Going Through the Motions









Recently I’ve been down in a dark hole. I struggle with depression on and off, but this was the lowest I’ve been in recent memory. “I know that I have wonderful people in my life and so many things to be grateful for and I am, so what’s my problem”, I will ask myself. Then I feel worse because I have no excuse to be so down in the dumps.

For me, being bummed out is a series of contradictions. I don’t want to go to sleep at night, yet don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to do anything, but don’t want to not do anything because that will give me yet another reason to feel bad about myself. I want someone to reassure me that everything is okay, but I’m convinced that it isn’t. Being around people is the last thing I feel like doing, yet it’s when I’m with people that often I feel slightly better, even if it’s temporary.

The worst part is feeling like I’m just going through the motions of my life. There’s still work, responsibilities, and even basic behaviors like taking a shower and emptying the dishwasher. Yet I feel like I’m doing it all with a big cloud of sludge surrounding me.

This brings up another contradiction. I don’t want to be fake. It doesn’t seem very yogic. I don’t like putting on positive, cheery front, if that’s not being true to where I’m at. On the other hand, I still have to hold it together. If I’m leading a volunteer group or teaching a class, I need to be holding a positive space for people. So is it better to act upbeat even if that’s the polar opposite of how I feel?

A wise person pointed out to me, “What if you just were to be where you are? What if you do just go through the motions and accept that that’s where you are right now?” For some reason, this took some pressure off. I still show up. I don’t have to be the life of the party, but I do have to put myself out there and do the best job I can. If I feel like I’m just slogging through it, that’s how it is right now. Going through the motions is a way of keeping hope. Even if I don’t believe things will get better, if I keep doing it anyway, eventually I can begin embodying the effort I’m putting forth.

The fog has started to lift. Yesterday I had the chance to do a long yoga practice. Midway through I found myself giving out a big sigh as a huge block of sadness fell away. I kept going through the motions of my practice, but for the first time in awhile, felt present in my body and okay with myself.




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1 Response

  1. Rani says:

    Thanks for sharing so honestly Megan. I remember walking out of an intense bodywork session with Ellen (Heed) one time, completely ripped open, utterly raw, fierce yet so vulnerable and unfinished (with my release). Shit! I had a class to teach and so I hoped with all my might driving down to the studio that no one showed up for class so I could just pass the studio and go home and hide. For goodness sake, 10 people turned up and were patiently chatting away at the studio’s doorsteps. Damn it, I thought to myself, then remembered Ellen reminding me just earlier as I walked out: “go teach, even if you don’t feel like it. teach from where you are at, in all your rawness, with all that you’ve got. just be you”. You wanna know what I did in that class? I let myself be with my emotions and taught from the feelings that came up for me. I felt vulnerable, so I taught strengthening poses. I felt a lump in my throat like I couldn’t speak, so I taught lions. I felt heartbreak so I had my students put their hands on their hearts and breathe love into their own heart. I felt so much pain so I had my students identify a spot in their body that was in pain or just needed a little more attention, and take the breath to that spot. Doing all of that, to me, that class was in hindsight the ultimate proof of my own practicing what I’d been teaching, something that is important to me, and it was the best class that I’d taught till then.
    Whatever happens, go back to your heart, feed it with fresh energy and ask it, really ask it (if you have to, do it out loud) for what it wants from you right now. It will advise you with the wisdom, as it always will 🙂

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