As someone who started a website about meditation, spirituality and positive self development, I sometimes feel as if that makes it seem like I have positive thoughts and feelings all the time. But the truth is, I started this website, and I keep it going, because I need this as much as anyone else.
My biggest sources of worry, fear and pessimism have always been around my writing. I have been putting my writing out the world for several years now, with the intention that it be more than a hobby and something I actually get to call a career.
In my path to actualizing my dream, I hit a lot of roadblocks. Rejection. Criticism. Self-doubt. FEAR. When any or all of this comes up, I used to have the knee jerk reaction of either burying the feelings or downing in them. I would feel it come over me like a wave, consuming me until I would eventually drag myself back out through meditation, yoga and long walks. Or, I would completely block it, which means I just buried it, waiting for it to rise up and really knock me on my ass when something (usually small) triggered it in me.
These days, I am practicing something much different. I find it to be very effective, but because it's so foreign, I really have to keep at it, reprogramming this to be my new normal. Now, when those feelings of darkness come up, I think to myself,
'These feelings are natural. They're nothing to be afraid of.'
Then I sit with them and I do... nothing. I don't argue with them. I don't ask them to leave. I just sit with them and remind myself that these feelings came from me, and if I made them, I did so for a reason. If I feel sad it's because something made me feel wounded. If I feel angry it's because something made me feel powerless. If I feel insecure it's because something made me forget who and what I really am.
And then I start to see the feelings not as my enemy, but as a partner guiding me, in a very intense and immediate way, back to the path of love.
This approach, which I would call accept and neutralize, is counter-intuitive to what my knee jerk reaction is. When I insta-react I either reject the feelings or blow them up until they're all I can see.
Accepting and neutralizing doesn't immediately resolve what I'm feeling. But it lessens the intensity, and that is enough that I don't have to hide the feelings or get overwhelmed by them. Once I'm no longer clinging to the darkness out of some fear that I'm actually safer that way, then they start to dissipate and show me why they arose. It's almost magical in how effective it is. But - and this is a big but - it takes patience and trust.
I'm not always patient. And I'm not always trusting. But I'm learning.
I have to be patient that the feelings will pass, and they always do, and trust that something better is behind them. Sometimes it takes a few hours for them to flow through me. Sometimes a day. The key word here is flow. That's all feelings are. They're emotions in motion. Let them flow, and trust you are always bigger than your darkest feelings. No matter how big they seem, the love and light inside of you is, at all times, the biggest and most powerful part of you.
It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to feel afraid. The sooner we accept that these so-called dark feelings are not only normal, but a natural part of us, the sooner we will feel whole, at ease and empowered.
Next time something happens that really makes you want to breakdown, just try to step back, look at it and think, 'These feelings are natural. They're nothing to be afraid of.'
And they are natural. A range of emotions and reactions to all of life's colorful aspects isn't just healthy for us. It's a part of who we are, as feeling and perceptive beings.
I find this easiest to do when I combine it with a walk. Moving my body helps to remind me things are always moving within me, even if I can't see it right away. I walk slow, notice the trees, breathe deep, and step back from the intense feelings, gently repeating, These feelings are natural. They're nothing to be afraid of.
If it feels like you're in those feelings all the time, for extended periods and it's all you know anymore, you can still neutralize them and find your way back to the light. It's just going to take some outside help, and it might be time to consider talking to a therapist or somebody who can help you to understand what's happening. This is also natural. I've been there, and I can say that asking for help has saved me more times than I can count.
Whatever it is that feels right for you, just know you're not alone. We all need help at times, we are all works in progress, and we're all in this together.
In all of my spiritual explorations, I have never before used prayer beads.
The only reason I gave them a try is because they were gifted to me. When I read the description of the stones this mala was made from, I was excited to try it. Here's a bit about Amazonite stones, which are in the picture above:
"Called the Stone of Courage and the Stone of Truth, Amazonite empowers one to search the self and discover one’s own truths and integrity." - from crystalvaults.com
When the mala arrived it was heavier than I anticipated. Which isn't to say it's heavy, but compared to the plastic beads of a rosary, it had more weight to it. I loved this aspect, as well as the feel of the cool stones in my hand. I also loved how rich and varied the colors were. You can buy monotone malas, and ones made from one color in wood are the traditional type, but having grown up with a pink rosary, I found the colors to be a beautiful reflection of who I am now, a person full of contrast and varying shades of life and divinity.
Most people pray on a mala using a Sanskirt mantra. You close your eyes, begin with the first bead, and move around until you are back at the first , which is also known as a guru stone. I decided to use my own mantra because of things I have been thinking and feeling lately.
On each bead, I repeated the words 'I am in alignment with my Higher Self and God. I am free to create my life.'
I put on some ambient music, closed my eyes and began. As I went around various things came up in my mind. Things I hadn't thought of in years, but that related to more recent things in my life. Several times I felt waves of heat rise up and through me. When I finished I felt much lighter and more at peace than when I started.
It felt like it took hardly any time to go around all 108 beads. But when I looked at the clock I was amazed to see nearly 25 minutes had passed. Usually when I meditate for 25 minutes it feels like way longer. Sometimes I can't even finish, and I turn off the meditation timer. But for this, the time went fast as I repeated the mantra and moved through all the stuff coming up.
Having enjoyed the experience, I would like to incorporate mala meditation into more of my life. I can see how effective it would be, especially at those times when the inner train is running away with intense and overwhelming thoughts. After I finished, I wrapped my mala around my wrist and wore it around.
It's nice to be able to look down at it and remember my mantra, the energy I felt while meditating, and the meaning the stones are associated with.
Working with the Universe, with the quantum field we are all woven into, doesn't require rushing or pushing ourselves to our limits. In fact, the Universe works faster for us when we slow down and allow it to do what it does.
Constantly trying, hustling and doing doesn't leave any room for the inspiration and synchronicity. It's a state of controlling, and when we control we burn out.
When we let go and flow with what's trying to be done for us, our energy is limitless. We are no longer doing all the heavy lifting. We are no longer fighting against ourselves.
If you would like a moment to pause, breathe and reconnect to your natural rhythms try my Unfoldment Meditation. It's a free 9 minute guided meditation.
"At no other time than autumn does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne