I have so many feelings. So many. So many. So many.
It’s like I have a bunch of rivers flowing through me, just beneath the surface of my skin – and they all have different widths and depths and colors and power.
Some have big, bulging boulders that are like islands – the ones you lay on like a lizard in the summer – and the river water has to gush and jump up and around it’s edges and back over the sides to continue its journey to the ocean’s expanse. This river makes makes big, showy splashes. This river is fun and exciting and gives you a little tingle on the inside. Your friends usually love this one and so do you. If you are on the nearby shore, you might get wet. This river moves fast, traveling swiftly by you. It’s surprising…and a little dangerous.
Some are very deep and dark and scary and wide. There are huge expansion bridges that some people use to travel quickly and safely and orderly over this big, dark river. I tend not to use the bridge. All of a sudden, I am in the middle of this river. And it’s so deep you can’t help from wondering what is just below your toes, swimming around and wanting to nibble on your digits. You want to curl up into a ball and close your eyes, but if you do…you will sink very low. You feel like you might drown in the darkness this time. This could be the one that really does you in and pulls you under. You are smack dab in the middle of it. You don’t know how you got here and you aren’t sure you can make it to the shore. And you feel so so so so alone. All of the people who love you are throwing you those white and red lifesavers to you from the shore, but the fog is so thick and you are so tired, you just can’t see them. You aren’t sure you even want to see them.
Some are thin – more like a creek. It is always running through your back yard. Sometimes you sit by it and write. It’s a trickle. It’s not really big enough to bother taking your shoes off and getting your feet wet. Or paying much attention to. It’s in the background and you mostly forget it’s even there. Mostly it’s ignored. But, it is there. It’s always there. You can kind of hear the trickle when it’s warm out and your bedroom windows are open. In one particular season, it’s where all of the mosquitos mate and this little creek creates a total frenzy of bites, itches and tenderness. And then you wonder why you don’t pay more attention to it.
Some you want to jump in while wearing your favorite yellow sundress on a hot August day, barefoot and tan, maybe your hair in braids, lips covered in a shiny smear of your favorite lippy. You smell like coconut sunscreen. You feel strong and brave and sexy and very wild. You are with your favorite people – the ones who totally get you and accept you and love you and honor you – and possibly an oiled-up lover. There is music here and it pulses through your body. The water is the perfect temperature. You tear off your sundress, toss it on a nearby rock and jump right in. This river makes you feel like you can do anything. It’s brisk and enlivening. Life is so fucking good. You wonder why you can’t stay here forever. Why do things shift? Why do I ever have to leave this river? I am already feeling nervous about my departure.
It’s Friday morning and school has been cancelled here for at least a week, but we all know it’s going to be much longer. The news isn’t good. And people are scared. I was not worried at all – you know, keeping that untouchable, very American feeling of “not gonna happen to me” attitude and now I’m feeling more concerned. Jittery, unsettled and anxious.
We are all expressing it in different ways: some as jokesters on social media, some as helpers sharing the “facts” and the “real news”, some as therapists or healers showing us how to stay grounded and calm. It’s a lot to take in.
Yesterday I taught a yoga class and when my friends arrived on their mats, I could feel their fear. It was like walking into a hot, thick den of fear and anxiety. I was pretty sure my friends did not need 60 minutes of sun salutations under the guise that everything was rosy. I couldn’t ignore it. A true yoga practice is about presence, after all. We needed to stop, get present and dive into the emotions that were bubbling up underneath everything else. We needed to explore the nooks and crannies of our insides.
We started talking. There was fear that our children and our aging parents would get ill. There was anger. There was sadness.
We got still and explored how these things felt inside our bodies. In our toes, in our hips, in our chests, hearts, neck and behind our eyes. There was buzzing and throbbing and pulsing.
We explored these feelings and their energetic patterns, the rivers living just beneath the surfaces of each of us.
But still….we needed to process them, move them, digest them. I had an idea. I do this on my own, but haven’t shared it with my students, yet. Now was the perfect time.
We got wild, we let our beasts out of the cage and we fucking raged. Hard.
My beautiful, meditative, chill yoga playlist was put on hold. One of my students asked for Guns ‘n Roses. So, we went there. Ohhhhh…did we go there. “Welcome to the Jungle” pumped over my little Echo Dot – we couldn’t get it quite loud enough. And we screamed and we threw things and we howled and we cried. And then, almost on cue, we all fell to the floor panting. All of us. Like wild beasts after a great, bloody kill. Like spent warriors after glorious battle. Like a mother after birthing a child. It was so beautiful. It was wild. It was gorgeous and true and right. And exactly what we needed….to return to our wildness.
If you are reading this…I’m curious how you are processing your feelings? Meditation? Writing? A good run? Talking with friends? A stiff drink?
Do you even know how you feel? Or is it a jumbled, tangled, fishing wire mess? Can you dive in and explore the rivers? Can you allow yourself return to your wild, beastly nature? If you feel fearful or scared, do you cry? If you feel anger, do you rage? If you feel alone, do you call a friend and tell her you want to talk and feel seen and loved? Who do you let in?
If you are reading this, you are probably a woman. And if you are a woman, you have probably learned from an early age not to be “too emotional”. ‘Cause no one wants to see that, right? It might make someone feel uncomfortable. Stay in your cage, woman.
Well, fuck that shit.
You know that there is a beautiful, beastly wild woman inside of you, right? And she’s fucking gorgeous. And she wants to see the light. And she wants to be expressed. She wants you to dive in and be all Belinda Kirk (look this badass wild woman up) and explore the raging rivers.
Listen, I’m not telling you to dump all of your raging rivers onto the folks around you.That’s not fair or right. I am suggesting you to find a space where you can express all of this stuff. Maybe it’s your basement. Maybe you go into the woods (my favorite). I think the shower is awesome for crying. I do most of my crying there. And the water is soothing.
Maybe invite some tight friends to join you in this 🤷♀. The ones who get you and love you. Doing this stuff together is magic. It is how beautiful communities of women are formed – by witnessing each other and honoring each other as their wild selves. Wherever and with whomever.
Just do it. Dive in. Explore the waters. And, if you are feeling up for it, let me know how it goes.
Ok. I love you. Seriously, I do.