Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? Just kind of a lingering "blah," or perhaps an "ugh," or maybe a lump in your throat while you're smiling about your busy day? I used to experience big ruts, rather often, and I'd like to share with you how I'm starting to learn some mad driving skills on this life course!
I've identified two major factors that have allowed me to have a down in the dumps day, and not a 3 month rut. The first is that I no longer try to make myself happy when I don't feel it. It's paradoxical, right? I used be really uncomfortable just letting myself feel like crap. Because I'm committed to living the most positive, energetic, joyful life that I possibly can, I used to fight the low places, and in doing so, they stuck around. Sometimes for a while. Constantly battling the blah created so much negativity! Self criticism that I wasn't feeling as happy as I wanted. Self doubt that I was capable of living the life of my own dreams. Self defeat that dang, I am just not pulling this vibrant life thing off. That's a lot of adversaries besides just feeling like staring at a wall or crying! Not to mention draining and depleting. And the harder I tried to make myself happy, the faster I spiraled down that staircase. Here's the funny thing. When I started to really be in tune with how I felt, and actually let myself feel it, as deep as it needed to be felt, it's a little magical that it just started to dissipate! No, really. At first it was really scary for me to feel the bad guys. They can be kind of... demonic! They have a fearful illusion of power. Actually sitting with how I felt, and letting myself go to that place - that sadness, anger, hurt, whatever - felt like jumping of a cliff. No way out and no turning back. But I quickly realized that when you face that fear, when you feel the emotion and locate where it sits inside you, and stay with it, allow it, even invite it, it melts into a deep, strong peace. Love. Joy even! The process has taken the judgment out of the emotion for me. It's allowed me to just feel crappy one day, and not have it hang around. Not beat myself up, but actually care for myself, and more easily for others, with compassion. Be with where you're at!
The second big factor that is ultimately uplifting is what I like to call sustainable energy. When the majority of my time and attention are directed at collecting and cultivating positive habits, inspiring thoughts, and nurturing friendships, there seems to be a lingering carry-over. Maybe it's like having storehouses of food, or an emergency fund. When I have times of lower energy, that feel more negative, there's a little bit of magnetism that happens. It connects me to a place of peace and faith. When I've put the effort into filling and surrounding myself with things that reflect my passion, positivity, and light, often there's enough to shine into the shadows.
Speaking of sustainable energy, I just can't leave out food! Just like negative thoughts don't create positive changes (and feeling bad about feeling bad doesn't create happiness), food without nutrients can not create balanced hormones, strong muscles, or properly functioning cells. I know it seems obvious to say that, but I think many people don't connect the food they eat with their emotions or physical ailments. But in truth, there's no way to separate them! Geneen Roth says that "How you do something, is how you do everything." Our lives are on our plates. What and how we eat reflects our feelings of self worth, our satisfaction, our alignment with the life we're living. I've found that to be true for me. I have used food to satisfy many areas besides hunger. To comfort, to fill, to numb. I noticed a funny thing about feeling full. I used to joke that I did not come with a "full" switch - no matter how much I ate, I never felt full. I was a bottomless pit! It wasn't until I started to understand that we are physically nourished by so much more than food, that I realized I was trying to fill to fill the "empty" areas in my life with food. When I started to really feel and allow feelings, I no longer tried to "stuff" them with food. When I addressed the parts of my life that I wasn't living to the fullest, I began to feel satisfied with food (quite a delightful feeling)! It really fascinated me to see how intertwined my life is with the food I eat, and how easily it is to be nourished and satisfied by food when I'm not using it to meet needs that can't be met with food.
Have you noticed that with me, somehow, everything is always coming back to food?! I'm a little sorry, but also delighted to share the connection with you! I'm not so sure anymore that we are what we eat. I think, perhaps, we eat what we are.