heavy rains, windstorms, snowfall, slush – all that happened here in the last few weeks. outside. and then there are the seasonal storms inside. this is a difficult time of year for quite a few people. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) troubles some, and others get the christmas blues.
for the weather outside, we wear clothes that keep us warm and dry, we carry umbrellas and we stay inside more. maybe we take an extra dose of vitamins. how can we deal with stormy weather inside?
one of the ways we like to protect ourselves from emotional storms is by isolating. however, going outside – outside of ourselves, outside of the house, is probably one of the best ways of braving inner storms.
that means reaching out to talk to people, to tell them how you’re doing, but also to ask them what’s going on in their lives. it also literally means getting out of the house. emotional pain is often similar to constipation – we need to find ways to get the energy moving again.
one of the reasons why people are afraid to leave their shell is because the outside feels rough and somehow dangerous. so what kind of protective emotional clothing can we wear?
stay warm. that means, don’t lose the good energy. protect what’s good in your life. once again, gratitude fits the bill. a regular practice of gratitude helps us become aware of what’s good in our lives. this awareness has an insulating effect – the more we pay attention to what’s positive in our lives, the more we can feel the goodness, and the more we can feel the goodness, the less room there is for the bad stuff (the cold) to come in.
some people find it hard to feel gratitude when they’re in the throes of emotional pain, and that’s totally understandable. if that’s the case, try the old “fake it till you make it” remedy. start by listing simple things. what works in your life right now? start with physical things – your house, your clothes, your bed, your TV …
stay dry. how can you make sure that you don’t get drenched by the outside world? when we feel emotionally vulnerable, the little raindrops of real or imagined thoughtlessness, indifference and criticism that we experience from others can get right through to us and feel very hurtful. where’s the umbrella?, where’s the raincoat?
one thing that can help is to watch our own judgment. i find that the more i judge others, the more i feel judged.
when i feel vulnerable, i try to pay extra attention to the heart. i try to imagine that all my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical movement comes right from my center, which i also imagine the center of my ability to love. i may not even feel very loving, but i know that whatever love there is, that’s where it comes from. there is little place in that heart centre for judgment of others.
this moving from the center turns my whole body into insulation against the rain and storm of the outside world. i know that it’s my center that counts, and there’s lots of body around it, so my center can’t get “wet”, or affected by other people.
to someone who feels very battered about, these suggestions may seem difficult to carry out. they may have tried some of this before, they may have imagined trying it, they may be experiencing the old “yes but” syndrome, they may feel that these suggestion could work for people whose problems are less severe than theirs.
i can’t presume to give a 100% guarantee that these suggestions will make a huge difference, but here is something to think about:
imagine your emotional pain or discomfort is like a bad case of the flu. you know that when you have the flu, it feels absolutely awful. you also know that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. and that doing certain things tend to help. so you do them. you take an aspirin, you get some chicken soup.
getting outside of yourself and your house, practicing gratitude, moving from your heart and going through the motions of “fake it till you make it” will make your emotional flu go easier on you. try it. maybe it’ll inspire you to cook up your own remhe wedy!
take good care of yourselves.
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