If you’re feeling like the colour has gone out of life a little during this lockdown, you’re not alone. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist talks about a useful middle ground between depression and flourishing recently in the NY Times. When you feel a little ‘meh’ but you’re not dealing with depression, Adam calls this state of being languishing. It’s where you may simply feel a little joyless and aimless.
The antidote to this experience is not positive thinking. Positive thinking is generally a forced thought over the top of a negative thought. You wouldn’t have to ‘gee’ yourself up if you weren’t already feeling negative. “I’m an amazing person,” is a positive thought that only has to be said if you already are that you’re not an amazing person. That’s also known as putting icing on a turd.
Nor is the antidote becoming a better person. Trying to fix or change yourself often results in resistance, and what we resist, persists! I’ll work hard to fix all the negative parts of myself and in the process make myself really unhappy. Now I’ve put a lot of extra time and attention on these negative parts of myself – no wonder I feel like crap.
The new antidote is a state of absorption called ‘flow’. It’s when we immerse ourselves in those projects, big or small, that matter to us and that we enjoy. I like to think of it as ‘being up to something.’ You know when you’re up to something in life that matters to you, that inspires you? Or god forbid, something you actually find fun?
Here’s what I’ve been up to recently:
Developing myself in being happy, shining and radiant. One of my practices has been to open my crown chakra, the top of my head and allow a stream of golden light into my body by being in a state of appreciation. I’ve started this new habit by attaching it to an already established habit – when I teach Yoga Nidra.
Shifting my focus from pain or sensations in the body to the breath. Accepting pain but not giving it my full focus. This is a different approach for me after speaking with Adrian Spear, counsellor in Stress and Anger Management and all-round great human. He did 45 full days of meditation and now teaches this technique. Sit and when you get a scratch, don’t itch it. When you feel pain in the body, acknowledge it is there, accept it, and then turn your attention from it (to something else like your breath). Prior to this, I’ve spent time giving attention to pain in my body, laying hands on it, breathing into it, massaging it. I’m going to give this a crack. See if it helps the endo pain and the left shoulder pain.
The Artist’s Way. I’m reviewing the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron with my Artist Collective. We meet once a week and share our insights, accomplishments and victories as artists. These are my closest friends. Morning pages have been an on-and-off practice for me for over 20 years. It’s at the stage now that if I don’t do them, I feel irritable. The pages give me space to sort myself out. They are a lifesaver. The Artist date is something I resist. The first step for me is to commit to a regular time (see my Upholder Tendency below). I’ve chosen Wednesdays 3-4 pm. This week will be my first one for a while!
Leonie Dawson (she/they) is currently running a live round of her 40 days to create and sell your e-course with live Q&A calls every Thursday morning. I bought the course a while ago but I get access to the live rounds, which is super fun. She lights up my life and always has my day start off on a hilarious and uplifted note. They seriously make me laugh so hard.
- I’m participating in the Wisdom course and have been exploring collaging which I love. When I first started collaging over 10 years ago, I would not call them great works of art. Sometimes I still don’t create great works of art. But sometimes I do. I like the surprise of how these collages turn out. They don’t have to mean anything to anyone else but they get something expressed that couldn’t be expressed in words for me. I use them as a tool to disappear conversations that do not empower me. If I remembered to use them more, that would be so useful.
Collage: Danica in Wonderland
This book has been on my reading list for quite a while now – recommended to me by two of my favourite mentors, Fabienne Fredrickson and Leonie Dawson. The 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin addresses specifically how we deal with inner and outer expectations. I’m an Upholder – a rare and extreme personality/tendency type (not the first time I’ve been labelled ‘rare’ or ‘extreme’ lol) for whom upholding my own expectations and others is not a huge challenge. We find freedom in disciplines, routines and our schedules and to-do lists. Both my spouse and my best friend are Questioners (easy to uphold their own expectations but question other’s expectations of them) and I’m still listening to distinguish our daughter’s tendency. I think she’s either a Questioner or a Rebel and either way, it’s helping me understand how to relate to her, empower her and develop myself as a parent!
As much as I move my body by teaching 6 yoga classes a week, 2 dance rehearsals and doing #dancebreak, I’m finding it’s insufficient for overall wellbeing and likely heart health too. From the current lockdown, it’s easy for me to stay home for days and not leave the house. Walking, while I resist going and never ‘feel’ like doing it, I find the yes and go anyway and my body feels better for it. I’m not at once a day yet, but the regularity is increasing.
- Zoom dinners with friends and loved ones. Why did we not think of this before? Zoom dinners are convenient, don’t have to last hours, but can if you want, and when you’ve finished, you’re already home and can get straight into bed with your chosen one (a favourite place for me). I have many friends who don’t live in Sydney – and even some that live over the other side of the bridge. Zoom dinners are a great solution for connection and are nourishing.
And of course, starting this blog and building a membership site for my online yoga students with bonus resources with Kajabi is super fun. I’m so excited to gift this to you when it’s finished.
What are you up to my friend?
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