Good morning. It's a gray, chilly one here in NYC and that is exactly how I'm feeling. On Sunday, I sprained my back and when I woke up Monday morning it was in complete spasms. The pain was excrutiating (I have a high threshold) and I could barely walk. I had to cancel plans to visit friends I haven't seen in months (their kids not since last spring), see a chiropractor to get some pressure off the lower region of my spine, and forego teaching intenSati for the day.
I spent much of the day in bed. This morning my back feels a little bit better but I'm still in a lot of physical pain. Emotionally, it's pretty much the same. I'm feeling pain connected to the separation from the man I was dating. I'm thinking about how I left my apartment looking like such a mess. I'm at the office now just bitching to myself about how I'm going to stay here for 7 hours and process expenses, work on travel itineraries and do all the other mundane tasks that I get paid to handle. I'm worried about my body and getting it into the kind of shape where I will have less a chance of getting injured.
So, what's the best way to deal with all this frustration and the accompanying thought, "I'd rather be anywhere but here!"?
1. Take a deep breath and remember that this is temporary. The feelings are temporary, the job, my health situation -- all temporary. The slogan, "this too shall pass" is a good one.
2. Gently and compassionately offer a comparison that helps frame this particular situation as "not that bad". It's not to invalidate the feelings but rather to just offer the reminder that it could be much, much worse than it is. The job I have is boring to me but at least I have a job with health benefits that will let me see the chiropractor later on that will be able to help restore my back into alignment. Things like that.
3. Recognize that feeling like shit does not have to mean acting out. This list is sounding to me like Everything You Need To Know You Learned in Kindergarden, but it's true. Reaching for fast relief remedies like coffee, excess food, gum, etc. will only delay a natural process that wants to happen, that is to say, feeling and healing. That said, if I reach for any of said crutches, at least do it as mindfully and with as much presence as possible.
4. Soften the mind. I love this one and kind of came to realizing it through my intenSati practice which always involves a transition from high intensity actions to lower intensity ones (in the latter third of class it's more like a yoga flow with affirmations). With respect to my mind, I liken it to turning the volume and intensity down, but not necessarily changing the thoughts or feelings yet. Just their intensity. Example: I HATE MY JOB AND WORKING IN AN OFFICE DOING MUNDANE WORK ALL DAY --> I Hate My Job And Working In An Office Doing Mundane Work All Day --> I hate my job and working in an office doing mundane work all day --> I may hate my job and working in an office doing mundance work all day but I feel a little bit better sitting here so at least I'm not making myself unnecessarily aggravated and upset. Something like that.
5. Ask the universe for support. This is my spiritual practice in action. I do believe in a higher power and I believe that when I ask for help it is given. If I am open to receiving it, all the better. So, in a case like today, here's my Big Ask:
I am not feeling well at all today. I ask in faith for help returning to a healthy, vibrant state of being. I am willing to grow along spiritual lines and if I am here for a reason, please help me see what I'm meant to learn. Please also help me to know the truth about myself and various situations that are upsetting me so that I can make corrections. Most importantly, help me find acceptance in the moment so that I can allow you to guide and transform my life in the direction you see fit, which I believe is a positive one that enhances not only my own feelings of well being but also my purpose on this planet. I am very hungry for real purpose and meaningful connection, as well as a manageable schedule that is fit perfectly for me, as I am only human and there are only so many hours in the day.
With love, gratitude and my efforts to appreciate the blessings you bestow on me...
6. Release the need to act. I'm learning that letting go and not doing anything at all for a little while is a good, temporary measure. Don't make any decisions until things quiet down a little in the mind and body.
7. Make a list of about 10 people whose wisdom, support and personality make me smile.
8. Drink extra cold water and hot tea. (I also didn't mention I have a cold, so additional vitamin C would be a good idea.)
9. Don't blame myself or another for the current state of affairs. That said, be ready to look at the effects of my actions (thoughts, behaviors) and own them. I made a 20 item list on the 7 train this morning (there were delays) of the consequences of certain actions I've taken lately and it's not very pretty but it's all mine and I own it. This is the hardest thing to accept and face, that my life looks the way it does because of all the choices I've made to this day, and if I want my life to look differently then I am going to have to do things differently.
10. Realize that I don't have to frame my life as worse than it is in order to motivate. This is a BIG one for me and something I just realized with this post. I think it's directly related to overdramatizing things, as if I need to have a heightened experience of something (in a negative way) so that I give myself the necessary kick in the ass to deal and be proactive. What if, what if what if what if, I can realize that things really aren't that bad (back to #2), I mean, they really really aren't, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of changes I want to make and places I wish to improve and transform? That would be a more peaceful place to mentally hang out.