This post was originally shared in a newsletter sent to participants of the ‘ReHeats‘ I organize a couple of times year to reheat and practice certain ideas and principles around the interrelation of our physical structure, our thoughts and emotions in a temporary intentional community. The writing comes straight from my notebook after letting myself fall into a bad mood and wanting to objectively represent how I had allowed it to happen.
Enter, How I Get Into A Negative Mood
The weather had decided it for me. Today was going to be a lazy day. What else would it be?
The sky was gray, the rain was just about to erupt from the dark clouds, gloomy faces were rushing mindlessly through the street when I peeked through the window.
The conditions of the day made their message very clear to me: today I stay in for a lazy day.
I put myself down in the sofa with my laptop, scrolled a bit, opened some random tabs, watched 5-10 seconds of half a dozen of clips that automatically start playing on Facebook before I noticed a 30 minute video in the area of my interests.
I watched 5 minutes of this, then paused it. I found another video: one of those Fail Video compilations where people hurt and humiliate themselves. It was funny for a couple of minutes but then I got bored with this as well.
In the meanwhile almost an hour had passed. My body had started to slowly melt into the shape of the sofa and my lower back started to hurt a little bit and yell to me to change position but no no no not today because the weather decided for me: it’s a lazy day.
This vicious circle of mindless dabbling continued for a while until I got a feeling of enormous disgust towards myself as I realized something about how laziness, inactivity and winding down had changed since I was a kid.
I got into a bad mood and became negative after that hour, not very enthusiastic about life and thought to myself “normally I am not like this, what has triggered these feeling?”
So I pondered “maybe I should do what I suggest other people to do” and started to very analytically make a list of what got me into this bad mood and came up with the following:
- only looking forward with eyes, not looking around / rigid neck
- shoulder rounded forward, sunken chest and mid spine
- sinking down in sofa instead of keeping expansive spine
- grinding teeth instead of relaxing jaw
- mindless scrolling on social media, zero attention / ‘here but not here’
- comparing my life with single online pictures of another person who I barely know
- feeling unconnected
I realized something for myself about this trap that the ‘connected’ world has created. This laziness I decided on was not true inactivity or non-doing as the Taoists call it. It was a poisonous attention-less kind of activity that I have to stay away from. When I started to enlarge these feelings, internal dialogue and physical disturbances that came up through these activities I got horrified with what this type of death-in-life activities could do to me in the long run. It was the loudest possible Alarm Clock! “What will I become when I keep doing this?”
Most of all I felt what might be some of the most significant things for me to stay aware of. I felt it is less a matter of what I do but more what NOT to do when talking about bad moods.
My antidote I found the next day, still feeling a bit gloomy I decided it was time to cut this self-inflicted crap and I decided to go out and move around. I went to a local park to do my Tai Chi practice and for the first couple of moment I started thinking ‘Man, even this is not working!’
I was practicing with wrong effort, I was expecting something instead of trusting the process. So I let it go and just went through the form, trying to be attentive to every joint in my body – every shiver where I was holding a bit of tension, where my breathing was feeling a bit more restricted.
I started to forget a bit about my expectations. Then, after having passed from my ankles all the way up in the body I got to the section of spinal movements and started my usual 18 repetitions of what I like to call Panorama Spine Circles.
In this movement I look to the side, arching in the whole spine, shifting my hip and looking all the way back completing the circle at the other side. I basically got a 360 degree view of everything that’s around me in the park: I saw all different trees, bushes, grass, flowers, people walking their dogs. I tried to not allow myself to get blurry in my vision, tried to not miss any blind spots. I refocused as soon as it happened: I LOOKED AROUND AGAIN, I REALLY REALLY LOOKED.
And my whole mood changed, I started to feel free again from the inside. It was a message of big importance for me that week because I realized something very deeply. I freed myself from the negative mood that I got myself into by being so careless with my attention and not looking around outside nor inside, from getting bent by the conditions of the day instead of taking responsibility of and for myself.
I realized what I had been lazy to: I had been lazy to myself, I had fallen asleep to myself.
Falling asleep had been the LOUDEST form of ‘alarm clock’ by seeing the consequences it could have if I kept up this sleep.
What are your ways of falling asleep? What are the triggers of your negative moods?
What changes in your physical structure, what are your internal dialogues like, how do you feel? Observe if you can catch them and make a list: