People don’t believe me when I say that sometimes practicing self-love sucks. But have you ever had one of those days when you just want to get the f*ck out? Your mind might be racing. And it’s not even that you can’t sit still, it’s that you don’t want to stop moving. Because if you stop moving, you’ll have to feel all the shit you’ve been trying to run away from. So you watch episode after episode of some TV series on Netflix. (There are like 8 seasons of Charmed, FYI.) Or you turn to food. Or alcohol. Shopping. Sex. Facebook. Checking your email 8,000 times.
Recently, I’ve been going through A LOT of soul growth, and as a dear friend once told me, “Transformation is way less fun than I thought it would be.” Truer words have never been uttered. Transformation is awesome, awful, painful, empowering, and it’ll tear you up and spit you out. Sometimes (a lot of times) I don’t know what to do with all the emotions that come up around it. I’m highly sensitive, as I know most of you are, which is a wonderful gift and can also feel like WAY TOO MUCH!
I also come from a long line of addicts, and let’s just say the gene definitely didn’t skip a generation. Sometimes it’s by sheer willpower that I don’t give in to my own addictive patterns and behaviors. And sometimes I still do. That’s okay. Here are some things that work for me on those days when all I want to do is crawl out of my skin, escape, shut down, turn off and I know that I can’t because I’ve come too far.
1. Sit. Just. Sit. Down. Take a breath. And then another. Feel your magnificent, beating heart. Feel that pain you’re in? That’s a good sign. Because that means you’re feeling. And because pain is THE BEST WAY to heal, transform, shift, and make the changes in your life that you’ve been asking for.
2. Create. Paint your heart out. Make it messy. Write a poem to your darkness. Make jewelry. Cook. The process of creation transforms that manic, “I need to get out of my body” energy and channels it into objects and symbols. That, my friend, is some serious magic. (Side story: When I was in treatment one summer I channeled all of my energy into knitting. Everyone got scarves that Christmas.)
3. Or destroy. Part of creation is destruction. So tear, rip, cut, smash. I have a stack of old magazines reserved for the sole purpose of cutting up.
4. Cry. Loudly, quietly, slobbery sobs where you can’t catch your breath, or soft, silent tears that roll down your cheeks. Whether it’s on your meditation cushion, your yoga mat, a friend’s shoulder, or falling apart on the tiled floor of your shower, that energy’s gotta go somewhere. What’s that quote about salt water being the cure for everything…?
5. Call someone. This one comes with a caveat, though. I have a lot of friends who are coaches, which is AWESOME! But when I call them in a “just let me fall apart” moment, I don’t need to be coached. I just need to be heard. So either know in advance who can hold your space, or tell them, “Please just listen with compassion and don’t be offended if I use the f* word a lot. I’m not yelling at you.” Which brings me to my next point.
6. Ask for what you need. Sometimes it’s a nap. Sometimes it’s food. Sometimes it’s quiet time, to crawl into our little cave and hibernate. Maybe it’s a walk by yourself, or with your best friend. When you ask for what you need from the people who love you, it makes us vulnerable, and thus humanizes us. THAT opens up lots of room for love and compassion.
7. Get outside. Nature is the most healing, restorative, high vibe place to be. When I’m all up in my head, there’s a favorite tree I go to sit under, lean back onto, and let all that stuff melt into. I literally imagine everything that feels too heavy, too much, too dark seeping down into the ground, and giving it up to the earth to be transformed. Sound too woo-woo for you? Just try it before you get all judge-y.
8. Trust. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Maybe it’s my inner optimist, but I refuse to believe in coincidences, in shitty things happening for no reason, in bad luck. I believe our outer world is a reflection of our inner reality, and that we are responsible for the way we participate in life. So trust that if you’re showing up, doing your best, and honoring your truth, things will play out the way they need to. (Notice I didn’t say they’ll work out the way you ideally want them to. At least not right away.)
If none of these work, that’s okay too. It’s a lifelong practice to be able to sit with your feelings and feel them. There’s no such thing as failure here. If it doesn’t work out today, you’ll probably get another chance to practice tomorrow. Keep showing up.