How are you? It is such a common question used by well-meaning people every day, including me. At its best it is an empathetic inquiry to understand and connect with another person. I hate answering that question myself.. Unless you are sitting down for a long open conversation there is not really an honest and complete way of answering. Even on my best days it can be a challenge to find the right words. Most of us say "fine" or "ok" or "good" just to keep the conversation moving. With all the conflict in the world it can be especially hard to capture our emotions in a few words. One reason is that we tend to define our feelings as either good or bad, but often we are a mix of both. Just like a Sedona sky that has clouds, sun and rainbows all mixed together, holding multiple emotions simultaneously is natural but can be a challenge to describe. We may want to deny the good or the bad so settle on one or the other. This is where the bottling up of feelings can begin to impact us physically.
When I am feeling down it can be tempting to push those feelings away, either because they are uncomfortable or they make other people uncomfortable and you don't want to be known as being a downer. When I am feeling good I may also not fully express that especially when there is so much anxiety and fear in the world, because then you may worry you look unsympathetic or trite. We are often told to look on the bright side and find things to be grateful for. This can be good advice, but only if you also acknowledge any other feelings like anger, anxiety and grief. How often do you let yourself really sit with your feelings? It is easier said than done.
So, I am going to share with you the words that I have for how I am. I am upset about the wars and all the families living in fear for their lives. I am frustrated at our elected officials for being so consumed by their quest for power that they have lost sight of the greater good for the people they are representing. I am tired of the media and the sensationalism and constant "breaking news" and push to make us choose sides against our fellow humans. I am grateful for my husband, family and friends for loving me and accepting my love. I am proud of my son who follows his passions, defines his own success and stays true to his conscience. I appreciate the teachers, students and visitors that bring life to Village Yoga and am honored to be the caretaker of this community. I am in awe of the beauty of Sedona and the peace I feel here, and I am still heartbroken that I am here without my daughter by my side even as I am comforted as I sense her spirit with me. I feel all of this to varying degrees every day.
The next time you hear or say the words "how are you" consider the depth of the inquiry. It is a bold invitation to share in our humanity as messy as it is. Much has been said and written about the mental health crisis. Addressing emotional distress requires constant navigation of the frequency of each emotion. It requires time and space to experience and acknowledge the sensations that come up with our thoughts so that we can process them rather than avoid or ignore them. It also involves compassion both for ourselves and others. Compassion means holding space for emotions to rise and fall in their own time. It is not about making things better, fixing problems or taking any action, it is just being with what is. Maybe it’s a simple silent pause, a hug or just sitting and being with someone experiencing intense motions.
If you are seeking techniques for emotional balance here are some things you can do.
Play music that soothes you and dance. Emotions and music are energetic frequencies so finding songs that complement your mood can feel good.
Take a walk in nature or sit and enjoy a view. Find awe in a flower, bird, butterfly or another element in nature to free your mind.
Spend time with animals. Pets are wonderful at just being there for you without words.
Spend time with people that make you feel good.
Use aromatherapy. Peppermint energizes and brings mental clarity, lavender calms, orange is uplifting.
Schedule a massage or energy work session. Stuck emotions lodge themselves in our bodies and this helps move that along to re
Practice yoga. A yin or restorative class if you feeling tense or depleted, a vinyasa class if you want to energize yourself or have energy to burn off, a hatha class to find balance.
Help someone else. One of the most healing things we can do is to help others. Deliver a meal, send a note, volunteer, read to someone, share your talents with others.
We hope that you will consider Village Yoga Sedona to be a place that contributes to your sense of wellbeing. Regardless of what you are feeling, our space and our community are here for you as you process the clouds, rainbows and all that life brings.