Life is a big combination of everything. Joy and depression, and everything in between.
My world has swung to the latter of those recently.
And there's nothing we can do about that. Circumstances change. Without our consent, control, understanding.
And I'm supposed to sit here and say, but I'm doing ok. I'm supposed to be happy and alight. With a smile on my face.
But I think if yoga and meditation teach us anything, it's that we must acknowledge the present moment.
And true, in yoga, it can be said you haven't found the pose if you can't smile in it.
And yoga is life.
But many of us just aren't that far along our spiritual path to smile at the chaos that comes.
Sometimes, we just want to curl up on the floor. Sometimes we just need to break. And be broken.
And learn that it's ok to break.
We are taught how to celebrate and be joyful, but our society is oddly silent on how to grieve, on how to accept the darkness that comes and goes.
How do we help a friend in need? Our first instinct is to try to fix it. But darkness can't be fixed, necessarily, especially by an outside person.
So, what do we do? We step away. We give them space, to deal more painfully with that situation, bearing the full burden themselves.
At the same time, these voices ring through our own head, as we're not taught how to deal with depression and sadness and pain. "Just get over it." "Pull yourself together." "Why can't you just feel better?"
The harshest attacks always come from within.
Yet, what we need most, is to simply be with that pain. Not to hide from it. Not to stifle it.
We cannot deal with an emotional trouble with our intellect.
We need to say to ourselves, yes I am in pain. Yes, I am feeling great sadness. How does this feel? What am I learning about myself and my reactions?
We need to cry. To feel that pain fully.
Practicing nonjudgement on ourselves is an incredibly difficult task. Even the greatest sages have had doubts and difficulties with this step. But if we can work towards it, we can learn to let emotions due their job and move on.
I'm a long way from that goal. The way feels like I lose more ground than I am gaining.
Someday, though, I will look back, realizing I have gone many miles and have entered a new situation. Perhaps then, these tools will have proved helpful, and will be yet more helpful the next time the darkness drifts through.
Perhaps by seeing the shadows, we can eventually look toward the sources that cast them, seeing the light even in those pained spaces.
I'll let you know if I get there.