Yesterday I felt cranky and kind of down, on and off, throughout the day. Now I'm feeling better, but yesterday was yuck. Not all of it, but some of it. And I feel like it's important to share that since most of what I share on social media and in my blogs is mostly pretty perky and positive. Gotta keep it real, right?! ;-)
So, yesterday I felt cranky and kind of down.
Maybe it was from hearing more sirens than usual--even though I'd also noticed that the previous day and didn't really let it get to me.
Maybe it was from hearing we have another 30 days of staying at home--even though I like staying home and have been handling it quite well the past two weeks.
Maybe it was because I had to send an email to someone who owes me money--even though because of what's happening in the world it would be understandable if this month's the payment needs to be late or can't be paid in full.
Maybe it was just hormones. Day 1 of my cycle is right around the corner. Maybe it's just part of my ebb and flow...
Maybe it's all of this. Maybe it's more.
Maybe it's feeling the collective consciousness.
Maybe it's catching glimpses of disturbing headlines/titles when scrolling through YouTube on my iPad while I'm just trying to find a yoga video or something silly to watch.
Maybe it's because I got an email with some really great news but didn't even feel like I could fully celebrate it because... it's too hard to explain in a vague way, and I don't want to share the whole story yet. But there's something I've been dreaming of doing for a long time, and it needs to be put on hold, despite some recent good news.
Speaking of putting things on hold--here's the last one...
Maybe it's because of grieving the loss of taking Burlesque 101 this Spring, after a few years of putting off signing up--even though I could have agreed to an online version. No. That's not the experience I want. And so I'll wait.
That was my yesterday. My yesterday morning and afternoon.
And then it got better.
I met with a private student online.
Then I taught Awakening the Soul online.
Then I attended Inward Journey online. Inward Journey is a 6-month program I'm in at the Center for Spiritual Living. AND I AM LOVING IT.
So, although most of the day felt kind of icky and uncomfortable, heavy, not so good, I moved through it. And there were even some really wonderful parts of the day and night, too.
So, it's not always all sunshine and flowers in my world. But it also doesn't have to be all dark clouds and mud. We can have both.
"No mud, no lotus." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It's okay to feel cranky sometimes. It's okay to feel down.
As my private student said last night when I was sharing the "I'm so cute" mantra, "you can feel cranky AND be cute." Yes, when we first got started and she asked me how I was, I told her the truth. I told her I'd been feeling cranky on and off throughout the day. And she gave me permission, just as I would give others. What a gift!
That was yesterday, too: a gift.
Every day, no matter what does or does not happen, every day is a gift.
So, what are you grateful for right now? Take a breath and ask yourself. Consider writing it down.
One reason I've been feeling so good is because of establishing a sense of continuity and normalcy in my routine--as much as possible. And the biggest example of that in my life is that as soon as I found out my in-person classes were cancelled, I moved forward with setting up online classes for Sheng Zhen meditation and qigong.
There are many things we cannot change or control. But this was something I could do to create a sense of continuity and normalcy both for myself and for my regular students. And I knew that would be just as good for our physical and mental health as the practices themselves.
So, after getting the email about class cancellations on a Thursday night, 12 hours after having just taught a class, I emailed some of my students to say stay tuned. And the next day I set up the online classes. I didn't wait for permission. I didn't wait for where I usually teach to come up with an online plan. I knew that on Tuesday I would still be teaching. And I'd teach every Tuesday and Thursday no matter what.
I felt proactive. Of service. And crystal clear.
In addition to it being my joy, I knew, without a doubt, that my regular students would want this. And I knew others would benefit from it too, so I put the word out to the general public.
And it's been amazing. The place I usually teach at on Tuesdays and Thursdays even got their own online plan together and so now even more people are showing up via Zoom!
And students are sharing about how it makes them smile, brings calm, and just how helpful it is now. For my regular students, I'm sure part of the benefit is that sense of continuity, and even "normalcy" even though we're online rather than in person.
So back to that idea of continuity and normalcy in times of big changes and uncertainty....
Like I said above, it's helpful for our health. Especially our mental health. We can't control everything, but there are some things we can control. There are still ways in which we can exercise choice in a way that serves us best.
The truth is, for me, life isn't all that much different because, in addition to being a homebody, I mostly work from home anyway. But the other day while walking my dog, I was thinking that if I were somebody who commuted each day, not just twice a week, this whole "stay at home" thing would probably feel hard and strange.
So, here are some ideas if you're struggling with staying home, especially if you used to work away from home:
1) If you normally commute, consider taking a drive if you have a car, even just a short one during at least one of the times that you're usually on the road. Or go for a walk or bike ride at that time. Or go out into your yard if you have one.
2) As much as possible, maintain the same kind of schedule you had before. If your kids are home, too, maybe this is not fully possible, but hopefully at least somewhat possible. Or maybe you adapt your schedule so that you can fit in some of your "normal" activities before the kids get up or after they go to sleep?
3) If you're not already participating in online group activities (ie meetings, dances, my classes, etc.), consider participating in some group online activities--especially at the times that you used to, before things changed. For example, if you used to attend yoga classes, find a yoga class online, or just practice on your own at that time. Or if you always went out for dinner or a movie or a walk with a certain friend or group of friends, set up some sort of virtual hang out. And if you don't like the group idea? Video call a friend or family member. Reach out. Find ways to connect and interact with others.
I'm going to just leave you with that. I might have some other ideas, but I also am considering rewriting and expanding this to submit to an online journal, in which case it's best not to write it all here first! ;-)
Just get creative. This is a great time to learn how to adapt and think outside the box. It's also a great time to slow down and do some self-reflecting. And it's also a great time to feel your feelings. It's okay if you're feeling sad, scared, anxious, bored, lonely, frustrated, etcetera. I just don't want you to get stuck in those emotions.
And I'm here if you need some support.
IT’S OKAY TO BE HAPPY.
I’ve been feeling pretty fantastic lately, which feels even more amazing because it almost seems as if I’m not supposed to be happy right now. But I am. And that’s okay. You can be happy too. We don’t have to let what’s going on in the world right now take over. We do need to take certain precautions, care for ourselves and others, and respect the current public health and safety recommendations. But we can still feel happy while doing that. It’s possible.
IT’S OKAY TO FEEL SAD.
Maybe you don’t feel happy. Maybe you feel sad, freaked out, stressed out, depressed. Maybe on the outside you look fine but inside you’re a mess. And maybe my happiness even bothers you. That’s okay. Just know that I also felt sad, freaked out, stressed out at times, but then something shifted. I mostly feel good. But yesterday I had a moment of sadness, when I had to ask some woman not to pet my dog. There are ups and downs. There always are.
JUST FEEL WHAT YOU’RE FEELING.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling good right now. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad right now. There’s nothing wrong with being all over the map. So just let yourself be. Let yourself feel. And let others feel what they’re feeling too.
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY.
My heart goes out to those who are struggling. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. We need to take this seriously, but also welcome levity.
Although I have been feeling pretty fantastic lately, there are some things that freak me out and stress me out a bit about what’s happening in the world right now. But I’m not going to get stuck in my thoughts about that.
I’m not going to dim my light or hold back my tears. I’m going to feel it all and keep shining bright in the face of my fears.
Even when I feel down, dark, sad, frustrated, scared, and confused, deep down inside, I know all will be well. Thanks to my Sheng Zhen practice and other spiritual practices and beliefs, I feel rooted in the bliss at my core and know this current situation will pass.
And I have faith in humanity. We can learn from this. We can grow from this. It may not be easy. It may be uncomfortable. But we are resilient and intelligent beings. We are creative, too.
So, yes, feel your feelings and know it’s okay to not feel good right now. But also consider getting creative. What can you do to feel a little better when feeling blue? Maybe giving yourself permission to cry is what you need. Maybe going for a walk and feeling the sun and/or breeze against your skin. Maybe painting or drawing, writing, or cooking. Pulling weeds. Making a video. Playing a song. Dancing. Daydreaming. Meditating. Moving… What is it that you need when you’re feeling down? Sometimes it’s to just simply be right where you are, feeling stuck in those feelings, but sometimes it’s to move through them to move out of them. So, ask yourself, and be honest: what do you need to feel your best right now, even if it’s not going to be a sparkly happy kind of “best”?
If your answer is something you can do, then do it. If it's something like "a hug" but you're alone, well... I am considering creating a guided meditation/visualization for helping your body feel like it's receiving a warm embrace! But until then, just try imagining it on your own or let the earth hug you by lying down on the grass somewhere or even just your floor. This is just one example of something you might need in the moment when you ask yourself what you need--an example I use because "a hug" is often what I need! But I am a pro at finding other ways to get this need met when a hug can't be found. So stay tuned for more on that. Yes, I think a guided meditation or video is about to get added to my "ta da" list!
Until then, breathe deep. Feel your feelings. Stay healthy. Be well!
I just came home from walking Buddy, and I must’ve written about 4 articles in my head--or at least the beginnings of those articles. I’m good at that--thinking of the beginning for a great article, book, etc. But then I get sidetracked, like right now. So, back to the walk! ;)
First, I just felt so happy that I started writing something in my head about feelings, moods, ups and downs. But then I started to wonder, “Is it just the coffee?”
I started drinking coffee this year. Instead of a new year’s resolution to stop drinking coffee, I resolved to start! No joke. For real.
Not every day. But sometimes, especially on days dedicated to working on getting my book done--a book about detoxing. How ironic! Right? Is that the correct use of the word “ironic?” I still get confused about that sometimes...
But coffee! Back to the coffee. Although all this covid-19 craziness threw me off of my book editing schedule, I was drinking some coffee even on non-book-editing-days, just to perk me up a bit. Again, not every day, but enough to mistake heartburn for possible signs of coronavirus! Yep. I shit you not. I was freaked out for a second there.
I’d never had acid reflux before, but after a few days of telling myself I was just having a bad reaction to inhaling clorox wipes, I remembered that one of the symptoms of heartburn is the strange feeling I was experiencing in my throat. So I cut out the coffee for a few days, and my throat feels normal again.
So, naturally, I decided to drink some coffee this morning now that I concluded my experiment! And that is why I wondered if it was just the coffee making me feel so incredibly happy this morning.
It’s probably not just the coffee, but I want to write more about that another time. Soon....
Right now, I want to share more about this “Curiosity Walk.”
My thoughts about feelings got interrupted by a strong smell. “Is that weed?!” I wondered, as I scrunched up my nose and looked around. “Or is it a skunk?”
I don’t think there are skunks around here. Someone must’ve been out on their porch smoking right before I walked by. And that nostalgic smell got me thinking about how long it’s been since I smoked. I can’t remember the last time, it’s been so long. But I could remember the first time, back in high school. And that is definitely a whole other story. Perhaps another time…
My thoughts of weed and high school got interrupted by a loud sound. “Is that a woodpecker?” I wondered. It sure sounded like one other than just how loud it was. Maybe it was some sort of power tool?
Pretty sure it was a woodpecker, but I felt curious. And then I noticed a house that had recently been painted bright blue, and they had a big pile of soil outside and some new landscaping in the works. I wondered if they’re preparing to sell or just doing this upgrading for themselves. Whatever the reason, I felt really happy looking at their bright blue house, their dark brown soil, and all the new plantlife in their front yard. Life goes on...
And that’s when I realized that this was not just a curiosity walk, but a sensory presencing walk. Is that a real term? Or did I just make it up? Sensory presencing… I used to call it a “sensory smorgasbord.” I used to lead gatherings where I’d lead people through a guided meditation, focusing on one sense at a time. Sometimes there was food involved. I also wrote about it in my book, The Multi-Orgasmic Diet.
And then it all came full circle.
This is one reason I’m happy even when times are tough. I am aware. I am in my body. I engage with my senses. I have a playful, curious mind. And I let the simple things delight me and fulfill me.
Not always. But often. Sometimes I forget. But usually I remember--or don’t even need to remember. It’s become pretty natural. And now I’m curious again, wondering if it became natural or if it was always who I was. Is this actually how we all start off when we come into the world? Does the process of growing up dull our senses, take us out of our bodies and into our heads?
And there I go again, into my head. ;) Nothing wrong with that. It's fun to think about things. But sometimes when I'm looking at a screen, I forget to breathe, or don't breathe deep. And I'm craving some movement now. So, I’ll stop this here. It’s time to roll out the yoga mat.... It's time to breathe.
How about you? What are you curious about? And what will you do today to drop into your body?
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."