Reprise: On Making Space For The Blues

 

By: Lindsay King  |  artbylindsayking.com

 

Oscar Wilde said,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most People just exist.”

 

Let’s face it… we all get “THE BLUES” from time to time. Even the most upbeat, optimistic, happy person can find themselves going through their day to find a wave of blue sneak up on them.  It’s so easy to either indulge in the self loathing, lonely, mind wandering, heart ache, or tell yourself to shove that feeling in “the junk” drawer. Cram it in the back closet, (you know the one I’m talking about)  in which you put all the random house stuff that has no category or home. Unfortunately for me, both choices seem to have the same outcome. I feel frustrated, my body is tense, and I have a sense of emptiness. A sense that I have failed at being authentic while staying positive.  Opposing forces at war. 

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As an eternal problem solver and doing my best to live a well balanced life (Libra here!), I have thought and thought on how I can perceive this inevitable wave of soul ache, differently.  The funny thing is, to solve the problem with how I choose to experience feeling blue, I had to come to the understanding that solving “the problem”, was part of the problem.  There is no problem with feeling blue.  The relationship with “blue” and myself is in a bit of self discovery and mini therapy session at the moment.  In fact, I’ve started looking at human emotions and reactions to situations a bit differently.  I want to Live, not just Exist. And to do this I have to accept that feeling blue is part of life.  I’m not the only special, misunderstood, shove it away, fake it till you make it, face masking person, out there!  I’m not exactly sure what the numbers are of people that feel blue from time to time are, but, I’m fairly certain that the numbers are high.  This is a shared experience.  How we choose to interact with blue is the important part. I have had to do some dissecting, and have come up with some simple questions to ask myself so I can navigate and react to blue in a helpful way.   What brought on this wave of blue? How am I reacting to it? How do I honor this feeling? Where do I go from here? 

Below I have some examples of how I have answered these questions.  (WARNING: highly sensitive person here. Yes I promise, its a thing. And it’s not just mental. But it’s not life altering for me… it’s part of life.) 

A few triggers:

  • Lack of sleep or energy.
  • Over stimulated by noise, technology, the endless needs of others/ the world (the heart wrenching thoughts I have while driving to and from work, making sure I am not disensitized to the realities of those close and far from me.) 
  • Over booking myself. In all areas of life. Professional, social, immediate loved ones, and pursuing my dreams.  I love it all, so it is easy to overbook!

Reactions:

  • Sluggish. Not wanting to face the many mundane things of the day to day. You know… wanting to stay in bed and binge watch Netflix to escape, but can’t, kind of feeling.
  •   Easily distracted and scattered. Unable to make progress on the things super important to me. resulting in, you guessed it, feeling blue. 
  •   Indulging in negative thoughts about being good enough. Good enough for my profession, social life, immediate loved ones, personal goals. Feeling that my intentions are misunderstood by others. 

Honoring The Blues:

  • Acknowledging its presence. Its a present but passing emotion.  Its human.  Its ok. I will say “hello”, possibly have tea with blue, but blue is not staying for dinner, or extended vacation. 
  •  Being mindful of self care.  Going to bed early. Meditating. Carving out time to be alone in quiet. Drinking more water. 
  •   Being mindful of habits. Such as overuse of technology. Comparing myself to others. Making sure I’m in the present moment so I can be of service to others I interact with, by engaging and truly listening. 

Moving forward, Until next time:

  • Noting my rhythms or waves of blue over time.
  • Finding the beauty on the other side and making note of how joy feels.
  • Embracing gratitude for the fact that I get to live and not just exist.  And the fact… I am not alone.  

Again, remember, you are not alone! Each of us have several ways that we find solace and work our way through feeling blue.  I am lucky that pursing artistry keeps me engaging in creativity.  But I know with all my heart that we are all creative and the importance of cuing into that playfulness is another key component to the balance of our emotions and how we react to them.  

 

Life is short, but it’s also long.  Live it.