Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. – I think we’ve all heard that before. I don’t really know what it means, though, because how can you feel pain and not suffer?
So yesterday, I took care of myself as best as I could while I was at work. I reached out to my best friend, someone I know can relate, and made it known how difficult my day was. Just one text, and I suddenly wasn’t so alone. I spent time organizing myself for the week, and forgave myself in advance for the lack of productivity.
When I got home, I cleaned and spent time with Aaron and his mother, but I also carved out time for myself on my mat. I didn’t follow a video, or surrender myself to something easy. Instead, I brought my emotions to the mat with me, and followed the flow my body needed for almost an hour. I swear at one point I just danced for a few minutes mid-warrior pose. I listened to the energy around me and took what I needed to heal myself. Afterwards, I meditated in child’s pose, releasing my weight to the earth, and setting my hands in prayer above my head.
The darkness can only be beat by the internal light you shine.
I asked my best friend Sami to contribute to today’s piece, to interpret what this darkness and depression feels like and looks like for her. She’s excited to be involved, so much so that I may just let her write something to stand alone and contribute to the conversation. I want more voices here, especially on this topic. If you have something to say, don’t hesitate. Write to me.
Depression isn’t one thing, and it’s not the same for everyone, but I believe anyone who has spent a large portion of their life suffering with the disease will tell you that recovery and healing comes from within. Outside forces can contribute to the dark or the light, but the truth lays in how we react to those energies. As often as I can, I choose to radiate positivity. That doesn’t mean I don’t get road rage, or feel frustrated by stupid people on a daily basis. It means that when I can, I do the intentionally kind thing, the purposefully positive thing. Maybe no one notices, maybe it changes no one’s day, but maybe it does.
Today is a new day, and for that I am so grateful. I have a delicious cup of coffee in front of me, a beautiful day outside with bright blue skies and shining sun, and an awesome yoga class to look forward to tonight. Who knew that Pittsburgh would hold so many amazing souls, and such a strong community of beautiful, inspiring yogis. Tonight, I’ll practice on the roof of Skybar, a nightclub and lounge downtown, as the sun sets and the moon rises. As incredible as my home practice has been, it’s enhanced consistently by the energy of an authentic group of yogis coming together for events like this. A big shout out to all the yogis who make that possible to look forward to.
I feel immersed here in a community of not just yogis, but independent and confident women. At lunch, I’ll get to enjoy the company of 5 other women I work with, all of us at various points in our life. One has never been married or had children, but has a career history anyone would envy. One has children who will soon be grown. One has a 5-year-old. One is a sophomore in college. Together, we’re a sample of what strong women look like, and I’m honored to get to call them friends now. I want to be both, a strong woman, and a gentle one. Is that a pipe dream? Is it possible to not have it all – which is cliche – but to feel it all? To feel empowered and caring, to balance somewhere in the middle of not letting the world break you, but not letting it trample you either?
Warrior strength means having the courage and the back bone to try again tomorrow. Release today, if it no longer serves you. Breathe. Engage tomorrow, for it is the light we can look forward to. Smile. Breathe. Namaste.