“I write emotional algebra.” – Anais Nin
Happy April and happy spring. A glorious, transformative time of the year. As I reflect on the transitions taking place, it’s as if DC is coming alive after months of stagnation. Cherry blossoms are blooming, birds are singing, and from time to time we’re able to don open-toed shoes to yoga class.
I, too, am coming to a big transition with the final days of my 8-month internship at N Street Village, comp exams (le sigh), and return to Montreal to teach this month. At the end of April I will be officially done with half of my Master’s in Social Work curriculum – only 2 more years to go! Class of 2013.
The lessons I’ve learned practicing yoga over the past 15 years have prepared me for this exciting new journey that (I hope) will take my do-gooding efforts to the next level. By practicing mindfulness with therapy clients, to assisting with anxiety issues by practicing pranayama, to writing down ongoing concerns that keep them up at night, I’m grateful for the co-mingling of skill sets. My plan is to focus on further development of Tranquil Space Foundation and add therapy into my mix of offerings. Plus, I know that the skills learned will help me grow as a yoga teacher and facilitator.
Writing has been an outlet of mine since age 8. As the above quote by Anais Nin points out, writing is a complex equation of thoughts, feelings, dreams, and regrets. One of the foundational yogic principles speaks to self-study and my favorite way to practice this is through ongoing self-reflection via writing. How was my day? How did I handle that challenging situation? How do I wish I would have handled it? Am I truly happy? Why did I react that way? How do I want to act next time the situation arise? What am I grateful for today? These simple questions can help us to reflect on what lies within.
Often times, emotions and dreams are begging for an outlet and writing can serve as that free therapist who supportively listens without judgment. I’ve recently fallen in love with the blending of art and journal writing appropriately called art journaling. A Psychology Today article recently touted that “the regular practice of creating via an art journal can reduce your heart rate, increase serotonin flow and immune cells, and decrease stress responses.” Think paint, watercolor, sharpies, collages, photos, and more co-existing on a page in your journal.
As we transition into this new season full of blooming, I encourage you, too, to reflect on ways in which you can create emotional algebra. Pick up a pen and some scrap paper, let your hand move across it and write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense, let it flow. Dreams, ideas, frustrations, concerns are all waiting to unfold. What is waiting within you?