with my time.
Not to try making myself a more perfect version of myself, but rather get closer to being a human and accepting my humanity - the imperfect, messy, scrolling, changing, feeling, breathing selves that we are.
Let me share the below gem that inspired some thoughts for this wellness letter and brought more fun into my days.