Tree branches twisting towards the light.
I stretched and caressed the breeze that blew all around.
A cloudy abyss enveloped the sun's glorious rays.
There I was.
In a stumped gust of doom.
Beauty was at my buds until it wasn't.
I felt despair and coiled back into my roots.
Clenching deeper to the ground shaking with an oblique quiver.
Reassurance was shared when the sun glinted through the holes of the clouds.
Yet the days remained dark and foggy.
Leaves fell and dust settled.
The poem above is written from the perspective of a tree in winter. Trees are one of my favorite reflectors of being grounded in the world, and allowing for their environment to naturally change beyond their space. I often think of the spirit of trees as being so strong and content with exactly where they’re planted. All things happen around them, seasons change, animals build their homes in them, they shed leaves, and grow new leaves all while the world is happening around them. With all of these happenings going on around a tree, it has no option to move from its space, it can't pick up its roots and move on to a new environment. It's our human condition in times of discomfort to try and quickly find a way to move out of where we are, it's instinctual and what has kept us safe through years of evolution. But when we uproot or avoid what's happening around us, what lessons are we missing out on learning?
When you’ve felt alone, apathetic, depressed, confused, distressed, or unsure of your purpose in life due to what's happening around you, how do you move beyond while learning from these feelings and what the world is trying to show you? We all have our own unique ways of processing and moving beyond these feelings and things that we are exposed to. In the past several months we have all experienced and been exposed to a lot of change in our world. As a collective we are all navigating these new changes together and learning so much from one another. We've all faced uncertainty lately and it's okay. We can be both grounded and enveloped in darkness. We can feel at peace and like something is missing. We can be happy and confused. "We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice."-Pema Chodron
There is no right way to feel, I believe it is our mission as humans to feel everything we can and learn from it how to expand our consciousness. When we feel an overpowering emotion coming from the world into our souls, we can be strong like trees. Some powerful tools that I've found to be helpful in learning from and moving beyond my emotions during these times are listed below.
Tonglen ~ A Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice meaning give and take. When you breath out you give, when you breath in you take. This practice helps “reduce selfish attachment, increase a sense of renunciation, purify karma by giving and helping, and develop and expand loving-kindness and bodhicitta.”
Yoga and movement medicine ~ Moving the body everyday helps to restore our energy and brings our consciousness into our whole self. When we practice yoga or dance we can feel emotions stir up, rise to the surface, and then we can allow them to fall onto our mat or into the earth.
Stillness ~ Sitting in stillness allows for us to watch what we feel swirl around us like clouds in the sky. When we do this we are able to take the perspective of the observer and release our attachment to our overwhelming emotions.
Free journaling ~ “I don’t journal to ‘be productive.’ I don’t do it to find great ideas or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me. It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found.” -Tim Ferriss. When we free journal we are practicing a cathartic form of mind therapy that allows us to release what we feel and see it on paper, no longer in our minds.
Yoga Nidra ~ “Yoga nidra (also known as yogic sleep) is a powerful technique for controlling your body’s relaxation response. Yoga nidra can be as restorative as sleep, while you remain fully conscious.”
- Healthsport blog
Chanting ~ Chanting has many benefits for the mind and body like reducing anxiety, fear, lowering blood pressure, lifting depression, creating better sleep, and lowering stress hormones. The list is long and this practice is powerful. The words we chant are impactful and can transform our lives.