Among the clients and friends with whom I have been talking recently, spring this year is bringing an onslaught of contradictory emotions.
On the one hand, we are witnessing the exuberant explosion of green buds and flowers in Mother Nature’s annual display, and this blossoming mirrors the signs that public life is reopening in parts of the US. For many, there is a tender, vulnerable sense of hope.
Yet these emotions are countered by the fact that in many places worldwide, COVID is hitting harder than ever. Communities of color and lower economic means continue to bear the brunt of the physical, financial and emotional trauma. Systemic racism and injustice are omnipresent.
As well, I’m aware of an unexpected small grief arising in me as parts of the world open up and resume more interaction – an odd sense of what I can only call pending loss, as my own little inward-focused world shows signs of shifting again. How curiously my ego clings to “the way things are,” resisting any change, even a potentially positive one.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The mix of emotions we are all processing is complex, nuanced, and very individual. There are threads of restlessness, anxiety, confusion, anger and blind ignorance. Interestingly, the ancient texts of Ayurveda name these very emotions themselves as some of the prime causes of disease.
Emotions take profound digestive energy to process. We may see a form of emotional “indigestion” show up as an overpowering sense of fatigue or bone-tiredness, a sense of heaviness, or literal digestive issues. Some may feel dread, a diffuse unease, or a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
What does Ayurveda teach us that can help us process the density and complexity of emotions at this time? Those who are completing the Spring Digestive Reset with me right now could give some pointers based on how they have been supporting their literal digestive system – many of the same points apply. Try some of these ideas to help support your emotional digestion:
- Rest. Sleep more. Take a break and lie down on the floor of your home office between calls. Devote time to do nothing. Walk outside and lie down in the grass.
- Touch. If you are lucky enough to have people in your bubble, make sure to hug them more frequently. Snuggle with your children. Curl up with your cat or dog – or your neighbor’s dog. (Seriously – go borrow one!)
- Reduce input. Take a break from the news or social media feeds. Just let your mind have a data input fast. This will allow our systems to more easily process some of the backlog.
- Soothe the nervous system through the senses. Pay attention to the qualities of sensation around you – wear soft clothes, listen to gentle music, surround yourself with aromas you appreciate, take regular computer/screen breaks, receive a massage.
- Give room to your emotions. My teacher Dr. Lad would always say, “Allow your emotions to flower.” Don’t stuff them down or rationalize them away. Write in your journal, or talk with a trusted friend. When in a safe space, cry or rage. Allow the welling-up to overflow.
- Reach out to a higher power. Pray. Ask for support from the Goddess, Mother Nature, the universe. Spend time in conversation with your inner divine. Meditate on a vision or mantra of reassurance or compassionate presence. Read any traditional scripture or poetry that speaks to you. Cultivate your sense of trust, and lean into your faith.
- And then – rest some more. Shut down your screen and take a mini-vacation for the next 10 minutes.
One of the best things we can do to offset the disease-causing emotions is to come together in community with others who are oriented towards true inner health and stability, and to explore the ideas and teachings that bring us peace and wisdom. We’re already halfway there by joining each other here.
We will get through this time. Humanity is incredibly resilient. We have vast resources within us, and around us. Write a comment below to share your favorite tool to digest your emotions – let’s share what’s working.