Happy New Year? Processing My Feelings in 2021

I woke up a week ago Wednesday ready to take on 2021. By the afternoon, I was over it. I was cast into a combination of sadness, anger, and worry as I watched a group attempt to take over the US Capitol. Rioters waved at news cameras and gave full interviews, justifing their actions with circular arguments and erroneous references to the Constitution.

My daughter and I stayed up late that night, watching as Congress finished the electoral vote count. I felt like I had been in a fight by the time I went to bed, and I didn’t feel much better the next day. Somewhere in there, I taught a yoga class. But I’ll be damned if I remember what we did or talk about. I was exhausted.

A week later, my feelings are still all over the place. Now I’m hopeful, sad, angry and worried. And, depending on when you ask me, any one of those feelings could have the spotlight.

When multiple emotions are fighting for the attention, it’s easy for me to lose focus or just appear to be going through the motions. This is when I’m challenged to practice yoga off the mat. Being present to my emotions, whatever they may be, and noticing what triggers them, helps me stay more in tune with my needs. When I’m able to process and communicate those feelings, it also makes me more compassionate, patient (sometimes), and understanding in my dealings with others.

What does being present in your emotions look like? The concept is simple. The practice is hard. Feel what you feel when you are feeling it. If you need to give the feeling a name, do it. That’s it. Easier said that done, right? It’s much easier to ignore or bury them. But as Shrek said, it’s better out than in. Pent up emotions cause stress, heartache, and potentially health problems, and if and when those emotions finally come out, it won’t be pretty.

Do you need to be able to create a complicated physical shape to do this? Nope. All you need is the ability to breathe and to think. The rest, connecting with your breath, bringing your awareness the present moment, acknowledging your feelings, that’s the yoga. You can do those things while in tree pose or when doing the dishes.

As for 2021? Time will march on, and I pray that we will too. Be good to yourself.

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