I've been hearing a lot of my creative friends and community talk about struggling with intense emotions lately. The turn of a new year offers a huge opportunity for renewal, a refreshing start, and a revival of motivation to act towards our intentions.
And if you are a person who is saying, "That's all good and well, but I feel like a mess... Who can set goals when everything is up in the air like this?!"
I hear you... And you're exactly where you need to be.
Learning about emotional stability has been, well, a roller coaster. And for me finding balance has felt more like finding compromise... being more ok with mediocre than I used to be... "settling" for the middle ground... These are phrases that used to make me gag, because all I wanted was to feel passionate and alive. An interesting thing happening though when I began to notice the results I was getting on the outside.
- I had moved close to 10 times in 5 years
- I was bankrupt for the 2nd time in 2 years (meaning, in large amounts of debt and with less than $5 to my name)
- I could not make my rent payment, requiring me to couch surf for 1 month
- I was no longer spending quality time with any of my friends
- I was crying every day in what seemed like never-ending waves of depression, anxiety, and fear
- None of my goals were coming into a reality, and I had no idea why
- I just found who I thought was the love of my life, and all of a sudden nothing about it was working
This was one of the most chaotic, insecure, and intense periods of my life. It seemed like I couldn't find my ground anywhere. Was there even a ground at all?
Of course there was, and I was standing on it all along although, I definitely couldn't see it at the time. I realize now that there were some really, really valuable tools that I just didn't have that could've brought a lot of grace, ease, and beauty to this natural phase of living. I thought maybe I'd share some of those today, for anyone else who may be going through some of your own intensity, and not knowing where to turn for support.
1) Find support. Whatever people, groups, and/or experiences create enough safety for you to fall apart and be completely vulnerable and honest, spend more time there. Maybe this is a support group, a good friend, spiritual community, or maybe an online support space. Whatever triggers your "I feel safe" button, let yourself have the blessing of feeling held by something that is not you. It makes a world of difference, and could even offer you something you didn't expect.
2) Feel your feelings. We have a million different coping strategies available, many that are socially acceptable and encouraged by many. I realize that these coping mechanisms seem to make all the dirty stuff disappear in the moment. Let me assure you though, it doesn't disappear. Not only that, but it actually feels good when you are experience pure emotion. Give it a try, and if you need help a good therapist can be an amazing resource for developing this invaluable skill.
3) Drop the story. Whatever scripts you have going on about what's wrong with you, what's wrong with everyone else, and why the world hates you... They are so, so not helpful. What is helpful, is developing strategies to experience what is actually happening right now. When we become present, we recognize that much of our "intensity" is parts of us still living through the lens of old fears, or ideas about the world that are no longer serving us.
4) Affirm yourself through self-expression. What you consciously create makes a powerful statement to yourself, about how you feel about yourself. Use this tool to write, paint, dance, draw, sing, and play into what you choose to believe about yourself and the world. Then share it with someone you trust! Artistic expression can be a form of integration that helps us understand ourselves more deeply, and especially during this time of transition, remember to use this amazing tool to aide in your growth process.
5) Lean into others who feel sane. Believe it or not, there are others who are not experience the kind of inner turmoil you are going through. Yes, we are all part of a collective energy system and yes, we do sometimes share a similar experience with others around the same time. But think about it... If everyone were feeling chaotic at the same time, at the same level of intensity, what would be holding it all together? Find some people in your circle (or outside of your circle) who can "just be there." Their neutrality will help temper your intensity, and eventually, you'll be able to return the favor to someone else who's losing it.
6) Take breaks. It might seem like the world revolves around the inner experience you're having right now, but actually, there are many equally beautiful things going on simultaneously. Try joining a few in between your gulps of processing, it's healthy to release the mind and heart for awhile and just be yourself -- however screwed up and lost you may feel.
I hope this offers some of you a new perspective on your journey during this month of renewal (or, whatever the hell we're actually feeling).
Blessings on one of our richest, rawest, and most honest years yet!