Ah, the Holidays. Such a time of mixed emotions for so many of us. For some, this time of year seems to bring up feelings we haven't addressed in a while, discomfort among family members and even feelings of inadequacy or anxiety related to the complexity of the experience. The Holidays always seem to bring up a range of emotional expression and what I've noticed is really an ever-present duality of feelings that can flood all of us at any given moment.
This year has been an interesting experience for me to navigate through on a personal level, as I recently endured my romantic partnership coming to an end. Because of that traumatic event, much of my life has been drastically changed. And if I'm being honest, which I always strive to be, this event has been a profound challenge for me to recognize it as an opportunity for growth and not an excuse for self-loathing. This experience has been and will continue to be my exact opportunity to practice what I am passionate about teaching to others. And that is, the ability to lean more towards love and a bit further away from fear.
Now, some of the ways I've been leaning more towards love and away from fear has been to take good care of myself during this time. Mostly, it's practicing the "basics" of wellness for me that help the most. And by that, I mean being aware of what I'm putting into my body, typically staying away from alcohol as a general rule (when I'm feeling low especially) and being adamant about moving my body in a physical sense.
But what I've really been doing that is much more important to me than anything I've been eating or not eating, is allowing myself the ability to feel all of my feelings, good or bad. This is where that idea of the duality of emotions comes into play. This year, I've really come to understand at my core, how emotions can co-exist with other emotions and usually do. That there's generally a piece of us that feels dark or sad and that there's a contrasting piece of us that feels happy and grateful. And it's likely that you're experiencing a multitude of those feelings right now, as you read this.
What's interesting, is that when tragedy hits in our lives, we tend to skip right over the emotion of something like grief. And it makes sense... we as humans are hard-wired for safety and grief doesn't feel "safe" in our bodies. I mean, who wants to feel that in the pit of their stomach? Or in the back of their throat? No-one. But the hard truth is that grief and the rest of the more challenging emotions are absolutely necessary for our evolvement and understanding the basic contrast of the human life.
After attending a Winter Solstice ceremony a few days ago, I was re-taught the importance of experiencing "light" and "dark" in life. I was re-reminded, that you cannot have light without dark or dark without light. That both of these powerful forces compliment one another. That they make us who we are. That they shape us into empathetic and conscious beings. That the challenging, traumatic and scary moments are just an opportunity to step into our greatness. But that we are often so uncomfortable in those moments and do not typically have adequate tools to help us through them, that we tend to feel lost, over-looked, unappreciated, resentful and just simply lonely on our journey. Understanding that life is about the acceptance of the duality of emotions we experience, as well as having supportive tools to help us move through those emotions, is crucial for our ability to get through difficult times and to simply exist on the planet in general. We didn't come here to be numb to our emotions. We came here to feel them.
I think the main point I feel compelled to share here, is to practice ways to simply ACCEPT yourself, wherever you are. If you're grieving, grieve. If you're experiencing joy, be joyous. And also understand that the duality of two emotions can and likely will exist at the same time in all stages of your life.
But it's all quite complex, right? I mean, the Holidays bring about an often un-spoken pressure to be a certain way. And I know that there are many ways in which we humans “put on a good face” during this time of year, whether we're in a good emotional space or not. For some, it’s deep tragedy, life transition and old wounds that we're dealing with. For others, it may be the realization that your family triggers you or that you struggle with boundaries in your personal life. It could be that you suffer from social anxiety and struggle with how to conduct yourself around others. It may even be that you actually feel quite lonely, even amidst a crowd of other people.
With this Holiday season feeling different and personally challenging for me, I’m here to remind you to take a breath and forgive yourself. Remember that many people smile even when they are struggling deep down. That many of us laugh, even when we are heartbroken. Let me be your reminder that you can experience the duality of emotions of happiness and sadness all at the same time & simply just be where you are.
I'm here to remind you that you are exactly where you need to be, right in this moment. And the ability to move forward in your life, starts with the acceptance of that and the personal responsibility to give yourself grace through the uncertainty.
Here are some of my most helpful tools that I use during challenging times in my life (and even when things really feel positive)-- I hope they will serve you too.
1.) Making space & time for introspection: I didn't choose the word "introspection" as my business brand by mistake. I really stand by the importance and meaning of that word. Quite literally, it means the examination of ones own mental and emotional processes. In my life, the most important practice for me has been to become introspective about what I'm going through. Sometimes, we need to do this with the help of a professional. If you're really struggling, hire a coach or go see a therapist. Remember that reaching out is often ESSENTIAL to our growth. And if you choose to go at this without a coach or therapist, or you don't have access to those types of resources, then remember that you have all the inner power that you need INSIDE of you already. Remember that sometimes, all we need to do is just give ourselves the permission to be where we are. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to vent, vent. If you need to express anger, then do so. But do it with grace and in a safe container. Call a friend, talk to a family member, give someone a hug, accept someone's help. Allow yourself to feel SAFE expressing your feelings, because that is truly what you are meant to do, as a human being on this earth-- your sole purpose is self-expression and it's completely safe to just be YOU. Never forget that.
2.) Moving your body: I can't stress this one enough. Yes, it's important to pay attention to your food intake, but the act of MOVING your body can quite literally MOVE emotions through you. Especially if you are struggling with anxiety and depression, you would most benefit from moving your body consistently. Think of it this way: everything is energy, which means your emotions are energy too. And anxiety and depression just manifest as stuck energy in the body. So if we could have a practice where that "stuck" energy can be shifted and moved around to make way for new energy to go in, wouldn't you try it? It's called exercise! Think of moving your body as your natural daily dose of moving the old energy out and making space and clearing for the new. It always helps me, 100% of the time. Even when I really don't want to.
3.) Acupuncture or other healing modalities: Talk about "stuck" energy, this is my second favorite way to move the old out and welcome in the new. I've been on my own acupuncture journey for about 6 months now. I go to keep me sane, to keep me grounded and to keep my nervous system calm (this is what you want when you're experiencing high anxiety). Now, I know you might be thinking that acupuncture is expensive and yes, it can be. However, most communities that have acupuncture do some type of "community treatment." For me, it was getting treatments done each week for $20 per session. The difference is that the treatments are not always personally tailored to you, however, I've experienced a high level of healing even during community sessions and I've met some really lovely people this way too. This was self-pay, so no insurance required and truthfully helped me so much. Also, many insurance companies are now starting to cover acupuncture. You should really take a moment and check out your coverage today if you haven't in a while and see what you're entitled to. Another modality that helps me reduce stress quite a bit is going to see a chiropractor. And this too, is covered under most insurances. It just takes some research to find small ways to really help ourselves.
Lastly, I want to say to you all, that regardless of how you're feeling over the Holiday season, that everything that you're experiencing (and every emotion that runs through you), is of great importance and deserves recognition. My sincerest advice is always to allow yourself the space to FEEL ALL OF YOUR FEELINGS. The shitty ones, the happy ones and the ones that confuse the hell out of you. Feel them ALL. Let all of them move through you & be a part of your experience. We are multifaceted beings and we are supposed to feel everything.
Feel your feelings. Be who you authentically are and know that your smile is always just one piece of your complex expression in this lifetime.
Sending you all so much love and grace during this time and thank you as always, for reading.