|In my latest video, shot on Feb 3, 2020, I cried. I cried because in the span of a few moments, I felt alone, weary and helpless to escape the circumstances that faced me. I was traveling by bus back to Las Terrenas from Santo Domingo. It was dreary and rainy and I was hungry and tired. But didn’t want the nasty bus stop food and the flimsy, dirty chairs inside were unsuitable for me to truly relax. I was surrounded by what felt like massive disorganization and filth. I wanted support. I wanted to feel better.
So I cried and talked about what I was feeling and let it all out.
Along the 2-hour bus ride home, I began to shift. I had allowed myself to release what was bothering me. The feelings of sadness and overwhelm subsided. I was ok. Soon I’d be back at my house and back to my regular flow.
That’s how it is sometimes. We feel pressure, we feel pain, we feel confused or overwhelmed. Sometimes we stop there and the feelings percolate and may boil over into unhealthy or destructive behaviors. But when we let them out, allow ourselves the realness of acknowledging that sometimes we just plain feel like shit, magic happens. Things improve. We don’t need to kick the dog or hit the baby (please, no!). We don’t have nasty words for our spouse or strangers. We don’t mindlessly shove food down our throats or our tongues down someone else’s. We become present to how we feel, to what is going on inside of us. And that is gold.
You’ve probably heard it said somewhere that living in the present is the the true gift of life. If we focus on what is happening right now – RIGHT NOW – then we become aware that whether someone is annoying us or we are avoiding a task, in the moment, we are actually free. We are free to notice what we’re experiencing, how we are feeling. We become separate from the world around us, if only for a moment. But as we begin to practice this focus on ourselves, noticing what is happening inside us, the moments of disconnect from the outside and connection to the inside get longer and longer. We are in the present moments of our lives. From there we get to determine how we respond to everything else that is happening.
We can choose to take a deep breath or three and ignore, speak calmly, smile, focus on something that makes us feel good.
Even cry. And that’s a good thing.
We don’t need for life to always present us with so-called “perfect”circumstances to be alright. We can turn the clouds into sunshine. We can turn the noise into a breath. Inhale. Exhale. Focus on yourself. Pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you. Allow yourself to feel more deeply than the surface of knee-jerk reactions.
Slow down and breathe.
When I cried that day I felt it coming. I had been seated in a dingy chair inside the bus station and I felt emotions bubbling up inside me. I decided to walk outside and get some air, to get out of the tight, uncomfortable space inside. I decided to give myself what I needed as best I could. The video tells the rest of the story.
Today, after another long and tiring week, I chose not to be busy. What I needed was to veg, straight up. No plans, no getting dressed or looking cute to step out into the world. None of that. Instead I ate an orange, some yogurt and almonds, and snacked on Doritos with my son. I took it easy. I didn’t prepare the healthy breakfast I had planned. I let it all slide. I went out to my patio and rested myself on the cushions and dozed off. I dangled my feet along the edge of the wall, mindlessly watching some clouds drift across the sky.
I released all expectations of myself.
I needed that. I bet you do too sometimes. And if you feel you need permission to veg, to do nothing, I’m giving it to you now. (You really don’t need permission for self-care – it’s kinda mandatory to stay sane). So when the clouds of life come as they invariably will, don’t curse them. Let them pass by and take a moment to notice how they make you feel.
Every day isn’t mean to be sunny. We need the clouds to give us peace.