DAY FIVE: Saying yes to what arises

May, Myself, & I: A Self-Love Experiment

DAY FIVE: Saying yes to what arises.


It’s easy to think that being a spiritually aware person means I need to be happy all the time. I ought to be grateful all the time. If I was really awakened, I’d only feel love and peace and shit rainbows.

But, as I’ve found, that’s not the case.

First of all—there are assholes everywhere we go. I thought that entering a world of people doing emotional and spiritual work meant we’d all love an support each other. Nah. There are still narcissists, folks who use spiritual growth as a tire shine for their ego. There are also wonderful, loving people. It just took me a while to align with them… Because I had to first believe I deserved that love, I had to learn to love (or at least like) myself, and I had to be vulnerable and put myself out there.

A big part of that vulnerability has been finding a balance of sharing. I used to go from total isolation + Hermitville to emotional diarrhea… Sharing all my depth of pain. I look forward to finding a happy medium between those two. A sustainable vulnerability that doesn’t make me feel raw and exposed for a week after sharing.

So back to being “spiritual” and what that “ought” to look like.

You know what it really looks like? For me, it’s learning to accept what is. It’s learning to give myself space to feel all the feelings.

I’ve found that I can even use healthy spiritual tools in an unhealthy way. I’ve recognized myself choosing meditation over confrontation, resulting in stuffing down the issue. I’ve gone to stillness out of apathy under the guise of waiting for inspiration… Because I’ve been afraid. Rather than sit in the discomfort of loneliness, allowing myself to feel it fully, I’ve often run to meetings or text messaged a bunch of people.

Each of these are okay, mind you. Meditation is great, meetings and friends are great, settling into stillness and awaiting clarity… All great tools.

When used appropriately.

I’ve often taken uncomfortable feelings as a sign that something was wrong. Or, more specifically, that I’d DONE something wrong. If old stories arose, I’d panic. “I thought I’d done work around this already. Why is this coming up? What triggered it?” And I’d frantically try to fix. Fix. Fix. Fix.

But… Fix what?

Myself, really. That’s the message I continued to give myself each time I fought the way I felt… Or fought my thoughts. (Both of which are silly to do. It’s like trying to fight the current of a stream.)

It’s the same sort of parenting many of us received as a kid. When we were sad, we were ungrateful and should snap out of it. When we were too happy, we were loud or obnoxious or annoying. So, for me, I learned that being middle-of-the-road was the only acceptable way of living.

Sometimes I wake up in a snarky mood. My heart feels guarded, my brain feels tired, and my tummy feels bloated. Sometimes my morning routine of meditation and walking my dog and light yoga helps to settle all those. Other times, it doesn’t.

And that’s okay.

Life continues happening, whether or not I’m having a good day.

And I can tell you one thing for certain: saying NO to my feelings and thoughts and trying to fight them only gives them more power over me. Saying YES to them (“Yes” like “yes, I see you. Yes, you’re allowed.”) has been immensely helpful.

There have been times when I felt panicked in the past. I used to deal with suicidality really badly, and the thoughts and images in my head would terrify me. I’d try to fix them, address them, disengage from them. It all made the panic set in more deeply.

You know what helped? I’d say to myself: “All thoughts are allowed. All feelings are allowed. Every single one of them.”

And then I’d watch, objectively, as the thoughts and feelings flowed through me.

That’s what saying YES to whatever arises allows me to do. It helps me sit in the witnessing chair, to learn that I am not my thoughts or my feelings. I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and part of the human experience is feeling and thinking… And sometimes it’s feeling and thinking some gnarly shit.

And that’s okay.

I say yes to that, too.

I accept it all.

Today’s extra loving tasks:

  1. Took Floyd (pup) on an hour-long phoneless hike.
  2. At-home facial mask
  3. 20 minutes of yoga
  4. 30 minutes of breathing meditation, focusing on the sensations of my body rather than my thoughts. This then opened into a beautiful 30-minute emotional release sob-fest (which I wasn’t expecting but apparently needed).

What are you fighting in your life? What would happen if you accepted it? This doesn’t mean that you love the thing or don’t try to make forward progression. It doesn’t even mean you LIKE the thing or situation. It means you stop fighting that it exists. You accept that it is here. And, from this expanded sense of acceptance, you can find a healthy next step.


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Some days, I paint. Other days, I write. And rap. And tell stories. And do comedy. And doodle. And [attempt to] bake. And, one week out of every month, I merge with my sofa and sob about mortality and things like the existence of air and how we can't live without it and how utterly claustrophobic that is to consider. I'm relatively particular. And this is a place for me to share ALL the quirks.

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