This week, I’ve been feeling a bit locked up.

I was letting the weight of being within the walls of my home get to me. I was in a cycle of just feeling heavy, without allowing myself lightness.

Do you ever feel that way?

I think it came upon me as I thought about the anniversary of stay-at-home orders in my city, Los Angeles, coming up in a couple weeks. Yes. One year of pandemic life. One year of unexpected ways of living. Masks on. Six feet apart. At home. Alone. A year full of isolation mixed with fear and loss.

I was feeling a bit confined. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel the hope that things are turning a corner (which they are). Vaccines are being distributed. Businesses are re-opening. Schools are re-opening. Covid cases are finally on a downward trend. Yes, there it is, hope on the horizon.

But, I was dwelling in a box. A box in my mind, of my own creation, because I was feeling restricted.

I allowed myself to dwell in this space long enough to know that it wasn’t a good place to be. I saw that I had to exit this box, but it seemed difficult. Then, I realized, I hadn’t been telling myself the truth.

I came to this idea of not telling myself the truth as I was thinking of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. You see, in yoga, there is a historical text by Pantanjali called the Yoga Sutras, and within this text, the Eight Limbs of Yoga are described. It is a set of guidelines for living a purposeful life. One limb is called the Yamas, or ethical disciplines. One of these ethical disciplines is Satya, or TRUTHFULNESS.

“Reality in its fundamental nature is love and truth and expresses itself through these two aspects.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, in Light on Yoga

Truthfulness. It encompasses truth in actions, words, thoughts, and feelings.

I realized I wasn’t being true to myself about my feelings. I had been grazing over them as I was trying to get through the day-to-day in pandemic life. And, so, my feelings caught up with me.

I needed to express the truth of how 12 months of isolation was making me sad. I was missing my human connections. Missing my friends. Missing going on adventures. Missing going to a cafe. Missing a feeling of freedom…. And, missing those that had been lost. I was full of missing. That is why I was feeling trapped in a box and feeling locked up.

I needed to honor the truth of these emotions that were inside me. So, I wrote about it. I allowed myself to cry about it. I moaned from deep within. I allowed the feelings as they came in waves as I sat during my meditation. I felt these emotions. I felt my truth. I listened to myself and let them out.

Do you ever notice that sometimes you don’t listen to yourself because you don’t have time, don’t want to deal with the reality of what you are saying to yourself, or feel like you ignore what you need?

Try to allow yourself to hear your own truth.

Then express it. However you can. Paint, write, vocalize, dance, cry. Honor the truth of what you are feeling.

Then see how you feel.

After I acknowledged how I had been feeling, I felt lighter. Then I thought about love. I remembered that I have love right here in my heart for myself.

You are loved, too. Allow yourself to feel love for yourself after you express your own truth.

I wish you the best as we have victoriously weathered one year of Covid. Together we are strong, even as we are distant.

May you have peace within,

Julia anjali mudra hands

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