Sunday, October 18, 2015

Yogi Confessionals: The Secret Magic to Sadness

Confession: I get sad. More often than I would like to admit. More often than you would think if you only knew me online. Social media has a funny way of only showing the highlight reel. On one hand, I love it because, let's be honest -- who would wants a newsfeed filled with Debbie Downers?! On the other hand though, all the rainbows and unicorns and mermaids fail to capture the entire other HALF of life.

In yoga, we strive for balance. The yin AND the yang. The light AND the darkness. Embracing the ups and the down, for they all have something important to teach us. I'm a big believer in surrounding yourself with high-vibrational energy at all times, but it begs the question:

By putting only our highest moments out there on social media, as a culture, do we inadvertently push those low feeling even lower? 

So, here's my attempt at sharing some really raw, honest, real-life stuff with you all. One realization I've come to recently is that I'm highly susceptible to sadness. Scratch that -- I'm highly susceptible to feeling sadness, in all its many forms. I'm a sensitive soul, an empath, deeply affected by the energy around me. As a yoga teacher, I have learned how to channel this into my classes and create some really beautiful, raw moments for my students. It breaths life into my creative work, my passions, my philanthropic work with orphanages, and it pushes me into new break-through places on my spiritual journey. I've come to terms with my ability to feel deep sadness and  have even become grateful for it. But -- lingering in it for too long can be dangerous.

Here's a new agreement I've made with myself: a 12 hour free pass to Sadville. One way ticket to Mope-town. 

Instead of trying to fight the sadness, or pretend that it doesn't exist, I've made a conscious effort to embrace it when it comes and let myself dive as deep into it as needed. For half of one day, only. 12 hours to mope around, cry if I need to, eat comfort foods, vent, and watch ridiculously sad movies... The Fault in our Stars, Selena, and Titanic top on my list for temporary travels to gloomsville. Need more inspiration? Here's a list of the 50 Most Heart-Wrenching Movies of all Time

So, here's where the magic happens. Here's what separates the spiritual growth from my childhood days of getting caught up in a spiral of emotions for way too long. 

The next morning, it's OVER. It's done. Allowing myself to linger in the sadness for a bit and really FEEL it creates the space for releasing it and transforming it into something productive. 

Last week, my father-in-law came out to San Diego for a visit and dropped some serious wisdom on us. He's a 40 year-long student of yoga and eastern religions like Buddhism and Taoism and left us with this little gem -- Feel the pain, but do not add suffering through resistance. 

BOOM. There was my big breakthrough I wanted to share with you all. Feel it, embrace it, don't add any extra guilt on top, and suddenly, the light begins to shine again. 


  1. The happiest folks I know are able to be sad when appropriate but are capable of moving on and returning to their happy place. It sounds to me as if you are one of those people. The advice you and your father in law give is very wise. I hope it opens some eyes and gives them an idea how to handle their sad times. Kahlil Gibran says sadness is but a wall between two gardens.

    1. Beautiful Kahlil Gibran quote, thank you for sharing, Michael. I appreciate you reading and following my journey. It means the world!

      - Mandy

  2. This really resonated with me. I moved half-way around the world with my husband leaving a big group of friends and family behind. Facebook is a double-edged sword - on one hand it's wonderful to keep in touch with loved ones, on the other hand it shows you what you're "missing out on" - everything looks wonderful and perfect on social media when you're sat at home missing your old life! I think it's so important that we remember that that's what social media does - it paints the perfect picture: people "better" than us, with their "perfect" lives while hiding the imperfections, the sadness, the more mundane aspects of life. And yes, I believe giving yourself time to be sad is healthy - a good mope, maybe a cry, plenty of sighs and then move on :)

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Samantha! Moving half-way around the world can be maybe the most disruptive but also eye-opening thing humans can ever experience. It takes such great courage to make that move with the deeper knowledge that happy times are on the way. I hope you start to grow lovingly into your new home. Please stay connected and reach out whenever it feels right.



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