An Unwelcome Guest

An Unwelcome Guest

An Unwelcome Guest

I’ve been feeling unbalanced in recent days, and I’m finding it difficult to remember what it feels like to feel strong, grounded, steady, and balanced. There’s a sense of misalignment, which in turn is causing this feeling of unease.  In the same way that physical illnesses manifest themselves through various symptoms, this too is a symptom of something being amiss within my spirit, mind, or heart. I know it’s temporary, though at times it feels like anything but. The urge to ignore it, to distract myself, to numb it… all those feelings are there, yes. 

What exactly has me feeling off? Well, I could point to the fact that I haven’t adequately prioritized my self-care routines of late: daily meditation, going to the gym, doing yoga, barefoot hiking, drinking ample water, sleeping consistently, etc. Straying away from these grounding practices for too long can make it more difficult for me to stay grounded in the midst of the myriad things life brings my way. So yes, doing those things must be a priority, no matter how busy life gets. But what else?

I’m feeling depressed. You know, it’s hard for me to say that. There’s a stigma with feeling depressed, I think. I can barely acknowledge it to myself let alone to others in my life, though I’m trying harder to be honest and real with people when they ask me how I am. That’s how I feel as I write this, and it’s absolutely okay that I feel it. It’s not something for me to be ashamed of or that I want to medicate away. “Welcome,” I say to this emotion, which I once viewed as an unwelcome guest to be rushed off as quickly as possible. “Let’s sit a while. What are you here to show me?”

It’s hard for me to say that I’m feeling depressed—as if there’s a dark cloud over me that I can’t see through and can’t seem to shake—because it’s not really how I see myself. Rather, I see myself as a strong, grounded, calm man who is on top of his life. I nurture a vision within myself of being a mighty, sturdy tree that is deeply rooted and able to weather the fiercest of storms. So what does it say about me when I’m something other than that strong tree that I imagine myself to be, or that unwavering bedrock that others can always rely upon to keep them steady? It says that I’m human, a being blessed with a plethora of emotions, all of which make this human experience unique and profound.

I strive to be the best man that I can be, and have dedicated my life to healing and developing myself so that I can be of greater service to others. Some days I fall short of my aspirations, and in those moments it can feel as though I’m a million miles away from my true self. In times of personal struggle, it’s all too easy to judge myself. I’ve done that for much of my life. Now, however, I practice compassion for myself, and I strive to love myself more. I don’t ask for forgiveness because there is nothing to forgive. I am exactly as I’m meant to be in this moment.

In this state of depression, unbalance, and unease, there is a gift. It tells me that something is off, and it asks for my help in restoring balance. I may not know immediately what is off, nor thus what to do about it, but I at least know that something in my life needs to be addressed and that this feeling will remain or return until I’ve addressed it. It might be something minor—imagine how even the tiniest piece of glass in your foot can create intense pain—or something significant. Restoring balance may mean addressing something within ourselves, something outside of ourselves, or simply changing our perspective. Because our perspective creates our reality, changing the lens through which we view our world can change how we feel about it. As I sit with these feeling and surrender to them I feel clarity return, and with it some sense of peace. I’m beginning to understand what’s coming up for me.

My dear guest, thank you. Thank you for visiting me. Thank you for offering to show me something that I need to see, for pointing me toward what that something may be, and for patiently giving me time and space to find my way to the answers, which lie within me. I know that the more I resist you, the more you insist on staying. So stay, as long as you need to. Each time you come I learn something new, heal something new, and grow more loving and compassionate. Until next time.