Last week I noticed a low-level feeling of sadness clouding over my otherwise blue skies. I had a deadline to meet, so I pushed down a growing sense of nostalgia arising in me, that was craving the everyday pleasures that I took for granted before the virus. I was missing simple things, like not having to remember my mask every time I leave the house, relaxed meals with friends, wider family meet-ups, and most of all girls' days out with my my lovely daughter. It wasn't convenient for me to give these feelings space by allowing myself to feel them. I had to review and revise the final proof and artwork for my Yoga by the Stars book. I resolved to put these feelings aside and make one final push to get the book over the finishing line, ready to go to the printers.
Once I'd met my deadline, and spent some time feeling exhilarated that my editor had signed the book off, I noticed that those wistful feelings, I mentioned earlier in this post, were still lingering in the background of my mind. The wise part of me knew that the best thing to do was to stop and be with the feelings. Another part, less wise, whispered to just carry on, ignore them, minimising and invalidating the feelings. A low-level migraine had also been hanging around for a few days too.
Yesterday, in preparation for writing my monthly Yoga by the Stars newsletter, I read through the Scorpio chapter of the Yoga by the Stars book. It reminded me of the importance of doing the warrior work of approaching and befriending our fears, and how we must learn to cultivate compassion for our struggles and difficulties, surrounding them with love and understanding. It reminded me to stop and feel my feelings, which I did using a tried and tested way of doing this, the Surrounding a Difficulty with Love Meditation (page 126 of my Yoga Through the Year book). The amazing and unexpected benefit of doing this meditation, on this occasion, which included a good cry, was that my migraine completely disappeared and I felt better than I had for days!
The Surrounding a Difficulty with Love Meditation allowed me to turn towards and feel all the difficult feelings of loss and yearning that I had been pushing aside. I noticed where I was feeling the feelings in my body. I surrounded these tight, tense areas with love and compassion. I gave myself up to the tears that arose, staying aware of bodily sensations and my breathing. I followed this with a Mindfulness of Body and Breath meditation, to bring me back down to earth and ground myself, and I finished with a 3 Minute Breathing Meditation. This whole process took about 30-40 minutes. Afterwards I felt lighter, energised, and my migraine had disappeared. What a relief!
So, how are you feeling? Before you say, "I'm fine thanks", pause for a minute, and ask yourself how are you really feeling? We all have losses during this pandemic. Our lives have changed irrevocably, and it is worthwhile to stop and allow our selves to recognise how we feel about the monumental changes that are occurring in our lives and the wider world. The lesson of the zodiac sign Scorpio is that if we face fear, we can find freedom.
See also: Mindfulness to Manage Difficult Emotions for a script of the Surrounding a Difficulty with Love Meditation (or page 126 of the Yoga Through the Year book).
Hello, I am Jilly Shipway, the author of Yoga Through the Year, and my forthcoming book Yoga by the Stars. In this Yoga by the Stars blog I will share with you zodiac-inspired yoga insights and inspiration. I also have another blog on my Yoga Through the Year website.