It happens to all of us. We’re merrily tripping along looking at the pink flowers and thinking about clouds, then BAM!
A string of texts that make your stomach churn.
A bill that’s $10,000 more than you expected.
A misunderstanding, hurt feelings, a canceled flight, a logistical clusterfuck.
You know you should let it go. Rise above. Question your limiting thoughts. Be the grown-up. Stay cool.
BUT YOU JUST CAN’T.
Instead, you spiral into a funk in under 60 seconds. It all seems hopeless, and besides you have just noticed that your jeans are too tight and your teeth seem more crooked than they were yesterday and you begin to think about your inevitable decline and how you aren’t putting enough money into your retirement funds and also how your house might be literally under water in 20 years thanks to global warming, but then you realize you are wallowing and not living in gratitude and you are probably attracting low vibration catastrophes to yourself with your crappy thinking and oh shit!
So then, on top of whatever’s going on, you feel like a total loser– someone Gandhi would have kicked out of meditation class because of your bad breath and terrible personality.
I suck. Nothing ever goes right. There’s something wrong with me. I always screw things up. I’m too mortified to live. It’s all too hard. Everyone thinks I’m embarrassing. Why do I even try when it’s all so hopeless?
When we get knocked off kilter, we can tend to be a tiny bit dramatic. I mean me, myself, *I* can be. I’m sure you never are, dearheart.
But just in case you ever have one of those days when you feel about as terrific as imitation crab meat, read on.
Here’s how to handle those moments.
1. Don’t fight it. Don’t try to be more enlightened than you are, and don’t pretend you feel great when you feel shitty. Let those embarrassing, pitiful, nauseating emotions be there. They may feel like churning in your belly, or an iron fist in your throat, or tears seeping out of your eyes. Make room for them. This is counter-intuitive, but if you give the feelings room to be seen and acknowledged, they can start to MOVE.
2. Move your physical body. Go for a walk, throw some punches, put on some music and dance. Do a few yoga poses; they’re great for letting your body release what’s stuck. Imagine you are using the movement to help your body process and release those big emotions. Picture the sadness pouring off you like sweat. Imagine your muscles squeezing out every last bit of shame. Pretend that you are sending everything icky down through the bottom of your feet into the earth.
3. Then, take a minute to be quiet. If you can, wrap your arms or a blanket around yourself; a sweater will do nicely.
4. After a moment of quiet, choose who you’re going to be today, in light of the fact that you’re having kind of a hard time. Some days you might be Gandalf, Epic Fucking Bad Ass, but other days you might only be Hilda, a minor hobbit who didn’t even make it into the books but was nonetheless known for kindness and integrity.
Sometimes you’ll find that after this emotional release, a powerful aspect of yourself is ready to rise up and face whatever’s next. Other days the best you can do will be to wobble through the day with a minimum of dignity. On these days, just keep yourself company, like a gentle and loyal friend would. That can be pretty damn powerful too.
5. Do something physical to demarcate that you are deliberately stepping into this new feeling state. Put on perfume, or light a candle, or go get a cup of coffee. Straighten your desk, or sharpen a pencil, or put a post-it on your phone that says “You can do this.” Don’t underestimate the power of simple physical actions; when done with attention and heart, they can be powerful rituals.
Life is messy. It involves tears, and snot, and Big Feelings.
That’s ok. Epic fucking badasses are just people who aren’t afraid of those things.
Two important notes about this: Dearheart. The steps above only work if you actually DO them. It doesn’t have to be complicated; you can do them all sitting in your office chair, in less then five minutes. Try them.
Also: if you can’t shift a funk for hours and days and weeks, it’s not a funk; it’s a depression. Find a good therapist who can help you, ok?
May all your funks end in laughter, and may all your shitty days end with a soft pillow for your sweet head…and a chance to try again tomorrow.