Self care, depression and duality
Over the last 3 days, I have been directed each day to revisit some old books from my childhood.
Three different people, on three separate days for three random reasons directed me to them.
They are books about ancient spa and self care rituals. Filled with stunning photos of tropical skin food ingredients, dreamy natural spas, people meditating, stretching and receiving body treatments.
My Grandparents had quite a large library, but every time I went to their house I would look at these same books...I don't remember reading them, I was just so drawn to the images.
When I did start to read them, I would skip over the majority of the words and go straight for the recipes and ingredient information.
Well today, I started to have a really good read through. What I discovered is everything I now believe, embody and practice...Only in the last 2-3 years have I really grasped the holistic approach to life.
Since I was able-to-read years old, the words that have recently changed my life and drastically expanded my mind have been available to me. They were always there, yet I didn't see them.
Even if I read those books thoroughly- I wouldn't have understood them the way I do now (which is likely why I never bothered to read the books properly).
I am amazed by this. We really will not learn our lessons until we are well and truly ready to learn them, on our own terms. I've seen a quote about this lately that continues to say, but...never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
I guess these books were the seeds, the images drew me in and lead me to what I am so passionate about today: plants, self-care, bodywork, touch therapy, ancient ritual and medicines.
So why now?
There has always been a divide between modern medicine and alternative medicine, spirituality and science.
People from both sides have ridiculed each other. When we are living from our ego we need to be right. We need to prove we are right, prove others are wrong and convince ourselves that we have nothing to learn.
I believe harmony will exist when we can work together and mesh all of what we know into one huge, unbiased super-wisdom...but that is a whole other topic.
I used to roll my eyes at the idea of meditation and chakras. I used to giggle when I saw people doing Tai Chi on the beach. I used to dismiss a lot of things that I now practice every day.
There could be a lot of reasons why it changed, but I'm certain of the main reason, and that is grief. Deep, deep sadness and pain.
I didn't start believing in all of these holistic and spiritual things because I thought one day...Hey! You know what? Wow the world is so cool and magical I'm gonna meditate and repeat affirmations and learn about meridians! Yay!
What actually happened is so very different.
I discovered these things because I was in such a deep state of grief and pain that I wondered if I would ever feel better again. I grew up with open-minded parents, a Naturopath Mum so I was always quite good at looking at the bigger picture when it came to health. What I mean is, I wasn't unsure of why I was feeling depressed and knew a pill wasn't going to fix it. So I started reading and experimenting.
*Feeling depressed and having clinical depression are different. Antidepressants have likely saved many lives, I am certainly not disregarding that...so key word here is 'feeling'.
If you ever feel like teasing or belittling people who become interested in 'woo-woo' things, first consider why they are now interested in those things. So so often (but not always) the spiritual path begins with deep pain and depression. At least, it did for me. Maybe they have been through something awful, maybe they have been abused, or maybe not..point being you don't know (even if you think you do!)
I originally thought this all started when I decided to go zero waste and share with people how to make DIY skincare. After a while the external only approach wasn't enough and to heal my skin I had to dig deeper eventually uncovering all of what I talk about today.
What I now understand is that I was using my minor health concerns and a way to bandaid fix what was really going on.
By that, I mean I was like oh my skin is red, of my body doesn't like these certain foods, oh i've got to start doing this, that and the other to get better. You see, health and wellbeing are easy to talk about because everybody is interested in it- it's accepted, it's trendy. People are not so open to talk about mental health because it's uncomfortable, taboo and shameful for the person affected.
Ok, so heres what I realised was actually going on.
A few years ago my Grandpa and cousin died within a matter of months. This was the first time I experienced loss of people I was close to. My Grandpa didn't die of old age either, both deaths were sudden and shocking. For those who don't know me. I'm the sensitive one.
I feel deeply, cry easily and always knew that when the day came that a family member would die- it would break me.
You know it's going to happen one day so you think about it from time to time, but I only considered how it would effect me. My goodness, the reality of seeing how death effects loved ones is a whole other level of heartbreaking. If this is how I feel, imagine how they feel?!
So this was it- this was the pain that I buried. And when you bury any emotion/trauma- it's going to eventually express itself usually in the form of health problems because it is disrupting natural flow within the body.
At first learning about meditation and energy and yoga was all happy days and for the health benefits, but the deeper I went the more I understood what was beneath it all.
Beneath thyroid problems, beneath blood sugar issues, beneath skin rashes...beneath it all was something I did not know how to deal with, something I didn't believe I could deal with. Something that was so scary to look at that I convinced myself it will just be easier not to go there.
And for a while it was.
Those who have started a healing or spiritual journey (whatever you want to call it) will know that there is no going back. Once you start- you can only move forward even when the unfamiliarity of it all gets so so uncomfortable. Even when the fear of what others will think becomes crippling.
Anyways, I still don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to grief. I don't have an answer for you, a technique, a herb, a practice.
I do firmly believe though, that to heal we need to feel.
Feel, express, share.
Even just writing this I feel better, lighter :)
One last thing...can we freaking end the taboo around depression, please?!
I'm sorry but if you exist in this world and have never felt a bit depressed you're either unaware of whats going on in the world, lying to yourself or really lacking in compassion and empathy :/ Not judging! If this is you, I'm sure you have your reasons.
When I was young I used to think- how could people be depressed, just go watch the sunset? Literally, I remember myself saying that.
How people can live in a world where half the people are starving, there is so much injustice pain and suffering, there is corruption and greed...and never feel depressed about it? I don't know.
Now of course I'm not saying we dwell on this, and of course there are a zillion beautiful things in the world, amazing people, love and laughter, bubbles and butterflies.
I am just saying ITS OK TO BE SAD AND ANGRY AND HURT sometimes. It is normal and I don't understand why we hide the things we all have in common. The world is as magical as it is harsh. I'm so sick of the taboo around 'negative' emotions. We are here to feel and experience all of it, everything.
I am never going to feel good about death, I will never be ok with losing someone I love...but I am getting better at accepting the realities and certainties of life.
If I think about my cousin or grandpa and it makes me want to cry, I'm going to cry. I'm not going to say oh it's been a few years now, you should be ok, that's a bit weak. It could be worse.
I don't care what anybody says. Expressing real human emotions doesn't make you weak, it makes you stronger. It makes your body stronger, your mind stronger, your immune system stronger.
Holding onto unexpressed emotions isn't good for you.
However, you are free to feel them when you're good and ready, don't let anyone rush you.
It feels good to no longer be ashamed and scared of the word 'depressed'.
I have lost people I love, I see the inequality in the world, I see unspeakable acts of cruelty on the news...how could I not feel depressed sometimes.
If you know me you'll know that I also laugh extra loud, I often laugh so hard it makes me cry, I love the world and everything in it so SO very much, I get so excited when I see a beautiful landscape that I feel like a might explode, I still run and dance around like a crazy, careless weird little kid.
I refuse to be numb just so I can avoid my pain. I accept that life is a rollercoaster of emotions that we can't escape.
If you love deeply, you will grieve deeply.
If you laugh out very loud, you will cry and sob sometimes.
If run around like a huge ball of energy, you will also need to rest.
I can't escape the reality of duality...so I'm going to be brave moving forward- knowing that it's better to feel everything unconditionally and deeply than to become numb.
I would rather pay the price of loving deeply with grieving deeply than becoming numb to the ups and downs of life.
Sending you lot's of love if you're feeling down today. Remember that everything is temporary and I hope you smile again soon :)