When the unconscious is not made conscious it is perceived as fate.Carl Jung
When I first started doing yoga I realized that I had been ignoring my own bells, whistles, and cries for attention. I plowed through not sleeping well, loneliness, a bad cold, just even the very act of going pee when you need to go. Paying attention to my body – Just Noticing – without any big story of how or why I felt that way, shined a light on how I was acting as if it didn’t matter how I felt.
It’s not that I didn’t notice how I felt, I simply hadn’t been responding appropriately. When I felt lonely, I stayed home and wandered around my house. When I was tired, I kept working because I clearly wasn’t doing enough. When I was resentful, I dug deeper into whatever was causing the resentment.
Responding appropriately to those feelings of exhaustion might have looked like taking a brief nap, sleeping in, or going to bed earlier — getting some sleep. When lonely I might have called a friend instead of throwing myself a pity party. When resentful feelings started to bubble up, I might have tried to be honest and ask to reset the situation. My kids are learning that when they are playing with our puppy and she starts to nip at them, they need to respond appropriately, which means get up and walk away. If you slam your finger in a door jam, you respond appropriately by putting ice on it.
This morning I got a little sweaty on a short run with that aforementioned puppy. About 2 hours after that sweaty run I was freezing in my very old, drafty house. I thought maybe I needed more coffee because that’s just what I often think. But, I felt jittery and agitated from being cold and having already drank 2 cups of coffee. So I TOOK A HOT SHOWER. And then I never wanted to leave the hot shower. I warmed up, calmed down, and put clean, warm clothes on. THIS was an appropriate response to that kind of freezing that makes you grumpy and jumpy.
These kind of seem like inconsequential needs. But, if we aren’t responding to these very basic needs of our body, mind, spirit, how we will be able to respond appropriately to our feelings when we are in a much more complicated situation – like at work, with family, in our communities?
Maybe taking a nap when you are tired, re-minds you that you are a valuable human, How You Feel Matters, and you will not tolerate being hurt/taken advantage of/belittled/etc by _________________________ (insert relationship).
Here’s The Practice ________________________________
- When the unconscious is not made conscious, it is perceived as fate. – Carl Jung
- ? What unconscious teaching are you learning when you respond appropriately to your feelings?
- ? What unconscious teaching are you learning when you ignore or respond inappropriately to your feelings?
- Start with little things that aren’t too heavy, like me taking a shower instead of drinking more coffee when I’m cold. Once you have moved through some of your most basic needs, then maybe dive into the ones that need a long, patient, and compassionate consideration. And tell me how this practice was for you, if you feel comfortable!