Monday, August 31, 2015

the light at the end of the grocery store aisle

i was mopey all weekend. apparently i was being a "mopey mopey babe." last night one of my friends was trying to cheer me up and he dragged me out with him to pick up a pizza. as we were walking toward the pizza shop, it started raining. i almost broke down in tears, being in the mopey mood i was in. he pushed me into the grocery store we were next to, and told me to wait in there for him to get the pizza. as i walked into the store, a sad song was playing, and tears started streaming down my face.

and then, a small panic swept over me: i realized i hadn't brought anything with me--no phone, no money, no keys. i didn't know what pizza store my friend was going to, and now i had been deserted at this grocery store in the middle of a storm. i thought, "i could yelp close pizza stores... oh wait, i don't have my phone. i could go back to the house... oh wait, i don't have my keys."

i walked helplessly in a lap around the store, and then just walked straight back out, sure that i'd never see my friend again.

as i walked outside, my friend walked up and i collapsed in his arms saying i thought i was going to have to spend the night at that grocery store. he laughed a bit maniacally and said that he would never do that to me, though it would've been a brilliant plan--especially considering my level of mopey-ness.

well that whole thing showed me i kind of needed to turn the corner.

what was before the corner? saturday morning i woke up and found that someone i cared about deleted me from their life without any explanation. it was pretty jarring. i'm grown up enough to know that this wasn't my fault, and i reached out via text message to this person and offered compassion, hopefully offering a safe space for this person to respond back to me. they haven't yet. it left me feeling a little small. i was shrinking into myself with fear about the situation.

luckily my friends distracted me most of the weekend.

they are the most lovely friends in the world.

and then this morning i went to yoga. the teacher taught a theme of expansion: of expanding past our physical boundaries. on the mat, i reached my arms wider than i ever had before. i stretched my legs further apart. i cartwheeled my arms bigger, i radiated my heart with more passion and energy than i thought possible.

and i BREATHED. so deeply. so fully.

the feeling that emerged as i did this was overwhelming: i felt myself shattering the shell of fear i had encased myself in over the weekend. i felt myself thinking "i'm bigger than this. i'm bigger than this feeling of fear. i'm bigger than this mopey-self. i'm bigger than all this shit!"

i left the class with a knowing that i'll be ok. a knowing that i turned the corner: i made it out of the grocery store, and i'm making it out of this.

and to the person that evoked all of this: i'm also big enough to handle whatever is going on. that's an offering and a promise.

love, compassion, peace. and expansion. so much expansion. outside and inside.

Friday, August 21, 2015

rose-colored life

i live in new york city, so i've heard a few car horns. ok, i've heard a lot of car horns. this morning i was walking with a friend and he screamed back at a car stuck in traffic "why are you honking? what do you think is going to happen?" i laughed and said that the people honking in the cars were likely very upset about a lot of things, and that they didn't know how to express those emotions in their lives. so? they honk.

"honk" is my new shorthand for "wah wah wah, i don't know how to properly process this!"

we're all guilty of this occasionally, of course.

what's funny about my response to the above story is that i immediately replied with compassion to the people polluting my environment with noise. but when i fail to process something well, i rarely reply with compassion toward myself.

last night a friend told me that they were dealing with some depression/anxiety issues. i replied with compassion. but when i think about my own issues? i reply with the opposite. "why do i feel this way today? what's wrong with me? why can't i feel this way? why can't i act this way?"

mid-blog writing, i paused for dinner. i ran home while listening to a podcast and then over to a friend's to watch a tv show while eating pizza. in those two instances of media mid-writing, i heard two instances referring to the saying "rose-colored glasses." i've never particularly liked that phrase, because i thought that it kind of makes fun of optimists, and i consider myself to be one most of the time.

in the latest freakanomics podcast, they interview dan gilbert (a harvard psychology professor) about some ads he helped prudential with. when he discusses happiness, and people planning for their hopeful futures, he stated the following:
I love the metaphor of rose-colored glasses. That’s the way to view the world. They’re rose-colored, meaning there is a tint. You are seeing a rosier future than we will really experience. But they’re glasses. They’re not opaque, right? They’re not blinders. You actually are seeing the world. And if there’s a train coming, it’s a little bit rose-tinted, but it’s a train.
i really really liked his interpretation of the glasses. it made me feel hopeful.

and then, mid-pizza, i heard another reference to rose-colored glasses on bojack horseman. a character on the show said "when you look at the world through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags." ...and then i felt compassion for that character. it was a potent line, but it didn't dissuade me from wanting to be optimistic about the world. perhaps cautiously optimistic, but still optimistic.

and all of this rose-colored talk reminded me of the compassion i was trying to cultivate toward myself. what if i just slightly altered my perception of myself instead of something more drastic? practicing on others has given me the tools; i just have to reflect the rose-colored tint back inwards.

a rose-colored mirror, if you will.

self-compassion. self-love. hands on heart.