Monday, January 3, 2011

Move Out of Depression

A total kitsch Mary -- just my thing!
I did everything "they" recommend: I wrote; I talked; I walked; I ate better; I did yoga; I meditated/prayed.  I would get glimpses of my true self, a happy self, but she had no staying power.  Depression and anxiety always returned and were my majority emotional/spiritual states.  The glimpses were few, far between, and short lived.

The glimpses even felt cruel.  Why give them to me if it were inevitable that they depart so quickly?  The up and then the was exhausting and felt purposeless.

Then, as I have written here a million times, I returned to dance and found my joy, which is the key to our healthy hearts.

Last night, after teaching a Kundalini Yoga & Movement class, someone asked me about her sadness.  And oh...her eyes...I have seen those same eyes looking back at me in the mirror.  I know that look.

I found myself telling her that where her body goes, her spirit and her emotions will follow.

This is the beauty of teaching: your students push you to articulate all of this knowledge that you have spent a lifetime gathering, not necessarily noticing that you have it to give until someone asks it of you.

What a beautiful exchange this is...

Back to what I told her: Where your body goes, your spirit and emotions will follow.

This is the missing link in most approaches to emotional and spiritual illness.  We intellectualize it; we try to understand it; we construct story and then new story around it; we try to put into words what was done to our (wordless) souls.

We mistakenly try to heal our brains with our brains.

And then we wonder why...or I do, anyway...why it feels as though our heads may explode!

For many years, I have suggested to people that perhaps starting with something more concrete, like feeling healthier in a physical way, may be a trigger of sorts to your mind and heart that you are ready for the real work of shedding and becoming new inside.

From the outside in, for some reason, always made more sense to me than from the inside, out, but this goes against most of the mental health professions recent and late thinking, so I thought I must just be full of it.

But now I know: the more fit I am physically, the more I am able to be fit of mind and spirit and heart, because this work is hard and it takes literal strength and stamina.

This is, by no means, an "easy solution."  Getting physically fit means committing to yourself.  It means sweating profusely, not just taking a little walk every day.  It means working your butt off and pushing your body past what you thought it could do.  And that means finding movement that is fun because otherwise it won't last, you won't last.

Are you willing to work this hard to save yourself? To be reborn into the beauty and joy for which you were intended?


Anna Guest-Jelley said...

Thanks for sharing this. It really resonates with me as I've been doing a lot of work around embodiment recently in my own life. I also recently read something from Kris Carr over at Crazy Sexy Life about how one of her doctors had suggested she do endurance training, but not to think of it in the usual sense as, for example, training for a marathon, but rather as training to endure--in life. I really loved that.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Anna, I LOVE that! Exactly. :)

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Interesting. I think what conventional medicine tries to do is heal the brain with the mind. The mind, being a manifestation of the body, of which the brain is a part. And what of the spirit? True, we can never think the problem of spiritual malaise away.

Jennifer said...

You are my inspiration! :D

But I have to ask about the Mary--
is she a bank?
I saw those at Borders. They also had glitter Jesus banks.
My husband took one look, shrugged and said "well.... you know what they say"
I did not.
He says " you know...Jesus Saves"

LauraX said...

This is beautiful Christine and makes perfect sense to me...when I could dance and maintain a full asana practice I did...and I still do what I can to keep my body toned, strong, flexible...but it is so much harder with nerves that don't always function I have learned to pay attention to what I feel on a deeper level than I ever could before...for some of us the place or bodies go is into stillness...but there is wholeness and wellness in this place too.

I love what you have said about is a remarkable discernment heals us too.

claire said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Christine! And I feel what you say down to the marrow in my bones.

Now it is up to me to move.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My huge problem isn't that I'm not physically capable of pushing myself, but mentally it's very, very hard. It's enough if I can even make myself do the little walk, let alone walk even more. Same thing with dancing. I enjoy it the most, but there's too many times when it's very difficult to make myself do enough or get much out of it. I'm working on trying to get around this because I know it's the answer. It's just when I don't feel well enough to some degree (quite often), that's when I struggle yet if I don't do it, I'll struggle even more. Not. fun.

Brigid said...

I struggled with anxiety and occasional depression for years and years. Once I found yoga, I really felt that movement was the answer to these issues - well, part of the answer at least. Just like dance helped you so much.

But I remember so well what a friend said to me when I suggested she do something physical to ease her chronic depression. She said "I don't think you realise what it means to not even be able to get off the couch, let alone do some exercise."

This has always stuck with me - that it can be that bad. I feel fortunate it was never that bad for me.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Brigid, as someone who has spent a large portion of her life barely wanting to LIVE, I DO understand what your friend meant.

I ALSO understand that you STILL have to do it. Period. There is no other choice. Eventually, we come to learn that we either choose to live or to die, and to not make the choice is the same as dying.

Heather Plett said...

"This is the beauty of teaching: your students push you to articulate all of this knowledge that you have spent a lifetime gathering, not necessarily noticing that you have it to give until someone asks it of you."

That line totally resonates for me today, after a day of teaching students who were eager to make vision boards and talk about the "joy factor" and then listen to a blessing from O'Donohue. :-)

Christine said...

Beautiful and very true words. I've been coming to realize that is where I'm at. I need to move, but it is so hard to get started.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your words. Thank you for sharing.