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You Are An Ecosystem

Photo by Jeff Cooper on Unsplash

Photo by Jeff Cooper on Unsplash

Every week I send out a love note filled with resources, musings, and inspiration about walking this path of yoga and liberation. Click here to subscribe!

You are an ecosystem.

You are not required to constantly grow.

Capitalism teaches us that the right way, the only way, is for things to consistently and constantly grow. Our economy must grow in order to be healthy. This need to always grow means there is only scarcity or abundance. In our current economic model, there is no such thing as enough.

This isn't natures way.

In nature there are seasons. One time of the year is for growing; another is for culling. And even in spring time somethings are dying. Something is being culled. In nature one tree is growing while another tree is dying. 

Even after some devastation like the current California forest fires, the mycelium are working their magic beneath the soil and the bugs and grubs come to feast.

In nature everything is growing and everything is dying and all of it is happening all at once.

In coaching culture, and in self help culture, we prioritize constant personal growth. But this isn't healthy. This is an effect of living in capitalist culture. As in nature, it is vastly important, vital even, for us to take breaks. To allow for fallow periods. To not need to constantly grow.

And to allow for the complexity of being human, being a living breathing ecosystem in which one thing is going great and growing and another isn't doing so well.

To wit: This year my five year relationship went up in flames. I've felt creatively blocked in most every endeavor. I overdrew my bank account a half dozen times. I'm currently crashing with friends and I don't own a stick of furniture.

But/and/simultaneously:

My coaching business is doing better than ever. I'm healing my relationship with myself in ways I didn't think were possible. I'm about to travel to India for six weeks for no reasons except my own pleasure and edification.

It's a pernicious myth that we can grow constantly.

I am an ecosystem. And you are too.

Parts of my life are alive and thriving. Parts of my life are shriveling up and dying. And it's all happening at the same time.

Just like nature (and Arcade Fire), its everything, now.

Much love, 

Bear

P.S. If you like what I write each week, I'd love to keep in touch. Sign up for weekly love letters direct to your inbox by CLICKING HERE. If you have the means, consider making a financial contribution to support my work

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On Spiritual Stewardship

On Spiritual Stewardship.jpg

Every week I send out a love note filled with resources, musings, and inspiration about walking this path of yoga and liberation. Click here to subscribe!

It is difficult to keep up with all of the tragedy and trauma constantly happening in the world around us. I read recently that we were not built to be empathetic on a global scale. I don't know if I think that's true but this week (month...year...decade...) I understand the sentiment behind it.

I do think that we have to examine our privilege in relationship to our responsibility. I think that the more privilege we have the more responsibility we have to stay tuned in and not checked out to what's happening around us.

The less personal impact these tragedies and traumas have on us, the more important it is that we stay open to helping, feeling, and just generally staying engaged with them.

The problem with this line of thinking, is that the more privilege we have the more comfortable we have tended to be. And the less capable we are, therefore, of staying present when intensity arises.

Unless we have made it our purpose to get better at being uncomfortable, either through yoga, meditation, or some other spiritual practice, we are likely to be quite sensitive or fragile when faced with our own discomfort, even if that discomfort is based on having to witness the discomfort of others.

So it might be, then, that some of the best and most useful work that we can do is to get better at being uncomfortable.

The more able we are to sit with our own discomfort, the more we will be able to show up for the quite uncomfortable work of undoing systems of oppression. We can aim our spiritual practices towards building up a capacity for discomfort with the explicit intention of getting better at engaging with the difficulties of the world.

What if, instead of thinking of our spiritual practice as for our own growth or well-being, we envisioned it as part of our work towards a more just world?

Perhaps this intentionality is the more active counterpoint to spiritual bypassing. Spiritual bypassing, as discussed last week, is a phenomenon that happens in which people use spirituality to avoid  want dealing with the difficult things in life in the world around us, often by choosing to focus on only things that are "positive" or "high vibration".

The opposite of spiritual bypassing may be spiritual responsibility. Or perhaps, spiritual stewardship. (Thanks, Lynn, for this language.)

It’s a good first step to stop bypassing. And then, can we  make conscious choices to spiritually engage? To take responsibility? To see it as our responsibility to keep growing our capacity for discomfort?

This may be a growing edge for most of us. Look any area or identity where you have privilege--how can you keep getting more comfortable with your own discomfort? Can you use your practice with purpose to steward your own growing edges?

Much love, 

Bear

P.S. If you like what I write each week, I'd love to keep in touch. Sign up for weekly love letters direct to your inbox by CLICKING HERE. If you have the means, consider making a financial contribution to support my work

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Against Spiritual Bypassing

Against Spiritual Bypassing.jpg

Every week I send out a love note filled with resources, musings, and inspiration about walking this path of yoga and liberation. Click here to subscribe!

I wrote last week about the effectiveness of yoga and other spiritual practices, if we know what they’re there for. But just like anything, we can manipulate spiritual practice for other needs, other ends. The concept of “spiritual bypassing” was coined by psychologist John Welwood in the 1980s to describe the tendency of spiritual seekers to use the practice as a means of going around life’s difficulties.

As Thich Nhat Hahn says, “No mud, no lotus.” We have to get down in the muck in order to attain the beauty of the flower. Spiritual practice may make our lives better, but it's because we get better at engaging our life, not because it takes us around the parts of life we don't like. To use an oft-referenced metaphor, spiritual practice doesn't take us out of the ocean, but it can teach us how to ride the waves. 

But spiritual bypassing shows up in more nefarious ways when we use our spiritual practices to overlook or disengage with the suffering of the world around us. This might look like people who say, “It’s all love and light.” It’s folks who think, “All this talk about racism (sexism / homophobia / ableism / etc)  is an illusion because we’re All One.” It’s demanding, “High vibrations only.” It’s saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and doing nothing more.

Spiritual bypassing is requiring niceness over truth, positivity over authenticity.

This is a profound misunderstanding of the spiritual path.

Here’s the thing: I do believe that we are “All One.” On a divine level, I believe we are inextricably interconnected. The web of life binds us to one another--our shared humanity, nee our shared sentience--links us to each other in ways we can’t always understand but we can often sense on a deep level.

And beyond the woo, on a purely physical level, we must be symbiotic on this fragile planet if we are to have any hope of surviving the impending crises of our changing climate. (Thanks to K for reminding me of this salient point.)

But when we pretend that this inherent interdependence negates the very real inequities that exist in our world, we are inadvertently perpetuating the systems that create those imbalances.

When we presume that our similarity as humans means that injustice isn’t worth talking about....

When we feel more bothered by the “negativity” of people talking about (or taking a knee over) racism than we do over the racism itself....

When we aren’t concerned about people who experience oppression because they have “created their reality”...

We are probably spiritually bypassing.

And inadvertently, we are helping those unequal societal conditions to continue to exist.

One of the most important mechanisms of systems of privilege is to make itself invisible, and when we choose to look away, we are upholding the status quo. Another mechanism of systemic oppression is to silence anyone or anything that would draw attention to the inequalities of the system. So when, in the name of spiritual evolution, we shut down someone’s righteous anger at injustice, we are participating in their oppression.

This silencing is deadly. This tuning out and willful ignorance has grave effects.

This is not what spiritual practice is for. When we choose to tune out the world around us, we are abusing these sacred practices for ends they were never intended for.

Rather, these practices are to make us, as Donna Farhi says, “more attuned, more sensitive and more resilient.”  

I’m here for it. Are you?

Much love, 

Bear

P.S. If you like what I write each week, I'd love to keep in touch. Sign up for weekly love letters direct to your inbox by CLICKING HERE. If you have the means, consider making a financial contribution to support my work

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Yoga Works

Yoga Works.jpg

In the past six months, I have been in close proximity to so much trauma, tragedy, and pain. So many of my friends have been experiencing the real hardships of life. In my close circle of beloveds there have been dying parents, cross-country moves, gravely ill children, sudden divorces, houses flooding, and violent crime. I’ve been dealing with my own personal heartbreak, the demise of my five-year relationship in May.

This is to say nothing of the daily-life hardships of never enough money and always too much to do that most of us live with on the regular. And all of this is happening alongside political upheaval, the threat of nuclear war, powerful hurricanes churning in the golf, wildfires, earthquakes, police violence, and on and on.

The list of tragedies, small and large, is endless.

But all along I have been so humbled and grateful to see the way that my friends just keep showing up. For me, for themselves, and for each other. So many of my loved ones are practitioners: of yoga, meditation, and artistic practice. My people are healers, whisperers, and listeners to the universe. And they are the evidence that these practices work.

These practices work.

These practices make us able to sit with the terror of real life. So that when the shit hits the fan, we are able to stay present. When our big feelings arise, we know how to process them, how to compost them into a rich and fertile soil from which to grow. And when our friends go through their own big trauma, we are able to be present with their pain without needing to minimize or problem-solve.

Because we have struggled against our own physical weaknesses and our own flighty attention span, we now have strength and presence. We have built up the capacity for staying present with difficulty.

So this is my reminder to us this week, that these practices work, and that we do them for a reason. Because your life might be smooth and easy for now. But they only guarantee we have is that that will change. So keep practicing. 

Much love,

Bear

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The Path To A Meaningful Life

Photo by Michael Suriano on Unsplash

THIS POST IS THE FINAL POST RELATING TO GET SHIT DONE, A PRODUCTIVITY FOR WEIRDOS SIX-WEEK COURSE. CLICK BELOW FOR DETAILS OR READ ON! 

Most of us have figured out that the path laid out for us by the world doesn’t fit. In some way or another, we are too wide or wild or weird to walk that narrow way.

For some of us we’ve known it since childhood, sitting in our desks in a fluorescent lit classroom while a perfect blue sky smiles from outside the classroom window.

Maybe you learned to hate school. Maybe you figured out that the educational system was training you to be obedient rather than intelligent.

For some of us it took longer. We walked down the predetermined path, sought after the predetermined goals. We maybe even achieved them. But at some point along the way, we thought, “Is this all there is?”

Regardless of when it happened, what’s important is that it did. At some point, you looked around, were dissatisfied, and you walked off the path.

Congratulations! You figured out correctly that the main path, the path of nine-to-five jobs, spouse and 2.5 kids, the white picket fence path, THAT path was not for you.

(To be clear, this isn’t a dig at traditional lifestyles IF that’s what really works for you. It’s a dig at the systems that set us up to feel like failures, degenerates and perverts should we deviate from that.)

And it might've felt like liberation for awhile. It felt like freedom.

But then bewilderment set in. You started to confused the prescribed path with all paths. You thought, well THAT path wasn’t for me, so there is no path for me.

You’re so triggered by the pain of not fitting on the main path that ALL PATHS seem intolerable.

All systems remind you of the drudgery of the system that held you down.

All obligations feel like the confinement of obligations you don’t care about at all.

All containers feel like those small boxes that couldn’t contain your effulgent brilliance.

And what happened next? Well, if you’re like most of us path-leavers, you’ve been winging it ever since. You flail around, sending your energy spinning in the direction of whatever strikes your fancy. Occasionally you end up somewhere awesome, but it seems more like dumb luck than any kind of intentionality.

You had dreams of what your life could be like beyond the path, but now it feels like you’re just wandering aimlessly in the woods. You see pretty things out there, and it’s definitely not stressful the way being on the path was.

But are you actually getting anywhere?

It doesn’t have to be this way. I want to tell you:

There are systems that don’t suck the life out of you.

There are containers with soft edges that cuddle rather than confine.

There are other paths, paths that are not a straight line forward but that twist and wind and double back on themselves.

And what happens when we start down these other paths is that we are able to actually show up and do our work in the world. We have systems that keep us attentive to our art making. We have containers that hold the depth and breadth of our healing work. We walk new paths that take us to unexpected places, paths that lead us into worlds we have not yet imagined.  

And it’s in these other worlds, on these other paths, that meaning is made. Meaning is not the opposite of banality. The opposite of banality is simply non-banality. But to find meaning, to find transcendence, you have to pick a direction and start walking.

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I want to walk on the path with you!

Get Shit Done is a six week course that teaches productivity skills for weirdos. This is not another listicle of productivity hacks or a corporate efficiency bootcamp. This is real-life strategy for how to get clear, take action and Get Shit Done. 

CLICK HERE to learn more! 

Registration closes September 15. Space is limited! 

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Struggle For Softness

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

Do you blame yourself for your limitations? You’re not alone.

Here’s an example:

I struggle to write when I’m at home. I can always find something else more interesting, more fun, more urgent to do instead of sitting down at my computer to write. And when I do manage to get my butt in a chair and my laptop open, I so often end up scrolling Facebook and watching cat videos, and then poof, an hour has elapsed and I’ve written exactly zero words.

For years I lambasted myself for this. If I were a real writer, I told myself, I’d wake at dawn and bang out 500 words before the sun had fully risen in the sky. If I were a real writer, I’d never get distracted by social media. If I were a real writer, I’d be able to write every day without resistance or procrastination.

Then I discovered something: I write so well at coffee shops. Something about the ambient noise, the lack of sock drawers needing organizing, and the threat of someone seeing my laptop screen as I watch one more video of cats riding on Roombas all combine to make me an effective, efficient writer inside a coffee shop.

Now I still sometimes feel that persistent inner judgement coming up. If I were a real writer, the little judge says, I wouldn’t need to go to the coffee shop to write. If I were a real writer, I wouldn’t have to rely on the shame of someone witnessing my actual internet habits to motivate me to write.

But here’s the truth:

I am a real writer. I write 500 words (and often much more) every week for these blog posts. I write poems and essays and scripts for plays. I write grant applications for my own work and for other artists. If I can let go of my illusion of what makes a “real writer,” I can see that I am a writer because I write.

I am a writer (a real writer) because I write.

But if I got stuck feeling terrible about the accommodations I have to make for myself to get myself to write, I wouldn’t write. If I didn’t let myself go to the coffee shop in order to write, I’d write a whole lot less than I do now.

We have to learn to work with our limitations instead of against them.

We have to learn to meet ourselves with kindness and compassion.

We must learn to hold our weirdness and quirks and strange habits with tenderness.

We must struggle with softness. 

I am so grateful that I figured out that I can only write when I’m in a coffee shop. I’m not mad at that anymore. Because now I actually write every week.

So if you struggle with being soft with yourself, try this personalized mad lib affirmation:

I’m a _______________ (way that you identify) that struggles to ____________ (do the thing you identify as) unless I ________________ (your weird habit or limitation.) I’m not mad at ________________( your weird habit) anymore. I’m thankful for ______________ (your weird habit) because it helps me to _________________ (do the thing).

Here's mine:

I’m a writer that struggles to write unless I go to the coffee shop so no one can see me shop for shoes on Amazon for an hour. I’m not mad at coffee shops anymore. I’m thankful for going to coffee shops because it helps me to write.

What do you watch on Youtube when no one's looking? I’d love to hear about your weird habits. Leave your mad lib in the comments below if you’re open to sharing!

Want to learn to overcome these obstacles? 

Get Shit Done is a six week course that teaches productivity skills for weirdos. This is not another listicle of productivity hacks or a corporate efficiency bootcamp. This is real-life strategy for how to get clear, take action and Get Shit Done. 

CLICK HERE to learn more! 

Registration closes September 15. Space is limited! 

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Quit The Cult Of Busy

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

We’ve been told since birth (or at least since grade school) that your worth in the world is based on your ability to produce. I don’t believe that, and I bet you don’t really either, yet we’re in the habit of acting like it’s true anyway. For the next three weeks I’m writing about common mistakes most of us are making that keep us locked into the lie that we can’t do the things that matter most, and what to do instead so you can Get Shit Done.

 

The Cult of Busy? Yeah, you’re probably a member.

 

Someone asks how you’re doing and the refrain is always, “Busy! Good, but so busy!”  

We’re addicted to our busyness, and it keeps us from doing the things we really want to do. We take on projects and responsibilities that are “good enough” and it interferes with our ability to do the things that are most meaningful.

This summer I had three interesting yoga-related opportunities come my way. A friend from high school asked me to teach a monthly yoga class at the bar she owns. Another friend asked if I wanted to teach 420 yoga (where both students and teacher get high before class--yes, this is a real thing.) A fellow yoga teacher connected me with a therapist who leads yoga+trauma therapy groups.

These first two were easy to say no to: I rarely drink and I don’t smoke, so neither is really a fit for my vibe as a yoga teacher or a person. The trauma therapy group, however, was harder to parse.

On paper, this collaboration was totally in my wheelhouse: I teach trauma-sensitive yoga, I’m a trauma survivor myself, I love talk therapy, etc. But for some reason, the emails from the (very nice) therapist sat unanswered in my inbox. Finally I remembered this little piece of meme-gleaned wisdom:

If it isn’t a “Hell yes!” it’s probably a “No”.

I replied to the therapist and said politely that it’s just not a good time for me right now, and I connected her to another yoga teacher who’d expressed interest.

It’s not easy to say No. We’re trained to be compliant and obedient, particularly those of us socialized as girls/women. But as writer Cheryl Strayed says, “No is the power the good witch wields.”

No helps us to stop overfilling our days.

No gives us the ability to clear away our temporal clutter.

No gives us our power back.

Here’s a little mantra to work with as you practice saying No this week:

I’m divesting from the cult of busy. I do not subscribe to the hustle. My value as a human is not connected to my productivity. I say No to the “good enough” to make space for my best.

Much love, 

Bear

P.S. Want to learn to overcome these obstacles? 

Get Shit Done is a six week course that teaches productivity skills for weirdos. This is not another listicle of productivity hacks or a corporate efficiency bootcamp. This is real-life strategy for how to get clear, take action and Get Shit Done. 

CLICK HERE to learn more! 

Registration closes September 15. Space is limited! 

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Why You Don't Get Shit Done

Photo by Hans M on Unsplash

Photo by Hans M on Unsplash

Psssst! Wanna learn how to be productive without selling your soul? Let's Get Shit Done

What keeps you from doing your soul’s work?

Contrary to what our culture would have us think, we are not here to be cogs in the machine. I believe each of us has a purpose. I believe YOU have a purpose beyond just making enough money to get by. Your worth is not your work.

We are here to do the work that lights us up, that brings us joy and contentment, that makes us feel purposeful and fulfilled. For some of us it’s making art or music or some other creative pursuit. For others it’s helping people, easing the pain of others in some capacity. Maybe it’s raising children or growing a garden or hiking in the mountains.

You are here for a reason.

Despite this fact, many of us end up mostly doing other things that are NOT that reason. What is the obstacle that has you filling your days with other, lesser things? In my coaching work (and just in my life experience) I see three main reasons WHY.

1. Capitalism

Capitalism, in this case, is really just shorthand for any monetary system that requires that we devote most of our waking hours to meaningless tasks. Some of us have hit the jackpot and found work that pays enough and is also deeply fulfilling. Many of us work for money and hope to have enough free time to do the real work. Most of us, I’d venture to guess, struggle to get by financially and STILL struggle to find the time or energy to do the meaningful stuff.

2. Terror

Once you find the time and energy to get to work on your soul work, it’s often not as easy as you’d think to get started. In fact, it can be downright terrifying. Facing the blank canvas, the blinking cursor, the newborn baby is many people’s nightmare.

You can rely on this fear as a signal that, counterintuitively, you are on the right track. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, describes it thusly:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

This terror comes up because in order to do your soul’s work, your ego has to die a little, and it does not go quietly into the night. It kicks and screams and often prevents you from ever getting started.

3.Self-sabotage

If you’ve managed to get through the terror and actually put pen to paper or paint on canvas, you’ll likely feel the immediate and undeniable urge to organize your sock drawer by color and type approximately five minutes into getting to work.

I know this because I have done this and I have the sock drawer to prove it. Despite our best intentions, we self-sabotage our way out of actually doing the things we want to do. And before you know it, it’s Monday morning and time to go back to that meaningless but necessary job.

Learning to become “productive” enough to overcome these barriers might seem like selling out, but I actually think that productivity, when aimed at doing your soul work, can be deeply radical. If we get stuck in cycles of exhaustion, fear or self-sabotage, our soul work never gets done. We are worse for it and THE WORLD is worse for it.

Do these ring true for you?

Which of these three obstacles shows up most for you?

Much love, 

Bear

Want to learn to overcome these obstacles? 

Get Shit Done is a six week course that teaches productivity skills for weirdos. This is not another listicle of productivity hacks or a corporate efficiency bootcamp. This is real-life strategy for how to get clear, take action and Get Shit Done. 

CLICK HERE to learn more! 

Registration closes September 15. Space is limited! 

 

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Get Shit Done

Hello dear one,

Let’s talk about how to Get Shit Done.

If you’re like most people (myself included), you’ve got a to-do list the length of your arm. It's mostly made up of mundane tasks you’d rather not deal with but must be done to keep the cold-brew pouring and the Netflix streaming.

But somewhere tucked in there, among the metaphorical fax-sending and dry-cleaning, there might also be....a secret dream. Something that you’ve thought enough about to write down on your to-do list, but not enough to cross it off.

You know what I’m talking about.

The art project you work on in your “spare time”. That collaboration you’ve conversed about over drinks. The back-burner book you write in the shower one paragraph at a time. The meditation practice you’re going to start (tomorrow). The epic trip you fantasize about when you’re procrastinating doing the more banal shit on your to-do list.

When you were younger, you accomplished this secret dream just by winging it. Incredibly, with no money, no time, and no clue, you made your own dream come true.

Sawdust and spit, duct tape and hot glue, piss and vinegar: you made magic.

The bad news:

Flying by the seat of your pants just doesn't cut it anymore. Your vision for yourself and your world has outpaced your skills, and you're stuck. Your secret dream just gets copied from one to-do list to the next, never getting crossed off.

You've outgrown "winging it" as a life strategy. Welcome to adulthood!

The good news:

Every single artist, activist, healer, maker, creative, entrepreneur and general weirdo I know has this same angst. You make time for the stuff that’s necessary (because capitalism) but struggle to make time for the stuff that’s "unnecessary" on paper but utterly important for your soul and your sanity. 

You’re not alone. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

Get Shit Done is an unconventional productivity course that teaches you tangible, practical skills for getting your shit together and moving forward, finally, on the work that means the most to you. 

This is not a listicle of productivity hacks or a neoliberal  efficiency bootcamp. There's no condescension or corporate jargon here. This is a real-life strategy for the blessed freaks and holy weirdos on how to get clear, take action and Get Shit Done.

We meet for six weeks (in person in New Orleans or online from anywhere!) and build sequentially over four chapters: Vision, Strategy, Action, and  Accountability.

In Get Shit Done, you’ll get explicitly clear about what you want and clarify why you want it (Vision). Then you'll break it down into manageable steps and plan how to execute them (Strategy). You’ll overcome overwhelm and banish procrastination (Action), and learn to stop your worst self-sabotaging habits (Accountability).

At the end of six weeks, you’ll leave with a concrete plan for how to move forward and a clear, replicable strategy you can apply to all your secret dreamsin the future. 

You’ll get real skills, loving accountability, and a fierce community so you can finally get out of your own way.

THE DETAILS

Get Shit Done meets weekly on Sundays from 1-3:30pm Central Time. The course runs September 17-October 22. 

We meet in person in New Orleans or via live webstream from anywhere in the world. Have to miss a class? Watch the replay on your own time.

It costs $300. As always, payment plans are wildly available, and a few sliding scale spots are open for folks with intersecting marginalized identities. Inquire for details!

SIGN ME UP!

I believe you are better (and the world is better) when you're showing up fully, bringing your best and highest visions into reality. You need (we all need) the magic of doing the work you are meant to do. You don’t deserve scraps under the table.

You deserve to live your best life ever. And I firmly believe that life is within your reach.

Let's Get Shit Done

Much love, 
Bear

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Your Feelings Are Your Tools

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Every week I send out a love note filled with resources, musings, and inspiration about walking this path of yoga and liberation. Click here to subscribe!

Our emotions can be productive.

This shouldn’t be a radical statement, but we live in a culture where big feelings are to be politely eschewed, swept casually under the rug. But I believe that we can use them as tools. How can we leverage our big feelings, rather than just as terrible experiences we grit our teeth and suffer through?

Anger and sadness can feel overwhelming and stressful. Many of us, for instance, have felt intense anger over some aspect of our sociopolitical system over the past few years. We are angry over unchecked police violence against Black and brown people. We are enraged over unmitigated poisoning of the environment by corporations for profit. We are furious over flagrant discrimination against queer and trans people, women, Muslims and immigrants. Just writing this list, I am seething.

But we can channel that anger towards the sources of this injustice. We show up at protests. We call our senators. We give our money to the organizations on the ground doing the work every day. Unchecked, this raging fire can burn us out.

But without anger, we have no fuel for the fight.

Last week I pulled up to the intersection of Claiborne and Bienville and there was a pregnant woman asking for spare change at the corner. I gave her a dollar but as I pulled away, I cried from a childlike place inside that knows how wrong it is that anyone, let alone a pregnant woman, should have to go hungry or sleep on the street when so many of us live in such abundance.

For a minute I chastised myself for crying, but then I felt grateful for the way my sadness keeps me soft. Feeling sad means I’m paying attention. It signals that my empathy is turned on. Even though it sometimes makes me depressed or weepy, I wouldn’t have it the other way, cut off and cold.

If we’re constantly policing our feelings, we miss out on the wisdom they have.

 

But if we choose to let them in, we can channel our anger towards action. We can use our sadness to remain openhearted. Ask yourself: How can I use this sadness to shift my perspective? How can this anxiety connect me to others rather than isolate me? How can this anger give me clarity? Can my ambivalence help me to reorient towards things I truly love?

Our feelings can be tools, but only if we listen to them.

Much love, 

Bear

P.S. If you like what I write each week, I'd love to keep in touch. Sign up for weekly love letters direct to your inbox by CLICKING HERE. If you have the means, consider making a financial contribution to support my work

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