Leave What’s Heavy

It’s a dreary day in Vermont today & my favorite Spotify playlist played a song that resonated with me.  These lyrics made me pause:

Leave what’s heavy,
What’s heavy behind
Leave what’s heavy,
What’s heavy behind

There is so much heaviness in our world today. In the news. In our hearts and minds. In this season of Winter which just drips in heaviness of coats, scarves, hats, gloves, snow covered cars. In all the things that can weigh us down. Like sadness and loss and grief and too many cookies. So how do we actually leave what’s heavy in the face of political turmoil? In the face of more cold days? In the face of the never ending do-to-lists?

For me, I try to laugh as much as possible. And to feel lightness in my body. But I also know that this technique can feel fake or not genuine. Like I am perhaps just covering up sadness with a pretend sense of joy. I try to live an authentic life. One that allows me the courage to be sad and anxious and joyful. Sometimes all in one hour. And to be honest about it. It’s so hard to be honest about painful emotions. The other day I went to a lunch time yoga class & the teacher asked me how I am. I smiled & said “Great.” Because she didn’t want to hear that I am sick of dreary weather and miss sunshine and feel sad about political changes and that it’s painful to watch my mom and dog get older.

Or maybe she would have understood? Maybe she would have said “You know, I feel that too. I just wanted to stay in bed today.” But she probably didn’t want to let me know that maybe she didn’t want to teach yoga on this particular day.

Also, I didn’t give her a chance to express some authenticity because I wasn’t authentic either.

For the rest of the day, I tried to be more honest and present with my thoughts and emotions.

One of my favorite writers Glennon Doyle Melton recently wrote about how it’s human nature to become an “easy-button junkie, doing whatever (we) can to avoid pain.” And she continues to say that she bravely “keeps a list of my easy buttons: alcohol, overeating, overexercising, shopping, excessive Facebooking. I avoid them all and try to always face hurt squarely. ” She is inspiring to make a mental list of my easy buttons: too many cookies, negative thoughts, worrying, and catastrophizing. So what will I do instead? Breathe & remind myself that this too shall pass. And allow myself to say what’s true, even if it’s easier not to, even if it may make someone else uncomfortable.

And allow what’s heavy to feel heavy. Because it won’t always feel so heavy.

Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message. – Pema Chodron