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Black Clouds


(Art by sammy_j052)
I’m going to be honest. The last few days I have been struggling. I wake up super early in the morning so I can sit and meditate, do an hour Yoga practice, followed by the exercises my chiropractor has prescribed, and then end my routine with a few quick reads of my beloved blog ladies: Shared Balance, BlissChick, Nolly Posh, Everyday Yogini, NOLA Girl in Costa Rica, and A Buddhist Perspective (last one not a chick!). When that’s over I quickly shower, walk my dog, have breakfast, and book out the door! But the last few days I do all of the previous, but the latter part I lose momentum and simply want to crawl back in bed and curl up next to Hansel like this work thing is all just a dream. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my job. I’m just as surprised as you that the black clouds have found me so early in the year. It’s only been two and a half weeks since school started. But this morning that urge was stronger then ever accompanied by this burning/nausea/yucky feeling I have in my stomach lately. I proceeded with the shower, dog walk, breakfast thing…but before I booked out the door I decided to call off work. Something was really telling me not to go. Instead, I packed my bag, grabbed my Yoga mat and headed for the coffee shop down the street from my Yoga studio. I sipped on an ice tea while I FINALLY wrote in my journal…the first time since sometime during summer break. The feel of the pages, the movement of my pen, the way words jump from my mind into physical existence…it all is so comforting. Soothing. Nurturing. Healing even. At 9:30, when I should have been with a group of sixth graders talking about clay…I sat crossed leg on a bamboo floor at my Yoga studio. Since my injury I have only attended restorative Yoga classes, and this was about to be my first “basic Yoga class” since June. At my school the teachers always begin with a satsang discussing a bit of the Yoga philosophy or Sutras. When Maria, the Yoga teacher, began the discussion, I understood why that urge not to go to school today was so strong this morning. I needed to be present for this discussion. It was like the talk was scripted exactly for me. Maria began her discussion with an antidote about an acquaintance of hers. She explained how this person has a burning/nausea/ yucky feeling in her stomach, accompanied by a racing heart and shortness of breath. Her acquaintance has been to numerous doctors and none can find any thing wrong with her or a reason for the symptoms. Maria exclaimed that it sounded like stress. BOOM! That’s when it hit me….this cloud that waits for me in the morning the past few days…the temperamental stomach thing…its all stress. STRESS! Did you hear me? STRESSSSSSS!

But my job is going well. I’m more organized then ever and my lessons are running smoothly. Everything is pleasant in my life. Except, after Maria said the “stress” word, I realized that I work in a bubbled world where stress sometimes plays a game of dodge ball. The teachers are buzzing with negativity like a fluorescent light bulb. There are meetings, emails, and paperwork to keep up with. But seriously, those things are manageable..and I don’t let myself get to wrapped up in that. I think the stress I have taken on is of a deeper level then just overwhelming work stuff. The stress comes from creating an open, creative environment where kids enter of all backgrounds, needs, and natures. I open myself up to their energies all day long…and I think I’ve been carrying a lot of it with me. That’s why my stomach has been weird and I feel so depressed.

I have a friend here who is a Reiki master. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that, it is an individual who is trained to work with a person’s energy and chakras. When I first started teaching in a public school full time I had these same “blues”–the funky stomach and black clouds. My friend told me its because the kids latch on to me and suck the energy from me…not with a negative intention…they’re just being kids. She expressed to me that I have a great inner light and that kids run to it. The important thing, she said, is that I need to both protect myself and take care of myself energy wise. She wasn’t saying to chow down on a protein bar or eat a good hardy breakfast (which both are not bad things to do). This care is on a different level. She explained how crucial water is for me throughout the day, and that before going to school to imagine a great white bubble around me that will help keep the kids from putting chains on me and even attaching roots. She then said, before I step into the car to leave to do a quick little ceremony of symbolically cutting the chains off and pulling out the roots. She ended by explaining to me how important it was to shower when I get home and take the clothes off I wore during the day. I always do that anyways. I did this little ceremony for awhile last year, and funny thing…after I stopped doing it….the blues came back…that was towards the end of the year. Read some of my earliest posts on Dirty Footprints and you’ll see and feel the presence of those black clouds.

Except today, I realized that its even more then cutting symbolic chains and pulling out roots….its about taking real time for yourself. Journaling. How much I miss it…and didn’t realize it until my brain was having a breakdown. Yoga class—how much I’ve missed being a part of that group energy you can only find in a Yoga class. Art–my own art—picking up my own paintbrush–expressing my own life–not helping other little hands find their own truth. That’s a real biggie that’s been missing.

Stress takes over, when we begin to neglect ourselves. Stress comes in many forms…sometimes stress is even spiritual. This kind of stress reminds us how important it is to take care of that soul of ours. We need to nurture it just like a young child. We need to check on it–just like emails and meetings. We need to work on it–just like paperwork. We need to protect it, wash it, and even honor it with rituals and ceremonies.

Today I really had an awakening. The way my body and mind have been reacting lately are completely linked to the stress level my spirit has been experiencing. It is so much easier to blame it on the material things of our life–like our job, our bills, or even random events of our day. But if we dig deeper, maybe we can find that the stress is linked on a spiritual level. It might be something we’ve been carrying with us for ages even. When we neglect our soul and its needs, it’s forced to speak to us the only way it knows how to communicate: through our bodies and mind.

Peace & Love.
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