Making Space for Dark Feelings

Do you like the dark feelings – frustration, envy, anger, fear? I know I don’t. The natural inclination is to avoid or push away these uncomfortable feelings. This moment in time (August 2020) is especially full of the awareness of discomfort. The today we thought and planned to have at the start of the year is not the reality of what we are living. There is pervasive disappointment and suffering and fear all around.

Truth – life is full of disappointment and the future is uncertain. Even before the global pandemic, making a plan for the future was fraught with obstacles. Hardships can come out of nowhere – illness, job loss, car accident, natural disaster. It’s just really loud right now!! How we process these feelings can shift us from suffering to strength and enlightenment.   

Can you keep your equilibrium when everything collapses? This, of course, is one of the questions that yogic practice is meant to answer. 

There are certain gifts we can only attain if we’re willing to navigate disappointment. (Do you buy this idea?) The difficulties of life can lead to profound empowerments when we face the inevitable disillusionment that exists in every human life.

Dhumavati the goddess of disappointment, despair, and difficulty. Her Shakti, her divine energy, is the primal guide along the path that can turn disappointment into enlightenment. When we are willing to be fully present to our moments of disappointment and failure, Dhumavati’s Shakti can free your heart of worry, fear, and grievance—making room for possibilities far beyond anything you could imagine.

Yoga teaches us that when you sit with the intention of going into a deep meditation, you have to let go of egoic concerns, of thoughts, of all of your various agendas. This go is necessary to experience the vastness of unlimited awareness (samadhi). The letting go is tough. There is an innate resist to letting go in meditation and in life. That’s why we so often have to discover this when we have something taken away from us.

Disappointment can be the result of holding onto a desired outcome. Attachment to a particular result, event, or even the ease of moving through life – rather than a clear idea of what is happening in the now – can lead to flailing, trying to avoid the discomfort. This avoiding effort often creates actions that do not align with our true values or what we really want to be doing.

There is an alternative option. You can allow yourself to see disappointment as a lesson in letting go, you begin to discover the profound wisdom of non-attachment. The strength is what comes from letting go of what we want and connecting to what is. How?

  1. Awareness: Feel the discomfort before you move away. Take just a minute to identify what it is. Recognize what you are disappointed about.
  2. Discernment: Create a clear mind. Recognize what is reaction, holding on, envy.
  3. Non-judgement: Give yourself room to recognize the “bad” feelings. These are natural responses so give yourself room.
  4. Gratitude: Connect to what you do have in this moment. Recognize what is important and cultivate it.

Making room for these dark feelings is a strong experience. The challenge is to be big enough for all that life brings your way. In these days, what have you noticed? What is really important/essential? How do you make space to hold ALL the feelings?

When things get too heavy to handle on your own, there is help…

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454
The Lifeline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Lifeline connects callers to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Crisis Text Line
Text “HELLO” to 741741
The Crisis Text hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the U.S. The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, connecting them with a crisis counselor who can provide support and information.

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