Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Neverending Snow, Depression and Creating Space

'These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth, it too, increased.” ~ Gaston Bachelard

I find it fitting to talk about depression tonight.

The snow outside my window just keeps on falling, casting fluttering shadows beneath the lamp post. The idea of spring, of summer, of warmth ... seems a figment of my imagination at times like this. It becomes hard trying not to "resist what is" and curl up under blankets, crying, wishing the cold away.

The "silver lining" is when warmth does arrive, as it inevitably will, I will appreciate it much more. That is one positive those of us who live in four-season climates can embrace. We truly cherish those sunny days.

That same mentality is something I'm now taking and breathing into other areas of my life. If I desire something I don't currently have, I acknowledge that feeling, trying not to judge it, and then let it pass through, like a temporary visitor. I remind myself that when I do come across those desires, I always end up appreciating them that much more. But, just like spring and summer, I embrace them and cherish them knowing they are forever changing and temporary, only to revisit me again some day.

It's a cycle. All of it. Yet most of us get so stuck sometimes. We fall into a rut. For me, that is always what depression feels like ... a rut I fall into, try to fight off or escape from and eventually curl up with. These ruts, I believe, are what happens to us when we resist that natural cycle. And for me, at least with depression, it often led to dark emotions, thoughts, low energy, negative self talk, pain, turmoil and ... sleep. When I was a teenager, sleep was my escape when I was depressed.

In the recent years, I would just let depression overpower me, drown me. And I would be a crying mess, sort of hollow, not present at all in life, absent even during moments in crowded rooms or with family and friends.

Thankfully, those are distant memories in some ways now. I've been tested this year, especially this winter season. Especially on these cold, dark, lonely nights ... when I feel a chill bury itself within my bones. When I hear the bare tree branches creak and moan against the biting wind.

However, something I read awhile back and came across again in my Yoga Journal has finally "clicked." In the past, whenever I felt something I didn't want to, like fear, depression, pain, sadness, I would either repress it and pretend it wasn't there, distract myself or let it completely overtake me.

But I read about space lately, the beauty of space, of making space for things. And I've tried it out these last few nights with interesting results. When I begin to feel this sadness or depression sink in, rather than search for an escape, I've been whispering the word "yes" in my mind and imagining myself creating a space inside me for this emotion. Not letting it overcome me and, yet, not shoving it away or judging it. Just saying the word "yes" and visualizing an opening inside me making way and giving space to what I'm feeling.

It instantly lessens the intensity of the emotion. And it feels a lot less uncomfortable, threatening or negative. It's almost like making room for a guest you don't necessary want there, but you also don't want to be mean to. So you don't resist the visit and then suddenly, they're gone and someone new visits, like a breath of fresh air.

So, the next time you feel something you don't want to, try to stave off your knee jerk, instinctive reaction, your usual pattern. Instead, let yourself create space for it, feel it. You'll notice, just like with the seasons, just like with emotions and life in general, if it has no resistance, it will only be a temporary visitor and will make way for a new one in due time.

And when that new visitor arrives, bringing the sun, you will truly appreciate them that much more.

You'll find you are an open door ... completely unbridled.


1 comment:

  1. I think that creating space for that emotion is actually healthy - because it allows it to run its natural coruse and probably expedites its inevitable exit thankfully. I hope for warm and sunny weather to head your way soon :)