Whether it’s physically, emotionally or psychologically, we all have moments, days, weeks, months or years in our lives where we do not feel our best, or ourselves, or we simply do not feel much of anything whatsoever.
Over the years, I have learned how to use the “down periods” in my life to great advantage. Although these times are difficult and challenging for all of us in various ways, these are the times in our lives where we have the opportunity to tap into our potential in extremely powerful ways if we allow ourselves to do so. This doesn’t mean that we will necessarily grow by leaps and bounds during these times, in fact that’s not likely or expected at all for most of us, but it’s during our darkest times that ANY bit of light we shine becomes very evident to us. Just like when we are thirsty, that glass of water feels better than any before it that we can remember, when our internal reservoirs of energy run dry, and we can get a little bit of flow, it really makes an incredible difference, and we learn a lot from it…not because we did a whole lot, but because of the inner strength of our spirit that we tapped into in order to keep going.
Whether it be through breath work, meditation, yoga, qi gong, dancing, jogging, creative expression or any other form of spiritual and/or psycho-physical engagement, we really do have the power to effect change in our bodies and minds(sort of the same thing, it helps to know this). Depending on our practice, or lack of it, and how we’re feeling in the moment, our ability to effect change within our current circumstances may be incredible, or hardly noticeable, but this really isn’t the point. It may be nice to be able to stretch your way out of stiffness, massage away muscle pain, meditate away an over-active mind, or dance away sorrow, but this isn’t really what changes us at a core level, it’s the actual WILLINGNESS to open our hearts, minds and bodies, and to allow ourselves to breath, move, be still(whatever we feel deep down that we need to nourish ourselves) etc that begins to re-wire us and change our actual ability to effect change. When we repeat the motions that take us deeper into ourselves time and time again when we’re not feeling so good, we are learning how to engage ourselves at a very deep level, and every time we do this, we are learning the methods and strategies that will actually work for us in our everyday lives, as preventative medicine. In most cases, if something makes you feel even a little bit better when you’re sick, out of it, depressed or down in the dumps, it’s going to make you feel GREAT when you already have a baseline of energy.
Through this kind of self-engagement/self-nourishment, we can both ease our suffering during times of trouble, and sometimes even balance ourselves out completely, not by avoiding how we feel, but by engaging our minds and bodies(and therefor our spirits) EVEN THOUGH we feel like crap. We can find ways to accept how we are feeling through movement, through breath, through exercise, or when we’re sick, even just totally letting go of everything and allowing ourselves to rest as fully as possible, maybe just noticing how much we have previously ignored our bodies in certain ways, or how we have not been as grateful for it’s regular function as we could be. Taking these lessons into our lives when we’re feeling more like our normal selves gives us more will power, more internal awareness, more gratitude, and an ability to take what we’ve learned and engage in it in deep, powerful, creative and/or playful ways. The more we learn from ourselves when we’re feeling alright, the more tools we have to draw upon to balance ourselves when we get “knocked off course”, and the more we engage ourselves in whatever ways we can when we’re feeling off, the more that we get in touch with our deep spiritual strength, will power and gratitude for life in the moment.
I’ll write about some examples of how I engage myself when I’m not feeling at my best;
If I have a creative idea, or something productive to do, even if I don’t finish it, it’s not the best work or I don’t even end up using it, I’ll start on it, or throw some energy at it anyways, if I feel the pull to do so…it gets some energy moving, or allows me to put focus on something productive, rather than sitting around thinking about how I can’t do anything, or I should be doing something more productive. Sometimes we should do anything at all, but sometimes we can throw words on paper, throw paint on something, or just sing/move/dance a little, and we’ll feel better than we did before, and we may learn from it and get something done later on that’s really good work, inspired by what we didn’t end up finishing previously. Example, I don’t actually feel the best right now, compared to how I usually feel, which is pretty amazing. but I decided to write an article anyways, as it’s productive, and it’s helping me out 🙂
If I happen to have a headache, or any kind of “dullness” in the head, I check my feet, my knees, my hips, my spine/neck and arms, to make sure my joints are relaxed and open, to be sure blood is able to flow up to my head, I make sure I walk and move with openness, and I breath deeply, feeling the expansion in all areas of my body. I may lie on the floor, do forward hanging bends, or bounce and shake to get everything moving(this is sometimes the weirdest thing to do when one has a headache, it feels uncomfortable at first, but if you massage the head and neck first, it’s not that bad at all, and you’ll feel MUCH better afterwards), and I massage the acupressure points all over my neck, head and face, making sure my whole head, including the ears, the jaw and even the skull itself is relaxed and open. Patting all over the skull and face further improves the condition. I usually end up with zero dullness/ache after doing these things and can continue on with my day no problem. I do all of these things regularly, including head stands, to prevent headaches and any issues of stagnancy.
If I feel uninspired in a creative/musical way, or in any way in general, I’ll tone my voice or pick up my guitar anyways, even if I only play a few notes or chords or play around with sounds for a few moments…if I open my heart and feel the sound, and really express myself, it changes me, and I tap into my spirit and allow myself to come into a state of “flow”.
If I feel lacking in energy, I play with energy, no matter what you have to do to “warm up”, anyone can feel energy, even a little bit, and when you are feeling your, you are drawing more in. Moving, breathing, creativity etc all help any type of emotion/mental overwhelm or depression, and as long as they’re done mindfully, in a way that you are really feeling yourself where you’re at, not ignoring anything, and just just giving yourself nourishment via (loving)self-attention, then you are doing yourself a world of good, and you are re-writing the internal programming that causes you to feel “down” in the first place, and it will happen less often as time goes on, as your body will begin to use the states of being you bring yourself into via these methods, as a default state of being, instead of depression, anxiety, anger, fear etc.
There are various other things I do on a daily basis to prevent malaise, or to lift myself up without ignoring my feelings and emotions, but I’ll keep this fairly simple for now. I just wanted to share that feeling like shit, is not the end, and that as long as you have a willingness to feel yourself, and go on with life anyways, without avoiding giving yourself the attention you need(which is why most people feel like crap in the first place!), than you can actually tap into spirit/the tao, through your “lows” as well as your “highs”, eventually, you will find a neutral space between them, and feeling a bit better or worse will not really deeply effect your state of being and happiness, as that is not dependent upon the fleeting moment, it is a thing that stays with you, no matter what is happening or how you feel.
If you’d like to know more about how you personally can make change and feel better whether you’re “up or down”, effectively making change in your life by getting in touch with yourself, feel free to get in touch with me!
Take care, be still and keep moving <3