Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I never knew I liked sequins.

Have you ever been shopping and out of the corner of your eye see something that you are immediately and compulsively desperate to have? This happened to me once with an Isabella Fiore purse. I was shopping for make up at Nordstrom and, as I short-cutted through accessories to the MAC counter, the purse caught my eye. It was marked down from $600 to $168 (which is my style). I never knew that I wanted a navy gingham purse with red and pink sequins flowers. Never knew. It was a fashion epiphany. I had to have that purse! Had to have it, so I bought it. That purse sits in my closet. I use it maybe once every three years.

Recently I had an emotional epiphany that hit me in much the same way as the perfectly ridiculous purse. I have high anxiety, particularly high anxiety among big crowds, and super-amplified anxiety when I'm having a party with lots of people in my own house. So, we had a party. I thought I would be fine. I thought I was good. I thought I was "over" this particular issue in my life. And then, there it was, the issue, from out of nowhere, like that Isabella Fiore purse. It niggled me. This issue. I've tried to overcompensate for it, being more social instead of less. I've tried to intellectualize myself out of having the anxiety--- "everything is under control," I repeat like a mantra during parties. It hasn't worked. The issue, the emotions attached to the issue are drawing me in, compelling me to look at it, deal with it.

An old friend once told me that if I didn't deal with my feelings directly, as they came, that they would eventually just come out sideways. Like when the coffee filter gets jammed with grounds and the coffee-ish water finds its way out anyway. It's messy and it's a pain in the ass, takes a good half hour to clean up the watery grounds and another ten minutes to remake the coffee.

Sometimes with feelings, we don't always know when they will come, or how they will present. I always tell my students to be open to emotions presenting themselves in class, during different postures. Yoga is one of the few places where, when we've trained our minds enough to really let go, feelings and thoughts can surface without the filter of judgement or control. It's great when that happens. There's no overflowing coffee grounds from this kind of expression. It comes up, it comes out. And we're ready for a second cup.

What a disappointment it was when this old stuff showed up. Initially, when I first recognized that damn, I gotta deal with this, it felt like a disaster. Coffee EVERYWHERE! Who knows why this happens. Maybe we are presented with emotions when we have enough room in our lives to listen. Maybe it happens when we practice enough yoga and our heads are sufficiently clear to notice the noise. Maybe it's a momentary interaction that, like a shock, jars our psyche to attention. It's likely a myriad combination, different for each of us.

My anxiety still shows up, but less frequently. It is still here, and like the purse, it might come out of the closet every three years. It will make a brief showing and go back into the closet. The disaster of it is over. I'm in clean up mode. Rinsing out the filter, adding new grounds. Starting from scratch.

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