Tag Archives: Emotions

Looking Ahead for Hope

It’s just one month, I tell myself.

After one month, things will get better.

You’ve booked a staycation in May (with flexible cancellation dates. Just in case).

You’ll get to meet your friends again and sit in the cafes to have coffee and people watch through window seats. In the meantime, you can still journal at home. You can make art. Music. Read. You have Zoom. And Skype. You can finally do all the online courses you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. You’ll have all the downtime you’ve always dreamed off and not have to feel guilty about it! You’re not going to be bored to death. You’ve always been able to find things to do at home. It’s just the mindset of having to stay at home now that’s making you anxious and feeling trapped. And that’s understandable.

It’s ok to feel scared and anxious, AND also remember that we don’t have to panic and that this will pass. We’re in the storm now, knowing that this storm won’t last forever.

Hang on!

Remember This

Dear Self,

At this point in your life you are standing at a seemingly significant point in your journey. A point where you have plenty of memories to look back on, enough of life’s experiences to learn from, and a future potentially vast enough to look ahead to.

Remember this feeling.

Remember the contentment combined with restlessness, the mash of hope and worry, the mixture of excitement and reluctance.

Remember all these feelings, because they are all you.

They come from what you have experienced, and they will shape what you will experience.

Remember them, because they are unique and you’ll probably (hopefully) never get to experience anything like them again.

Remember them so that when you look back on your journey, another milestone distance later, you can pick out this point and period in your life, and smile. Because you have become better, stronger and braver for having embraced all these feelings at this point.

Breathe into them. Smile at them. Embrace them.

Remember this moment and smile.

(Everything is going to be alright.)

Love,
Your Self.

The Gap

“The most frustrating, agonizing part of creative work, and the one we grapple with every day in practice, is our encounter with the gap between what we feel and what we can express… Often we look at ourselves and feel that everything is lacking! It is in this gap, this zone of the unknown, where we feel most deeply – but are most inarticulate.”

– Nachmanovitch, 1990

At least with art, photography, music, poetry, dance and the innumerable forms of aesthetic expression… With their beauty of subtlety and space for interpretation, we come that little bit closer to bridging this Gap within.

Places and Emotions

“The places in which any significant event occurred become embedded with some of that emotion, and so to recover the memory of that place is to recover the emotion, and sometimes to revisit the place uncovers the emotion. Every love has it’s landscape. Thus place, which is always spoken as though it only counts when you’re present, possesses you in it’s absence, takes on another life as a sense of place, a summoning in the imagination with all the atmospheric effect and association of a powerful emotion. The places inside matter as much as the ones outside…”
‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, Rebecca Solnit
These lines very concisely sum up why I feel the way I do towards, in and at certain places.
Sydney, for me, will always be associated with a sense of hope and potential, the place I came to to embark on my dreams and aspirations. The place which gave me the opportunity to experience a life I never thought I could lead.
India, more specifically, Amritapuri – will always be the Home I can return to, as long as I’m there with the ones who mean the most to me.
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Then there’s the Home of all homes, the country where I was born and raised. So many layers of emotions associated with it, that I can’t even begin to think of where to begin. Within that place there are more places and infinitely intricate emotions, as expected from a place you have spent so many years with – all making up who I am and continue to be.
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And so I realize it is true – emotions have their landscapes, and landscapes have their emotions. And it is through these relationships that we grow and develop unfathomable depths of human emotion, some of which we might not even be aware of until we come face to face with those places.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Last Leaf

 
The last leaf quivered and shivered.
The autumn wind blew.
She looked around, knowing the other leaves have long gone.
They said their goodbyes, bade their farewells,
Floating peacefully to the soil below,
Fulfilling life, fulfilling the cycle they are all supposedly a part of.
The last leaf
Quivered and shivered.
Why has she held on for so long?

Because sometimes
We prefer Familiar Misery
Rather than the Maybe of an unknown reality.

The raindrops come.
Harder and harder the wind blows.
The last leaf musters up all her courage.
She lets go.
She floats away, free.

From Life to Grief

Just before Monday afternoon’s session, I got a sudden call from R, the supervisor.

“I’ve got rather unfortunate news… Susan (not real name) passed away.”

To say I felt shocked is an understatement. The last time I saw Susan (one of the group), a strong-willed woman in her 60s in a motorized wheelchair, she was still in all her loud jewelry and clothes, singing her heart out, cursing and swearing to everyone’s amusement, and playing around with her iPad and cursing and swearing even more when she couldn’t get it to do what she wanted it to do. She apparently had a lung infection, not uncommon for people with spinal chord problems, and that eventually led to pneumonia, and her feelingly untimely death.

“Do you still feel up to having a session with Di?” The supervisor asked. “Yes… As long as she’s willing to come”, came my hesitant reply. In my mind I was wondering what could I do for Di, who was a close friend of Susan? I knew she would be distraught. They had known and lived together in the facility for at least half a decade, and had shared many aspects of their lives together. Losing Susan was going to be a great loss of emotional support and friendship for Di. R was very supportive in giving advice and pointers on how to approach the situation, encouraging me by saying that he trusts me enough to know that I’ll know the best way to go about it.

Finally, they arrived, we went into our room, and I sat down in front of Di. She spoke quietly, tears filling her eyes.

“It’s so hard,” she said. “I know I have to let her go, because if I keep wishing she’d come back, she can’t go in peace…”

We continued talking for a while. I knew there was nothing I could say that would take away the pain, and this quote came to mind, kindly shared by the Comrade a few days back:
I tried to do that, just being there inside the pain, with her, as close as possible. We then played an improvisation on the keyboard, a peaceful, lyrical attempt at depicting the journey of life and how we’re never sure when each journey will end, but how we’re fortunate to meet our friends and loved ones along the way, making our journey that much more meaningful and memorable.

As the last note faded away, she whispered, with a hint of tearfulness: “It’s a pity we have to stop.”

We sat in silence for a while more.

“The music… Is able to take me away for a while”, she continued. I added, after some contemplation: “Yes… It reminds us that there is something bigger than ourselves”, thinking of all the times when I turned to musical expression to fulfill what the world couldn’t do for me.

“Well… Time will heal all wounds, won’t it?” Di spoke with a sad smile.

“But sometimes we don’t want the wounds to heal completely, do we? We want something left… to remind us of the one we loved.”

“… Oh, yes, that’s true.” And she said that in a more uplifted tone than she had since the beginning of the session. She turned to half-smile at me. “Thank you for that.”

We ended the session shortly after, with her saying that she did feel lighter. But I know the process of grieving is a complex one, never a one-track route. There will be days when one feels that the pain has passed, that life can finally move on, and there are days when the realization of losing that loved one hits you mercilessly all over again, and one feels thrown back into the depths of never-ending sorrow.

I feel bad that I won’t be able to see her over the next few weeks (due to the upcoming hospital placement), at this time when she needs the support and therapy more than ever. I suggested that she try to put her emotions to words, and perhaps we could work on creating soundscapes in the second half of the year. She seemed agreeable, and I hope it will be something that could help her cope over the next few weeks.

Praying for strength for Di to get through this period, and for wisdom to do what is right and best for her.

To Judge Not

A few weeks ago, a relatively young MT with a few years of experience, C, came to give us a lecture on working with adult populations from her perspective.

In one of the case studies she shared with us, involving a young lady with complex emotional issues, C said that one of the personal hurdles she had to face was the fact that this young lady took a long time to trust C.

“People generally trust and feel comfortable around me easily, and it’s important to me that they feel that way. It was very confronting for me to realise that here was a person who didn’t trust me, and it took me awhile more to realise that it stemmed from the problems within her as well, not just solely with me.”

I found that to be a rather startling revelation, as I’ve always thought C to be one of the most confident people I know. And when you are confident, you generally don’t care too much about whether people trust or like you or not, right?

Well, wrong. Upon some reflection and thinking, I realise that the link between displayed confidence and a person’s inner desire to be liked and trusted need not be related at all. It was just a presumption on my part, fed by years of social conditioning – “Be confident, and don’t care about what others think of you. And you will be a successful person.” How wrong could the world be.

In this field (as in other industries), it is of course important (to a reasonable extent) what people think of you. How else can the therapeutic relationship be established and beneficial? But I think the being liked and trusted should not be the goal – They should be the by-products of a sincere, genuine and authentic relationship. And that is what C eventually managed to achieve through her musical interventions.

I truly appreciated her honesty in sharing with us her vulnerabilities. While some may feel that it might diminish their professionalism in getting emotional, what it did was in fact make us respect the fact that she was aware of her own emotions and took steps to overcome them.

Overall, a reminder for me to not judge people based on what they choose to show to the world, and to be sincere and authentic in all relationships to achieve those important by-products.