Thanks for all of the “Me Too” feedback from last week’s letter. I am always surprised by the amount of relief I get from simply saying what’s true for me. It takes some time to wade through my feelings and put them into words, but the attempts I make to hold the slippery fish of my mental health are always worth my efforts. Life seems less like a wild animal or at least like a wild animal you could track. It makes me think of looking into a clear, night sky, with all of the stars somewhat overwhelming me, then learning to recognize one of the constellations, like the Big Dipper. It all seems more knowable, that the universe is not just chaos and random detritus, and that with discipline and will to, one day, I could recognize each star.
Another wonderful gift of telling our secrets is that they’re no longer secret. We excavate, bring forth the embarrassing realizations, and find out that we are not at all alone. In hearing our own stories, told by others, we wear down that illusion of separateness. The yogis call this feeling that we don’t belong asmita. It is one of the five kinds of pain, according to the yoga sutras.
The remedy for asmita is remembering our wholeness, our connectedness. This seems impossible when we feel anxious or depressed, or any of the 80,000 ways we express distress. In the moment that we might feel we’re floundering in feelings of isolation, we can reach for this safety ring: This human despair and longing we feel are exactly the qualities that verify that wedo belong. The club only accepts members who feel alone, as if they don’t belong.
This reminds me of a comic from the ’90’s, when the radical diagnosis was “coming from a Dysfunctional Family”. Imagine a big convention hall and the banner “Non-Dysfunctional Families Meeting” strung across the stage. The hall is empty but for one participant. The same would work for the “I Never Feel Isolated Club”.
So, on to my gifts. I assume that, just like me, you sometimes feel depressed and would like a simple way to lift yourself up a bit. Yes? I have a short pranayama (breath practice) for you that is uplifting and energizing. It’s less than 5 minutes, but you can practice for as long as you like.
Remember, sometimes it’s helpful to stay in your funk and listen, just accepting that this is a normal way to feel and you’re in the club! Decide what you need before seeking a remedy.
Allowing your mood to linger is not “doing nothing”. It is a profound practice to witness yourself. Just don’t let the current pull you all the way down.
I also assume that, just like me, you sometimes feel anxious, that your thoughts are coming too quickly, you can’t get hold of any of them long enough to really focus, or that you just feel restless.
I have a short pranayama practice for this as well. It is also less than five minutes. Again, you might benefit from allowing your anxiousness run its course, just watch for overindulging this wiley, distracting child.
Remember that all of us, every human, has hard days (and sleepless nights). It can be a comfort to know we struggle together and a relief to know that we are not alone in this.
In creating this week’s newsletter, I JUST learned that I cannot attach the videos I made for you! Like you, sometimes technology doesn’t work the way I wish it did. I would be very happy to send these short videos to you if would like. Just shoot me a message at CatEnrightYogaTherapy@gmail.com.
If you need further support, please contact me for a yoga therapy session. I am delighted to announce that my scholarship program is now accepting new recipients! I can do live or zoom sessions.
I hope you enjoy your gifts.
Remember that my website has all my past newsletters, recorded meditations and videos to support your mental health. Please visit CatEnrightYogaTherapy.com. You can also check me out on Instagram and Facebook if you like those platforms.