When I was a child, my stepfather would often tell me that I had a cry-laugh. This is because, I would be crying one moment and laughing the next, while still trying to hold on to the crying. Then I would just surrender into the laughter. I went with the flow.
Going With The Flow
This type of emotional transition is easier as a child. We were willing to go with the flow. More so than as we grow older. We would rather hang on to our resentments and anger as if they were our security blankets.
What could possibly go wrong if we just let go of said anger and resentment? We might experience joy…bliss. Can we handle that? I think so.
Against The Flow
There is a movement known as “Against the Flow”. This movement is more on a social level and has its place. However, this blog touches on the emotional level. So please don’t be confused.
Tears and Laughter
Just as anyone else, I have experienced much of these two emotions. Most specifically, when I suffered from Gastroparesis for three years. Some days, I felt like rolling into a ball and crying. But I had to show up for work. So I waited until I got home to do so.
Sharing this on Facebook with the G-Pact group was essential. One night, I had to drink a ginormous drink called “Go-Lightly”. The discussion I started on the page brought about many jokes. “Go-Lightly” is a terrible name for this drink. There is nothing light about it. The group teased me about my favorite mantra “This too shall pass”! They encouraged me through my tears of pain and laughed with me. One lady suggested pouring the drink into many shot glasses and pretending I was enjoying it. “Go, Elysia! Go, Elysia!Go, Elysia!” was posted ha!
Let it Flow
If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to laugh, then laugh. Emotions are our God-Given right, as well as part of our natural design. Don’t fight it. Let it flow…and Stay Blissful My Friends – E
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We are having our first group check-in. Abhaya and Satyam explained to us that usually around this time in the training, past emotional events might come up. They asked us each to share if this had happened. I shared my gratitude to Alexa for covering me during clean up because I was having “medication” issues and went straight to bed at 5PM, missing dinner and my chores. There was not much brought up at this check in.
However, the next day as a few of uswere sitting around during one of our breaks, I came clean with a memory that popped up in my head as I was falling asleep the night before. Everyone at the Ashram knows I have a history of domestic violence and I felt that I was in a safe place to share this:
I was about 3 or 4 and had my first “boyfriend”. I believe his name might have been Joey and he was either my age or a few years older. We played behind the big couch in my living room and peck-kissed each other.
One night, he slept over and we both woke up very early. I remember the filtered light through the curtains and the stuffy smell of a home with closed windows and lots of bodies living within its walls. The house was still, as everyone was asleep. We went down to the kitchen and Joey turned on the stove. He placed a butter knife over the flame and then on my arm. “Does this hurt?” he asked. I shook my head “no”. He then placed the knife on the flame longer, then back onto my arm. I screamed so loud, I woke up the whole house, possibly the whole neighborhood.
I have no idea what my dad didabout it and would always be afraid to ask. I do know the boy was never a house guest again. I still have the scar on my arm to remind me of this event.
Back then, in the 70’s, parents would have smacked that kid into the next week, not realizing how much help he probably needed. Are we able to see this behavior in children at such a young age now? I truly hope so. I have no resentments toward that young man. I pray he received the help he obviously was in desperate need of.
In addition, I wondered if this might have set the wheels in motion for my ability to find myself in abusive relationships throughout the earlier part of my life. Might this have set the precedent for how I expected to be treated? I have no idea, I am not a psychologist. Just pondering the idea.
What a gift, to have people in which, I could share this very personal information. Nobody could actually relate or have any answers to my questions. Yet my classmates gave me exactly what I needed – compassion.
Sometimes, all we need is an ear to hear our story, not necessarily to be fixed by some bumper sticker quote. Don’t get me wrong. I love bumper stickers! Yet there are occasions that silent eye contact and possibly a hug is all that is necessary.
If we want to take it furtherfor our friend, we can always pray, chant, and send good energy.
Crying is good for you, it means that you’re alive. If you were dead, you couldn’t cry.
We are a week and a half into our Yoga teacher training at Shambhava Yoga Konalani and have somewhat found our rhythm in the Ashram lifestyle.
One of my favorite practices is selfless service, aka Seva. Seva is to be performed in silence or while chanting. Today, I began chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”, during Selfless service. I found this to be a blissful practice and I plan to implement it in my daily life when I return home.
Yesterday, a few of us hit the wall emotionally. One of my dear fellow students collapsed in my arms, sobbing. We had a nice chat and shared many hugs. I was reminded of the effectiveness of our pranayama training for our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Our cook told me afterward that she, herself had a good crying session.
We all returned to study hall but by that time, my energy was tapped out. I decided to skip dinner and take a nap.
I find all this emotional energy to be quite normal and appropriate at this juncture in our training. Just think about any other form of higher learning and you will find many young women in tears over grades and deadlines.
But our tears are not over mid-terms and finals. At least not yet. There is so much more or maybe just different concerns in Yoga teacher training. We have the meditation, breathing and the Ashram lifestyle. We are partnering up for complex poses, giving each other honest feedback. We experience communal meals and the vulnerability of presenting asanas and sequences.
Whether we like it or not, we have a true connection, psychically, spiritually, and emotionally. I have complete confidence in our training staff and how they address uncomfortable conversations. I also know that we will come out of this part of our individual journeys as effectual, spiritual beings.
I woke up from my nap to a strong rainstorm. It’s as if the sky had great empathy for our group and nature wanted to partake in a good, cleansing cry alongside us.
We’ll, time to get back to memorizing sanskrit:
Vrksasana is a tree.
It starts with the letter V.
Her branches are raised up high,
For all the world to see.
Vrksasana – Tree Pose.
As Sexual Assault Awareness month winds down, my husband and I attended a viewing of Wildlike at The Lyric Cinema Theater, a local film spot in Old Town Fort Collins.
We weren’t sure what to expect but of course, my hubby is always interested in a movie filmed in the wilderness. There was no letdown in this area. The movie provided a grand visual experience of the picturesque expanse of Alaska. Denali is now on my bucket list!
The plot itself is quite heavy as it deals with sexual abuse. Yet it did so without being sleazy and all the while, being so very real. The eventual friendship developed by the two main characters is inspirational, without being sappy.
Most of the story is told in the silence. Indeed, it is a quiet movie, yet quite engaging. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theater during the final scene between the two main characters.
Bruce Greenwood was superb in his portrayal of Rene, a man conflicted over his ability to help this young girl and yet not exactly knowing what she is running from. His greatest scenes don’t involve much dialogue. You can see it clearly in his eyes and expressions, especially as he finds solid evidence of that which he already knew was true. I am not sure this could have been pulled off by anyone else.
Using the concept “The good, the bad and the ugly”, to give an account of my experience, I have switched it up so as to finish with the good. Because that’s just how I roll.
After young Mackenzie’s father dies, her mother has developed a drug problem and is checking into a treatment center. Mackenzie is then sent to Alaska to stay with her uncle, whom she barely knows.
Mackenzie is obviously a troubled young woman. This is an important observation one must understand. Most victims of sexual abuse are troubled youth, who are generally not believed when they speak up or are convinced that they are the ones at fault. It is easy for a predator to manipulate young people such as these.
Mackenzie’s perpetrator is her uncle. Another important observation. The majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by a family member who lives in the home of their victim.
In regard to the two above observations, Mackenzie’s uncle does indeed manipulate her. First by purchasing her a mobile phone and being the “cool” uncle. After the abuse, he then tries to “assure” Mackenzie that he is trying to protect her from the damages caused by “her” actions.
After Mackenzie runs away, she becomes adamant that the police not be involved. She is of course, convinced that they will not believe her – though she never says so, it is well communicated in her firm stance when Rene suggests calling the cops.
Again, the film avoids being too graphic, however, the scenes in which Mackenzie’s uncle enters her bed are quite disturbing. As they should be. Sexual abuse is ugly. If you don’t catch some uncomfortable feels at this point, you might not be alive. These very few (thank God) scenes create a strong awareness.
In one of the scenes, Mackenzie tries to offer sex to Rene. This attempt, of course, is made in silence. Rene is appalled and communicates this – not so silently.The reality of this scene is many victim/survivors of sexual abuse will offer themselves up as a way of getting what they want or thanking someone for help.It is another ugly truth. Fortunately, for Mackenzie, she has found a decent friend in Rene.
I recently took a free Trauma Informed training given by Matt Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer at Coldspring Center. Having seen this movie two days before the training, I was identifying much of Matt’s talk with some of the film’s characters.
For myself, the most intriguing part of this lecture was when Matt spoke of “passive trauma experienced due to lack of support, empathy, and compassion that the person receives from society.”The character Rene, fortunately, was one who, though unwillingly at first, stepped up and supported a young lady in dire need of help.
In contrast to an ugly world which includes sexual assault, the magnificent vistas of Alaska spoke “quietly” and powerfully of this world’s greater beauty. Rene and Mackenzie’s unspoken words spoke loudly of the beauty of the true connection we humans have in the way we offer up empathy toward one another.
Sometimes, there is no need to vocalize empathy and love. When a fellow human is in need of help, just being there and listening to the spoken and unspoken words are paramount in helping that person get through their traumatic experience.
There is much more to this, but I don’t want to ruin the whole story. You should just go see it…and Stay Blissful my friends– E