It has been a day of so much emotion. Feeling so full, watching the waves of energy flow in and out of me, one emotion tumbling into the next and back again. I wonder, does everyone feel like this sometimes? Do a lot of people feel like this a lot of times? Is this a new layer of myself that I am uncovering, peeling away like an onion and tearing up just the same? Or is it because I’m slowly, finally, developing some awareness and presence?
Or is it that I have, at this time, an environment and job that is low-stress enough to keep me out of Overwhelmed Land and I am able to quiet the world enough to actually hear my own voice? And maybe it helps too that I’m not burying my emotions in busy busy working all the time. Maybe there is some truth to that “highly sensitive” business. And chiseling away at these emotional walls. It doesn’t matter what I call it. A label, a reason, any explanation, just doesn’t capture what today felt like.
Sometimes, some days, I am so full of feeling and some days, like today, I felt present enough to witness the energy shifting inside me.
I think it started two days ago, actually. For the last two nights, my mind has been softly ruminating as I try to fall asleep. It’s not the racy-brain feeling that I sometimes get if I’m too wound up or accidentally had caffeine too late in the day. It was a calm, dancing brain and eventually, both Sunday and Monday nights, I fell asleep, and I found myself content — this was not an agitated place.
This morning, I woke up about an hour before my alarm, which has been the springtime pattern the last few weeks. I felt slow, but not in a low energy/tired/depression way, just in a present way. I felt close to my grief. I felt so hungry for love, so needy, and at the same time so full of love inside my self, and I was (am) missing so much my cats, who I gave so much of my love to and received so much love in return. I want them back, and they are not coming back. I felt close to the sadness this morning, and sat there with it. We rode the train together, then walked to work, quiet companions.
Work day. I got a lot accomplished in the morning. I felt present. When coworkers were too loud, I listened to Dar Williams in my headphones, tuning out the harshness and tuning in to the task at hand. I chose to eat lunch earlier in the day than I normally do, because I felt that I was hungry. I ate with my coworkers, which I don’t often do, and though I didn’t contribute to the conversations a whole lot, it felt good to spend time with my team and to laugh a little bit.
My energy, and mood, dipped significantly in the afternoon. Maybe a blood sugar thing, maybe a caffeine crash, maybe an afternoon dip– and again, an explanation or reason doesn’t matter so much as that I was present with it.
I watched my thoughts become angry and frustrated; I felt myself wanting the day to be over; I knew I planned to go to a yoga class tonight but now I felt so lousy and angry and I found myself cynical and cranky. A coworker, with whom I share few values, began grating on my nerves more. I felt myself losing compassion. I felt my face sliding off. I felt like I needed to cry, and not out of sadness. I watched myself get angrier, felt the energy build up inside me. Maybe no yoga, I thought; maybe I need to go for a long run. A long run is generally a way I take out anger, hammering my knees and pulling my hips as I go; an angry run often hurts my body a little bit.
At the end of the day I powerwalked to the train, the spattering of rain hitting my jacket and I felt my eyes welling up with tired/angry/frustrated/feelings energy. I couldn’t read on the way home. Too much angry energy inside and I found I couldn’t concentrate. Okay, I told myself, it’s okay. My right knee started hurting. Was it telling me that it didn’t want to be pounded into the ground tonight? Was this my body saying, try to make it to yoga instead?
I got home and decided, okay, yeah, I’ll go to yoga. I really do like this instructor. I’m not a “yoga person” but it feels good and it is necessary cross-training for running; if I want to actually run this half marathon in May healthfully, yoga is a necessity. This is how I bargain with myself.
I tried to keep in “beginner’s mind” at yoga, open to new, open to learning, willing to receive help. This was the 4th class I’ve ever gone to and the second with this Brene Brown-esque instructor that I get 100% good vibes from. But I felt nervous. I was hating on my body. My legs felt tight. I felt anxious. A very thin woman with disordered-looking musculature sat near me and the pain on her face was too easy to recognize. I chose to breathe.
I felt so tight in the beginning I wanted to cry. I was frustrated. Then, like most things, after I warm up, it’s a bit easier. I am strong. I am flexible. And in every moment I can choose how far and how much to push. And if I need to put my knees down, or sit one routine out, that’s great. Because that’s where I’m at and that’s all there is to it. I found playfulness again; taking yoga too seriously does not jive well with me. Just have fun with it. And keep breathing. I was grateful when Brene came over a couple times to help me adjust. I liked how after I shifted a bit a particular stretch felt good and I know I smiled and I liked how Brene said, “Yeah, how do you like them apples over there?” and it was playful and strong and I listened to my body as best I could for the rest of the 90 minutes.
And then, the last few minutes of class where we lie on our backs, still, breathing… the sadness rushed in again. Or the gratitude. I don’t know what it was, what to call it. Maybe more grief. A wave. There — lying on my back in the darkened room, body utterly exposed to the world, and then I’m crying, trying to be silent about it, but letting myself cry.
This whole having-a-body thing feels very new to me. It feels scary. It feels wonderful. And it’s not just having a body, and being in my body, after years and years of feeling disconnected. It’s not just having my body— it’s having my self. It’s being on my side. It’s being my own friend. It’s taking care of myself, of listening to my body and giving myself what I need. It’s not perfect, but it’s eons away from where I’ve been.
I have been waiting for this for so long. I have been waiting for me.
Today I witnessed myself go from sad, to present and working, to tired, to angry, to frustrated, to grateful and sad back again. I felt the energy wax and wan and noticed all sorts of urges come up when I had more “anger” energy on the train coming home; I felt my body and felt strong tonight at times and weak at times, and listened to myself when certain poses or moves did not feel as sturdy, and it was okay to listen to myself and put a knee down, or use a block.
Today I was present and it did not always feel “good” or “happy” — but it felt real and I will always, always take real over anything else. Today felt so full and heavy and light and all sorts of ways. And I was here to witness it.
Today that feels something like a miracle.
Edited to add: This still doesn’t feel like I’ve captured it. How to make the ineffable effable? I’m determined to keep trying, one moment at a time.