My heart aches. It’s not a giant heartache, but it’s a heart ache nonetheless. I’m transitioning through a life change, and I don’t like it, but it’s necessary. I have the consolation that I’ve been here many times before – sometimes in a lighter way, sometimes in a much heavier way. I know that the only way out is through. A friend of mine told me to keep busy. While appreciate the sentiment, I’ve learned that keeping busy is not healthy for me. In fact, the quickest most efficient route through this is right through the heart of it.
I have a meditation book by Rolf Gates. It’s called Meditations from the Mat, and, every time I pick up my yoga practice, I also pick up this book. He’s also in recovery, so our paths are similar. The readings aren’t dated, so I usually pick it up and trust God to show me exactly what I need to hear. This morning’s reading was about taking care of ourselves. He was in the military, and he was an alcoholic. He didn’t take care of his body or his spirit, but he eventually realized that the people that were the happiest were the ones that took care of themselves and their lives. It was an outward manifestation of their love for themselves.
If someone I love is hurting, I treat them with gentleness. I give them space, and I encourage them to feel their feelings. It would stand to reason that I would do that for myself if I truly loved myself. For so long, that’s not what I did. If I was hurting, I’d get busy medicating. I’d eat ice cream by the gallons. When I was young, I’d drink to the point of blacking out. I’d jump headlong into some chaotic busy situation in order to distract myself. This stuff gives my body more stress instead of less. It gives me more that I have to handle than what I’m going through. And, I may forget the hurt while I’m doing it, but, in the middle of the night when my mind is quiet, I’ll jolt awake with pain and disturb my sleep. I’ll get a knot in my stomach from trying to hold it in. I’ll get a headache from holding back the tears. I get irritable because what I really want to do is to curl up in somebody’s lap and cry, but I’m treating myself like a machine. My lack of kind attention to myself makes me mad… and in turn I get mad at everything else. It’s called high alert.
I believe that God crafted me before birth perfectly for my journey. He did NOT craft me and then say, “Listen, I’m going to give you these very powerful emotions, but I don’t want you to use them. I want you to bury them and ignore them because they serve no purpose. Just keep busy.” Women and men experience emotion very differently, although we all have them. They are drivers for women. I feel them as powerful forces that surge through my body enlivening all of my cells and organs in energy. In grief, they produce a low energy that I experience as fatigue. In anger, I experience high energy that allows to me to flee or fight. I shut them down for so long, and I was not able to ride them through to see where they would bring me. The first few times I let myself ride a particularly powerful emotion was scary. It was like an out-of-control roller coaster ride that I was afraid would last forever. My guides told me that it would move through me and stop at some point. It did. And, after it was gone, I felt cleaner and healthier than I’d ever felt. I felt alive. I felt enormous freedom with nothing bottled up inside.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I have this body, and it comes with some emotions that tell me when it’s time to stop something because it hurts. They tell me when to keep doing something because it brings me joy. They tell me who to have in my life and who to kick out. I can’t tell you how many times my gut has told me that someone is not good for me, and I chose to ignore it because the “facts” didn’t point to that. Somewhere down the line, the “facts” fell apart, and I discovered my gut knew the truth from the very beginning. For efficiency’s sake, if I’d listened to my gut, I’d have saved myself a lot of pain and misery. My body is the earthly home of my spirit. Like Rolf discovered, if I really care about myself, I’ll treat my body …. and my emotions … with the same tenderness that I’d give a hurting friend or animal. I know that this low energy of grief over a loss will move through me in time. I’ll give myself time without putting too many expectations on myself. I’ll remind myself that this will end, and it will not kill me. And I’ll wisely tell myself that the only way out is through.