I taught a yoga class a few weeks ago and had to hold back my tears much of the class. During savasana especially, I was overwhelmed with a heaviness through my chest, and a deep need to cry uncontrollably. After I brought the women out of savasana and concluded the class, I casually mentioned that if anyone was feeling really sad, to please go home to cry and let it all out. It turns out, one of the girls had recently (and suddenly) lost a pet that had been a huge part of her life. This information confirmed my suspicion - that the deep sadness I was feeling wasn't mine.
Being a yoga teacher, reiki and reflexology practitioner, I have been taught how to ground myself to avoid taking on other people's "stuff," yet it's a practice I have been neglectful of, believing I was immune to other's energy (sometimes I'm like that, you know, I think the rules don't apply to me).
Then I got to thinking about this incident. I didn't just feel sad during that class, I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of deep grief. Every cell in my body was bathed in sorrow. It was a lot to feel so suddenly.
And that made me wonder. How much of my life have I been taking on other people's emotions? How much of my anxiety, fear, sadness, lonliness....was never mine to begin with? I suspect the answer is this:
a fuck-load of it.
Could this, perhaps, be the case for you as well?
I have a new mantra these days.
Any time I feel anxiety, sadness, anger, hurt, fear, overwhelm, frustration....I pause. And I close my eyes and silently say, "this isn't yours to carry Rachel."
I repeat it slowly if I need to, but I always feel a huge shift in my emotions and thoughts. I actually feel a physical release, like a weighted vest removed from my body.
And I can move on, without the load that was never mine to carry in the first place.
Next time someone around you is angry or upset, I want you to tune into your own body and emotions for a check. Do you start to feel tense? Does your breath quicken? Do you feel yourself shutting down? Does your energy begin to plummet?
These are all signs that you've taken on their energy.
Ask yourself how much of other people's shit you take on. If I had to guess, I would say that a decent amount of what causes you stress or overwhelm was never your stuff to begin with.
And if you find this to be true, try out my mantra and let me know how it goes.
Awareness is the first step. Actively working at re-wiring both your mindset and your response is the next step.
How much lighter will you feel if you could let go of everyone else's stuff?
After all, how can you fly with wings that feel like stone?