I am blessed.
I am fortunate.
I am valuable.
How can I be of service? -Unknown
This mantra my yoga instructor shared with the class today, could not have mirrored my mantra of focus, any better. The positive affirmation and similarities in context of both mantras, does not seem like coincidence; I’m not a big believer in things happening by chance. This additional gift that seemed to come down from heaven like a dove, helped open my eyes further to see the purpose in my pain. I exist because the world needs me, which means I am valuable, and all who are suffering in life, whether due to a mental illness or not, are ALL valuable and can be of service to SOMEBODY.
While standing in tree pose today, I offered up the positivity I acquired during my practice, to all those who are so weighed down and debilitated by depression. I stood strong in the pose, concentrating and trying not to fall, in honor of those who are not able to stand up just yet. Thoughts of “feeling exhausted” tried to creep in my mind and break my focus from my intention, but my ability to ward off these thoughts was intensified by my rhythmic breathing and being surrounded by over 20 yogis who exuded positive energy. My first time back to practicing yoga in a while, exceeded my expectations. The fluid movements and my body’s ability to remember poses and gracefully float into them, made my foggy mind open up into a place of euphoria.
The body heat from over 20 bodies that intensified with every pose, increased the temperature of the room even more, but the warmth didn’t bother me. I had made it to my mental promise land and it seemed as though no thought of negativity could distract me from that 1 1/2 hours of freedom. After concluding my practice, i surprisingly never came down from that euphoric state of mind. I suddenly had interest in continuing to be active and present in the moment; a feeling that I’m often robbed of every second of the day, due to the fog of exhaustion. It was as if I was on a roller coaster and didn’t know how much longer the ride would last, so I had to enjoy the moment while it lasted.
I felt like scoping out the Nordstrom annual anniversary sale. The idea of shopping has turned my stomach for the worst for the longest time. The agony of imagining how long it would take for me to search through racks of clothes to find a garmet or two that I like, put such a bad taste in my mouth, that I loathed the idea of attempting to try going shopping. There was a time, in what seems like my distant past, that I had such a passion for fashion and shopping, that you wouldn’t have to ask me if I wanted to go shopping, it was a simple yes and when are we going. So I had to ride the passion for fashion short bus while it lasted.
I enjoyed walking the aisles of Nordstrom and imagining what outfits I would wear with what shoes, or happily convincing myself that I NEEDED a certain garment in my life; it was like meeting a ghost from Christmas past, but I welcomed it with arms wide open. The extra 1 1/2 hour of alone time I had to indulge in something that I haven’t enjoyed in a while, felt great, and it’s all because I took a chance at defying the gravity of depression and going to yoga. The feel good chemicals released in my brain during my yoga practice, helped me to WANT to sift through racks of clothes and then once I got home, those same chemicals lead me to take my daughters on a walk without even thinking about it or having to denounce a thought of ” I don’t want to do this”. What PROGRESS. I have yet to remeber a day where I went most of the day without an overwhelming desire to do nothing, but today my desire was to do anything. It didn’t matter what time it was, time didn’t matter, because I enjoyed being present in the moment.
Of course, around six in the evening, I experienced a dip in my mood ( I admit depression and disappointment or anything happening that doesn’t go how I would like it to, affects my mood for the worse) but it didn’t last for long. I didn’t have to color to get out that low state, I didn’t have to practice mindfulness either, I simply just started moving ( took my daughter back outside) and the distraction of being preoccupied, helped get me back to a more stable mindset. I know every depression self help resource says that simply moving or exercising is the best thing for helping with your mood, and my experience today proves that, but getting to the step of even thinking about moving is the hardest task. I truly believe, as my therapist expressed to me earlier this week, that making a schedule for yourself, is the best way to conquer the hardest task of thinking about moving or doing something. If you have already made a schedule when you have a little motivation, then maybe when you are at a point to where your motivation isn’t as high, that sense of commitment to a task you pre planned, will help get you into the action of actually going through with doing something.
I’m not sure if this notion will work for me every time, but it worked for me this time and I am just going to relish in this one accomplishment for now; its best to take things one day at a time. It’s also good practice to honor your achievements no matter how big or small they may be, because when you are battling with depression every second, ANYTHING you can do is an achievement; I’m starting to realize that more and more now as I attempt to retrain my thinking to focus more on the positive, rather than the negative. Which brings me back to the notion of the purpose of my pain. Why, might you ask, should the fact that I am battling depression, have to have a purpose? In my lowest of moments, I have often wondered the same thing.
But with this gift of mental euphoria today, I have had the chance to analyze this question, and I have come up with an answer; there is someone that may be battling with depression or any mental illness in silence, afraid of what the world will think or fearful of what will happen if they get help. I believe wholeheartedly, that my purpose is to be transparent in this struggle, and give someone comfort in knowing that everyday won’t be easy, and there are things that will help you and hurt you in this journey, but you are not alone and there is a reason to keep fighting, because you are valuable.