It seems like yesterday when I went to my first yoga class. In fact I remember feeling like it was much harder work than it looked watching others, but that I also felt amazing afterwords. There were other things that happened as well in the early days. One weekly class that I signed up for had me crying on my mat every week! I was in the midst of ending a long-term relationship and the deep sadness from that ending came up mostly in yoga class (where there was space for it to come forward and be released). UnfortunateIy at that time, I was so embarrassed that I stopped attending that class.
After a number of years of practicing breathing, yoga, meditation, and silent retreats, I noticed that suffering only ever ‘happened’ to me for two reasons. 1. When I did not get what I wanted, and 2. When I didn’t want what I had.
I also noticed that when I was able to drop down into my heart (by returning to the present moment) and get out of my head (my head was usually in the 'past' or 'future'), that everything would ease and feel infinitely better very quickly.
I had been practicing insight meditation, gestalt counselling, breathwork, shamanic and silent retreats, kundalini and hatha yoga, and studying with a spiritual teacher for about 10 years at this point. Having a daily practice was always my mainstay, as it consistently brought me back to myself.
The practice of living in the present could only come forward after cultivating an awareness of this inner landscape. Learning to listen to my body was the first gateway to this awareness, and breathwork and meditation for me, has been instrumental in cultivating this awareness.
That’s the key, I thought to myself. It’s really as simple as staying in the moment. Sure make plans, and even goals, just don’t get too attached to things having to go the way I think they should. Also, learn to relax about life when it does not feel ‘perfect’ in any given moment.
This simple change of understanding made things infinitely easier in my life. And this simple change was possible because of the awareness that doing these daily practices had brought into my life.
I invite you to notice that when you get caught thinking "I don’t like where I am" or "I should be somewhere else", that’s when you suffer. It’s really so simple and yet can also be so challenging for most of us to remember, especially when things feel particularly tough. The other problem is that when we’re down, we tend to have a negative perception, we think it should be more difficult and then proceed to make it so, but it does not have to be. It is always a choice. A moment-by-moment choice.
Any practice that helps you get out of your mind and into your heart will ultimately help you to live in the present more and consequently suffer less. If done consciously, breathwork, yoga, and meditation will help with this a great deal.
In this podcast Sahaj interviews Mandy Walker, divorce expert and mediator. Mandy and Sahaj discuss some of the common mistakes people make when newly entering into the ‘divorce’ territory. Specifically Mandy speaks about 4 practical suggestions to help take the emotion out of the divorce process, so that you can enter into this territory with a clear head that will enable you to make decisions that are more sound and supportive to your success.
Transition is a tricky game. It can leave you feeling scattered like a leaf blown through the skies in the wind, or fragile like a newborn baby. It can leave you feeling sad, having to let go of the things you once knew, or free, feeling like the burdens of the past no longer weigh heavy on your shoulders. Sometimes transition can leave us feeling a little ‘unglued’ so to speak, so we keep ourselves overly busy so that we don’t have to slow down and feel those sometimes terrifying things called emotions…
Have you ever seen this happen with anyone you know? Your girlfriend is freaked out by a bad breakup. Immediately afterwords, she goes out and buys a new wardrobe, or a big trip, or immerses herself in other activities that make her very busy. Perhaps she dove into her kids lives, or a new hobby, or a new group or sport. None of these things in themselves are inherently negative, in fact they can be extremely supportive if they are used with awareness. If they are mere reactions to the breakup, and distractions from the ensuing emotions, then they may not be that helpful. Or perhaps they may give temporary relief which helps to move through a certain painful segment, and in that relaxation, emotions can more fully emerge. In the end it is all okay, sooner or later we will have to come back to our body and emotions.
If we do not allow the emotions to emerge, they can sometimes re-emerge and bite us in the butt. We all have them, so it’s really a human thing, and an art, to being able to allow them to move through us without overtaking us completely, nor denying them. Sometimes they will overtake us for a time, and that is okay too.
Some signs of pent-up emotions:
What to do if you suspect that you are holding your emotions back?
What happens when your emotions really begin to let loose?
Many women feel like if they allow their emotions to go unchecked, that they will really lose it and will not be able to stop (screaming, crying, you name it). Yet, if you allow them to flow, they will stop. It may take some time, but they will stop. Trust me, I know.
I was 32 and had just signed up for a set of kundalini yoga classes. I was in the midst of a breakup with someone I thought I was going to marry and have kids with. Every class ended with me lying there in a pile of tears. It was a devastating time, and completely embarrassing to have strangers see me like this. But it happened, and I moved on. I doubt if anyone other than the teacher even noticed.
It is completely normal for us to have any range of emotions as we’re going through big transitions in our lives. The question is not so much then, will I have emotions or how to deal with my emotions, it’s more to make peace with them. They are an integral part of us, and a part that we must allow ourselves to experience if we want to move on in our lives.
Beyond your emotions…
I remember saying to a trusted mentor one time ‘I am finally in balance, now all I need to do is to stay this way.’ Hahahaha. Good one.
It doesn’t work that way. Being alive means feeling those sometimes painful emotions. Falling in love, opening up to others, having human contact of any sort will leave you vulnerable to your emotions. That one simple reminder that you too are a human being, fallible, imperfectly perfect.
Is the flip side worth living? An existence where you feel some things, sometimes, but not all things, and where you love a little, but not fully.
The Prophet sums it up perfectly in his chapter on Love, as follows:
“But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the season-less world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”