What most wisdom filled, blissful, happy yogi’s don’t tell you is that it isn’t always sunshine, green juice, positivity and power.

For instance, my daily life for years (and still some today) was me hardly being able to handle my stress without craving junk, meaning anything from food, to alcohol, to sleeping for unhealthy amounts of hours, to picking a fight, feeling attacked, and essentially overall self-sabotaging my own health and wellness (and sanity) because I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

Sometime the mat is the answer, sometimes it is far from my desires. I am definitely not one to practice when I definitely DON’T want too.

But what I have learned about coming to terms with this reality of my emotions and lifestyle, is that in order to get past the dark and twisty feelings is to either unearth the feelings into some sort of language – whether that is writing, talking to gal pals, my mom, or cooking up a storm of more nutritional foods, the answer is to express your stress in the things that will help you RELEASE.

Now the hardest part is finding the way to articulate this language without going to more extreme measures. For instance, sometimes we work out TOO hard, if the gym is how you release your stress. Sometimes over eating, even with nutritional foods, can be a bad thing. Of course, too much wine can take its toll (even though I am no walk in a park when it comes to drinking a whole bottle even after a great day, haha!). Sometimes our expression in our language and discussions can go TOO far. And sometimes, we don’t take into consideration what others may be going through, and that they may not be able to hold space for YOUR emotional state of being.

There are so many ways to express our stress positively, but when the worst is the worst, of course we are going to consciously exceed the expectations we may have set for ourselves.

I want to say that right now, for instance, I am in a weird place. I recently have been feeling very second best. Oddly self-conscious. Goal-setting, but too depressed/unmotivated to follow through after long weeks of work and the day-to-day running around. Financially I have been in a bind, and it is hard to feel like a free-spirit when I know I have so many more bills to pay. I feel unwanted. I feel frustrated often. Ugly. I take the trips, drive the miles, but sometimes I still feel so empty, and I have my own emotional baggage to thank for all of these things.

I believe like most, I try to blame how strange everything feels on the stars, considering how strange and temporary these feelings last and how often people can share the same feelings. But I don’t believe it is entirely the stars aligning to make me feel so shitty, because come on, that is an even shittier thought, that the universe is hanging some long-term karma over my head only to drop it when I’m finally open enough to receive it.

Going back to the point, however, emotional baggage is such a real thing, even if it is in the most minuscule fashion.

Almost three years ago I suffered the most traumatic change/loss of my life. I won’t go into detail, but it is something I carry now and think of often, but most importantly it effects my immediate reflection when I am tied up by my own stress.

Two years ago, I lost my dad. It was so sudden, painful, unexplained, and still lingers on day-to-day. When you lose a lifeline, a part of you feels broken. When you talk about it, people look at you different. They apologize, or they ask what happened, and I confidently tell them my theories, because I can’t change it so I may as well be like-father-like-daughter and make up the mystery and laugh at how crazy it all seems.

The four years I was in college, the doors closed and opened on and off on a lot of unstable/distant relationships, and I was in place of acceptance regardless of what was/had been. But when I am in my emotional bag, I often realize that the bigger person I am now, is who I should have been all those years ago. I used to talk a lot, I just never acted on my words. I wanted to feel accepted, I wanted friendship, and I sacrificed a lot of my own peace of mind for it.

There was so much – there still is SO much. Coping is hard, and often I look at myself in my early 20’s and think “god damn, is this where I am?”

But that is just it – there was so much, there is still so much, and there is going to be MUCH worse, I am sure. The trick is, how am I going to prepare myself now for when the craziness of life happens later, both expected and unexpected?

Emotional baggage is a reality, it is not an expectation for life. Events in life are a reality, not expectations. Life will surprise you, and no matter what place you are in, what age you are, who is and who is not in your life, YOU are responsible for how you cope and how you react, which is also (drumroll please) UNEXPECTED!

The trick on coping and dealing with the stress – do it in your own way, on your own time, and no matter how you cope, find moderation. Our bodies hold onto the history of our stress for lifetimes, and when the stress flairs up, never be afraid to break the box and find your way to be expressive. Never be afraid to find your own language.

So going back to all the basics and the beginning, a yogi won’t often tell you the truth of their pain, they probably won’t be entirely truthful about all the green juice they drink and mat time they get daily. They often may share the wisdom, but it takes much longer even after for themselves to settle with those thoughts, because our minds are ever changing. Our language changes daily. What we desire, what we want, changes daily.

What the biggest practice to have though, is taking that reality, reacting, but without extreme measure. For example, ask yourself if the space you hold for yourself will be enough, not just a temporary fill. Ask others if they can hold space for you when you need someone to talk to/vent too. Break your box, find new ways to take care of yourself even if they seem so far from your normal regimen. Relieve your mind of expectations. This wacky, wild life is full of surprises – take the time for yourself NOW so you can be a little better prepared for the future. Most of all, let the bad feelings come. Don’t hold onto them forever. Like when we get sick and have to take medicine, it will feel a little bit worse before it get’s better. (I am trying my best right now).

Namaste.

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