It’s been an… interesting week. Interesting if you think depression is interesting, that is. Which I do. I think it’s interesting how my external circumstances can remain the same while my internal one can change the way I perceive it, to the point where I feel very dissatisfied with my life, my work, and most of all myself.
Not very fun though. I felt really good after identifying some of the actual and abstract feelings weighing me down (thanks for all your kind wishes, it means a lot, I mean imagine if fragile ole’ me wrote a post like that and was met with pure silence! Eek! So thank you again), then the next day did not co-operate at all and I found myself in an even deeper slump.
It wasn’t meant to go like that.
But rather than trying to dodge, duck and escape my feelings, I tried something else – showing up in my life as I was. I wrote this post on Facebook to describe my method:
“Today I’m practicing the spiritual practice of showing up as I am. I’m a bit happy and a lot sad, and I’m not sure why. Today I made a mental gratitude list, went to yoga, had a delicious coffee, did some work, went for a walk, had a nice lunch, did some more work and made a nutricious dinner while shedding a few cleansing tears (I caught them before they hit the sauce).
My boyfriend gave me a hug and didn’t try to fix me which made me feel so much better in itself. So instead of asking how you are today, who are you? Because whoever you happen to be today is fine with me, for we are all in this human thing together. Sending unconditional love xo”
That didn’t fix it, by the way.
The next day I woke up feeling a bit lighter. I love mornings, so if I’m feeling down I always try to get an early night so the morning comes quicker. I’m not sure when I made this shift from night-owl to morning lover (maybe since becoming a sober, traveling, writing, yogi, I dunno). By mid afternoon I may have had my feelings hurt ten times and resent five people (four of whom I’ve never met), but in the mornings, I’m a clean slate – open and free to the love and good will of the universe (as long as it brings a strong Cafe latte, stat).
So Monday I got my butt down to yoga, knowing it was the ‘next right thing’ for me to do. I arrived to the usual flurry of air kisses before taking my place on the parquet floor next to my friend Jorge (not our Jorge, another one, I guess it’s the Mexican name-equivalent of Dave).
“How was your weekend?” he beamed happily.
Jorge is always happy, at least he seems to be. I reciprocated his smile, but thought about my answer for blurting out an automated ‘fine thanks’. In a split second I thought back to my pledge to own my feelings, rather than pretending they didn’t exist.
“Umm, not so great,” I responded, rather neutrally.
“Why? The weather was great!” He replied. “What was wrong?”
“Just my thinking,” I answered truthfully.
“Aaah,” he said, seeming to understand. “Just smoke a joint!” he laughed.
I laughed too. “If only it were that easy,” I replied light-heatedly.
“When your head is bad, just smoke a joint and forget about it.”
I really wish you could hear his Mexican accent telling me this. Fogedabowdit.
I felt a slight pang of jealously toward the people for whom smoking a joint can cure them of their mental illness (given that those people actually exist).
Fuck them, I thought, irrationally, before sitting in the lotus position and chanting Omm.
The class was good. A new teacher. I went with the flow. It wasn’t a tough class but I felt sluggish and took a small rest in the middle.
After class Jorge questioned me again.
“You got tired, huh?”
“Yes, a little.”
“Why? You usually strong woman!”
“Not today,” I answered with a smile.
The rest of the day I thought about how upside down we have everything. I was grateful to Jorge for bringing it to my attention and reminding me how deceiving appearances can be.
Pushing myself on the yoga mat, twisting myself into precarious positions and challenging my physical stamina, that’s easy for me. It’s also easy for me to show up for my life when I’m feeling happy, joyous and free. Like, really easy.
It’s easy when it’s easy…
But it’s not easy for me to accept my limits on certain days, to send myself compassion when I am feeling like a layer of skin is missing, or to take a rest on my yoga mat in the middle of class. And whilst those not-so-easy things may look like weakness, they are really strength.
Admitting that my thinking is off, that I’m not feeling great and that I need to be gentle with myself, is really tough. It makes me vulnerable, and removes yet another of the many masks I’ve collected over my life-time in order to hide who I really am.
Choosing to not take a drink or a drug or pick up any other kind of mask; to sit with gnawing discomfort and allow it to be, all while clinging to the deep, inner knowing that it will pass and joy is on its way, just as soon as I am given the lesson I need to learn, is really freaking brave, if I do say so myself.
And I do.
For living raw is not just about raw pain, but also raw love, raw joy and raw exhilaration, and I get to experience sooooo much more of the latter because of the way I choose to live my life today.