Depression as a gift and learning to stay in the moment

Written by Amie on January 12, 2012 – 7:57 pm -

depression was the best thing that happened to me 

I now know *for sure* that depression can be the greatest gift you will ever receive, if you make the choice to come back to your truth and express who you really are. In my opinion, and I think I have said this before, the majority of people walking around today are numb and are depressed. The people who are courageous and who are sick of feeling numb, are the ones who will recover and then go on to help others wake up. I know the consciousness of our planet is growing by leaps and bounds right now. Depression is the soul’s way of waking us up to the truth of who we really are. The truth is every single one of us is pure love. I know this without one doubt in my mind. We are all connected and we are all part of the whole. We all have pure love within us and we all have the capability to be full of joy. I really don’t even like the word depressed because it has such a negative connotation. I can honestly say depression was the best thing that happened to me because it forced me to find my true self. The true self I love unconditionally.

I didn’t know that being present in my life was another option

I want to write about my experience with learning how to stay in the moment. In the past, I didn’t understand what this meant. Even after I read the book, “The Power of Now”, I still don’t think I understood what it meant. I had been in my thinking mind for so long I didn’t know that being present in my life was another option. Once I began waking up and feeling more alive, I began to *really* understand what being present to my life really means. I am sort of “thinking out loud” here because at this point, I am not sure if I will be able to explain the feeling I have about this topic. I will begin by talking about why this topic feels alive in me right now.

everything that happens in my life is because it is what is supposed to be happening

For the past year or so, a certain *knowing* has become a part of who I am. That isn’t very clear, is it?! I will try to describe this feeling. It is a deep knowing I have that helps me trust that all is well. Everything is as it is, and will all work out for my greater good. I am not saying I won’t have disappointment and sadness etc. Everything that happens in my life is because it is what is supposed to be happening. I’m saying, for the most part, I no longer add my “stories” or commentary to situations and experiences. I follow what is happening without trying to analyze it or judge it to be right or wrong. The reason this feels alive in me today, however, is because my old conditioning came back to me in the past few days and I was reminded how it feels to become disconnected from this source of knowing. When I start analyzing a situation, trying to guess the outcome, or trying to figure out the reason behind something, I lose the connection from myself and this *knowing*. The mind (or the ego, or the pain-body) has an agenda to keep me in my conditioned pattern of staying out of the present moment. Just remember, this is something that takes practice if you have been living in the past or the future (in your mind) for a long period of time.

trying to distract myself from my truth or my feelings

When I go into the past or the future in my mind (or some people try to keep themselves so busy so as not to have time to feel), I am not living from my truth. I am living in a made up story with the intent to distract myself from my feelings. When I am distracted from my feelings, depression can very easily creep in and carry me back down. I haven’t been in a deep depression for quite awhile now, but I can feel the feeling in  my body of what I know to be the beginning of falling down into a deep dark hole. I am so grateful to be aware of this pattern. The minute I become aware of what I am doing (trying to distract myself from my truth or my feelings), I remind myself of what is happening, and I am able to come back to what is true.

how to bring yourself back to the moment

I must emphasize to you to please be gentle with yourself while learning this new skill. There are times when, in order to protect ourselves for one reason or another, we must distract ourselves. It is okay to do this if you need to. The important part is that you are aware of doing it. The more you allow yourself to stay in your truth and to be in the moment, you will need to distract yourself less and less. Also, when I talk about staying in the moment, this does not always mean trying to figure out *why* you were avoiding feeling or why you were distracting yourself. Let go of needing to know *why*, and just let yourself feel what is there in your body. The most important tool you have and that nobody can take away from you, is your breath. Breathing and paying attention to your breath will always bring you back to the moment. Practice this right now. Stop reading and just close your eyes and feel the air coming through your nostrils. Feel it flow back out. Now pay attention to your body sensations. Is your stomach tight? Were you holding your breath? Go back to “watching” the air move in and out of your nose. Focus on this. Release the tightness in your body…watch it flow out. Again, no need to figure anything out. Just be an observer. If you find yourself drifting off in your mind…be nice to yourself and say…I will start over. Then focus on the air moving in and out of your nose. If you want to add something to it, you can say to yourself…I am breathing in love (or peace, or whatever you want)….I am breathing out fear (or negativity, or whatever feels true for you).

for example, try this: “I am sitting on a chair”, or “my feet are feeling cold”

Another way to come back to the present moment is this: If you catch yourself doing the analyzing thing…just acknowledge it first…by saying…oops, I am distracting myself right now. Then, tell yourself what is real right now in the moment…for example…if your mind is saying something like, “oh my gosh, why in the world did that happen to me today, this is just crazy, unfair etc.” (and if your pain-body is as mean as mine used to be, it will go further into this: “I must have done something wrong…what is wrong with me…why would I do something so stupid?”) Sound familiar? That was all too common in my mind when I was in a deep depression. The way to start getting out of this conditioning is to state what is *really* true in the moment. Look around you and point out something that is indisputably true. For example, try this: “I am sitting on a chair, or, “my feet are feeling cold”, or, “I feel my toes moving in my socks.” (What is not true in the moment ,or ever for that matter, are the stories you have made up about why you are feeling bad. Test this theory by asking yourself to prove your story. Can you prove it without a doubt?) All of these things (the chair, your feet,etc) are happening in the present moment. This helps bring you back to right now, and then you can focus on your breath. Until a person becomes aware of their thoughts, it is nearly impossible to heal depression. Depression is alive in you because you are not living in your truth. Depression is the pain of your repressed emotions fighting against the truth of who you really are. Your repressed emotions cause an imbalance in your body. Depression happens because you are repressing the true essence of who you are. Shame and guilt keep your true essence from coming out because you were conditioned to hide your true self.

“When we understand that the ability to live with any situation is not in what happens, but in our relationship to ourselves and our own minds, we are free. Absolutely, breathtakingly free.” ~ Geneen Roth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

Written by Amie on June 10, 2011 – 3:21 pm -

Don’t believe everything you think

Just wanted to touch on this subject because it is alive in me right now. Trying to feel comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable is tricky. I never really looked at emotions and feelings from this perspective. I am familiar with avoiding feelings and with trying to push them away for sure. Awareness has helped me see this in a new light. Before I was aware of my thoughts and feelings, I didn’t know I was causing myself more suffering by trying to make my feelings go away. It was just the way I learned to do things. Avoid feeling at all costs. But more recently I have become aware of not wanting to feel uncomfortable. I want to allow my emotions (all of them), but I don’t like being uncomfortable! Catch 22? Yep. I guess just another way of avoiding feeling? Probably. I know that in the past, depression would sweep me away in the swirl of yuckiness. I did not want to feel uncomfortable. Not one bit. But what I didn’t see then was that by attempting to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of depression, I was prolonging the depression. Why would I, or anyone, choose to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable? It is all about allowing *all* emotions. They are all the same thing; they are waves of feelings moving through our bodies. What changes the whole experience is *what we tell ourselves* about those waves.

Keeping yourself stuck in depression

This is tough to learn. I struggle with it without a doubt. I can sit and be with my emotions for a short time but then here comes a thought about what I am feeling. The unnecessary commentary about *why* I am feeling this or that. It is this pattern that gets us in trouble, and keeps us stuck in our feelings of misery. Remember the last post I wrote about believing the stories we tell ourselves? This is what I am talking about. The key for me has been to focus on the feelings in my body instead of the thoughts and stories I am telling myself about my situation. After all, it is the body that stores all of these emotions. The body knows how you feel, and will hold onto everything unless you allow the emotions to flow through.

Checking in with body sensations rather than thoughts

So, I go back to, “what am I feeling in my body?”; “Where do I feel a physical sensation?”; “I feel a tightness in my stomach”; “I feel an ache in my chest”. Once I have named everything I feel, I check in with my body again to see if any of the sensations have lessened. If they haven’t, I go through the process again. If there is a sensation that is very strong, I ask it what it wants to tell me. **if I hear things that sound like the usual stories, such as “I shouldn’t feel this way”, or “she is being a jerk”, I start over because these are not feelings, they are judgments. Very different. A feeling would be more along the lines of “I am sad”, “I am disappointed”, etc. I stay with this until there is nothing else that comes to mind. Then I go through the body check again to see how the sensations have lessened. I might have to do this more than once, because sometimes there are layers upon layers.

All emotions are important

So I am learning to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It is a new thing for us all. We have been conditioned to avoid feeling anything that isn’t happy. We have learned that the darker emotions are somehow bad. They aren’t! They are here to help us grow and learn about ourselves. Emotions are emotions. We have been conditioned to believe the stories in our heads, the negative stories that tell us depression is a terrible thing, and that something is wrong with you if you are depressed. I am not saying depression isn’t horrible, it feels worse than horrible when in the thick of it. I went through years of it. But, it took me so long to see that emotions are not bad-the stories we tell ourselves are. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin includes being uncomfortable at times. Learning to just BE…..with whatever emotions come up is the key to growth.  Most importantly, be gentle with yourself as you are learning this. Years and years of beating ourselves up takes it’s toll. It is time to love and accept yourself exactly as you are…….perfect. All emotions are important. The stories we tell ourselves only keep us stuck in depression. Become aware of your stories……and then let them go. They are not who you are, and they are not true.

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