My partner Nancy said to me the other day, "I'm sorry I'm so emotional, I just got my period." Being one of a cluster of sisters and a gaggle of great women friends, I have heard this sentiment thousands of times in my lifetime. For some reason, on this occasion, I heard the words differently. I got indignant, borderline angry! "You don't have to have a reason for being emotional!" I snapped. "Maybe it's hormones, maybe it's the holidays. Maybe there is no explanation for why you are emotional." Clearly a personal button had been pushed.
In the land of emotional indulgence-- therapy, self-help books, 'find yourself' workshops-- it is natural to want to understand the origin of our feelings, to want to dissect our emotional patterns and find "a cure." Full disclosure-- I am a big fat fan of therapy and self-help books but, I think there is another way to navigate emotional terrain, a (dare I say it) better way.
It's exactly what we learn in yoga every day. Let go. Be in the moment. Find your present self. Be in that experience. Blah blah blah. Only it's not blah blah blah. It's brilliant. The phrase that catalyzed the writing of this blog, "All feelings pass" explains it. The problem is, most of us are impatient or over-analytical, or just simply too uncomfortable to wait it out.
What yoga teaches us is to wait in a different way, not like waiting for a plane to land or waiting for GRE scores. It is a totally different kind of waiting. We learn to wait for the unknown. It sounds crazy-making, but the truth is, it's the easiest thing in the world, and really the most logical. If I spin my wheels and wonder why I am emotional and belabor the topic with everyone in my wake, I am still waiting to get out of whatever emotional gridlock I am in, I am just doing it way more spastically.
If, on the other hand, I refrain for labeling or judging or explaining my feelings, if I just give them a break and let them live in peace for a while, eventually they will change. They will move. It's a choice. Hunker down, get comfy with your feelings and know that they're going to stay for as long as they're going to stay or run around like a rabid squirrel.
I'm not a pro. It's way easier for me to preach this stuff than to actually practice it myself. What I do know is that practicing yoga is my every day reminder. For example, I struggle mightily with Standing Head to Knee Pose. Progress is slow. I worry about my left knee. My right hip is perpetually tight. On the contrary, I adore Standing Bow Pulling Pose. I know that I can't race through Standing Head to Knee to get to Standing Bow Pulling. I have to wait for it. I trust that eventually my sad posture will end and my happy posture will arrive.