How To Feel Better
Hello, and seriously, how are you?
I'm always interested in how you're doing and especially this week because frankly, I've been struggling and I'm wondering if it's just me ... ??
When I'm down or discouraged I like to ask myself, "So now what do I do?". Often, the first part of the solution is to "do" nothing. Simply allowing myself to "be" with something is a start. I get in touch with what it feels like in my body to be uncomfortable or worried or scared. In the quiet I find my center and try to listen for my soul's voice over my noisy ego. I notice whether I've blown something out of proportion or if I'm allowing one, small detail to disproportionately "color" or influence the bigger picture. What I've just described sounds so calm and sane, doesn't it? Ha! This all tends to happen after I've thrown a hissy fit or fallen apart in a hot mess.
Over the weekend, that's exactly what happened. I received the saddest news about a dear friend's fiance dying suddenly at a very young age and I broke into pieces. I sobbed uncontrollably. I started calling friends, one after the other, and sending texts and messages. I found myself ranting and raging in my mind about politics, COVID, racism, disempowerment, and everything and everyone I was labeling "stupid". While I could easily justify most of it, I realized it wasn't helping me feel better.
This week's MQ helped me move forward:
"Are you fighting against something or for something? Can you feel the difference? I recommend leaning towards for."
When I help people, in a group class, with stress management techniques and especially when I'm teaching new ways to deal with physical pain, I have a favorite, simple exercise. People pair off and sit facing each other. One person makes a fist and thrusts it right in front of the other person. The person "receiving" the fist begins by holding their hand open and pushing back as hard as they can. I encourage both people to really use force in pressing against each other. When I have them stop, we discuss how it made them feel. People usually talk about how their whole body felt tense and strained while also feeling generally stressed, pressured, and agitated and even unkindly toward the other person. Next, I have the first person once again make a fist and direct it to the other person. Instead of resisting, I have that person gently take hold of the fist, usually with both hands, and lean in to actually caress the clenched hand. I love hearing how both people will say that after a moment of surprise, they almost melted into each other. They describe a feeling of support and caring and collaboration instead of opposition or even hostility. Many of us, myself included, have been pushing against so much this year. Sometimes it's conscious and other times we're not even aware how much it's become our normal. Either way, it's exhausting, nerve-wracking, and unhealthy. It creates anxiety and eventually a sense of hopelessness. We convince ourselves that we need to go up against and fight for what we want even though it might destroy us. I'm all for standing up for what's right and I want to be around to enjoy those results. Dealing with difficulties is part of life, however I've learned that using brute force against what I don't like only messes me up. Without ignoring safety, I've found that opening up, being vulnerable, and approaching situations with self-love and extending that beyond myself is where I find comfort. I love the statement attributed to Alexander Hamilton, "When you stand for nothing, you fall for anything.". Stand and rally for what's important to you. Don't waste so much time using your energy against things. This is what I wish for you.
Sparkles and Love,