That heavy feeling creeps in, permeates your mind/body, and makes you want to crawl back under the covers...or reach for a drink, or a smoke, or maybe a box of chocolate chip cookies. Maybe even all three.
Most of us are downright terrified of this feeling. It’s so damn uncomfortable. It might be depression, anxiety, fear or anger.
Fear’s a big one. Fear of failure, fear of change, fear of not being good enough, fear of not living your life’s purpose, or your dream, or having enough money. Fear of things we have no control over.
How about writer’s block? Or just creativity block, in general. Amen to that one. Been there too many times to count.
I think we humans want to feel light and happy and joyful, all the time. Sometimes even just one or two days of feeling blue seems too much to bear.
But here’s the thing. I’ve learned some of my greatest lessons, and grown the most, when I’ve successfully navigated the stormy times.
I’m not knocking being happy, because, boy, it feels good and makes life a whole lot easier. But there is no greater feeling than having the courage to sit with that dreaded depression, or fear, or whatever it is – identify its source – and come out lighter and ready for a fresh start.
Like a summer storm. You see those dark clouds gathering, feel a shift in the atmosphere and then the heavens open up.
The best part might seem to be after the storm when you can smell the clean air, see the sun start to peak out from behind the clouds, and hear the birds singing again.
But every single part of the process is important. And necessary.
Even storm clouds are beautiful.
Can there be JOY in sadness? Can you find it while in the throes of grief or depression? I believe you can.
This revelation came to me after my partner, Ralph, died almost four years ago. While grieving my loss I started to have deeply moving moments of pure JOY remembering him with love. It would come out of the blue and make me both smile and cry.
It broke my heart open. But it was JOY. And that’s what helped to heal me. It gave me strength. I remember thinking, “This isn’t right. How can I be in such pain and feel joy at the same time? But I did.
And now when I find myself in that uncomfortable place of fear or anxiety or grief, I look back on that experience and know that I can get through anything.
It’s made a huge difference knowing how energy plays into this process. A knowledge of energy healing and the chakras can quickly help you identify where in your body lies whatever is making you sick, or depressed or anxious, etc.
Please don’t think that I’m making light of depression. Like with anything else, there are varying degrees of seriousness and for some people, it has been a lifelong struggle. These patterns can even come from past lives and seem inexplicable to the person in this lifetime trying to figure out the source.
My Ayurveda teacher, Maya Tiwari, states in her book “Women’s Power to Heal Through Inner Medicine”:
“Karma holds the golden key to healing. Healing comes directly from continual cleansing and ridding of karma. Healing also comes through wisdom – the process of awakening buddhi, the higher mind that holds the power of intuition, compassion, and resolve.”
While lots of people seem to come alive in the spring, others seem to find spring unbearable – especially those who live in places where long winters rob us of necessary Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Ayurveda has long understood the connection between Kapha dosha and depression. But you don’t have to be a Kapha-type to experience depression in the spring. Because spring is Kapha Season – and depending on our own constitution – we might feel sluggish, heavy, lethargic and depressed – all unbalanced Kapha traits. Anyone can have a Kapha imbalance.
Here are a few suggestions when that unwelcome feeling comes around:
- Before seeking out a distraction (food, drink, cigarette, TV), acknowledge the feeling and identify it. Is it depression? Anxiety? Fear? Anger?
- Try to suss out the source. Is it just the result of something that happened recently, or is it a pattern that we keep repeating over and over? Maybe as a child you dealt with your emotions by hiding, running away, or blaming someone else. We tend to repeat these childhood patterns over and over.
- Notice where you feel pressure or pain in your body. Print out this free chakra chart and you will soon be able to see/feel the connection between our emotions and the energy centers in our body.
- Sit with it for a bit. Even better, write about it. Doing this in Nature is the best way of all.
- Meditate! Meditation helps everything. Truly, it does.
- Take action to help move the feeling – which is nothing more than stuck energy – out of the body. You might feel scattered and ungrounded (1st/root chakra) and a walk in the woods or some gentle movement like yoga or t’ai chi can be just the thing to make you feel better. Hug a tree. Or maybe you’re having trouble expressing yourself (5th/throat chakra). Singing is just about the best thing for that. In fact, singing and dancing can often move stuck emotions better than anything else. For me, it’s often in the 4th/heart chakra where that feeling settles in. And when I need to flush it out, I watch either a sad or funny movie. There’s nothing like a good cry or laugh to lighten the energy in the heart center, which by the way, includes the lungs – where grief resides. And deep breathing helps everything.
- Pay attention to your dreams and write them down. My dreams are always particularly vivid and memorable when I’m going through a rough patch and they offer me clues as to what’s going on in my life. Animals almost always show up for me during these times. If this happens to you – Google the meaning behind the animal in your dream and see if it fits with your situation. You’ll be amazed!
- Seek professional help if you’re unable to move forward by yourself.
- And last, but not least, remember this experience and let it serve you well in the future.
It’s probably no coincidence that the seed for this article planted itself in me just weeks before the anniversary of Ralph’s death. I’d been thinking a lot about the subject because there are many people I hold dear who are struggling right now. Ralph himself (most definitely a Kapha-type) was suffering from depression in the spring months before he died.
It’s painful both to be in that space and to witness the people you love in pain. And so, I just want to reiterate, one last time –
Even storm clouds are beautiful.
Oh, and P.S. – Guess what’s always behind those clouds?