sitting with bitchiness.

I hadn’t practiced my sitting meditation in 2 days, which was unlike me. It had been a busy few days, with our littlest recovering from illness and taking part in the amazing Women’s March.  I found myself exhausted and moping around the house, stuck inside with the stormy weather.  Feelings of angst and worry eating away at me, started to rear their ugly heads manifesting themselves in snarky comments made to my family, way too much social media time, and fretting and feeling awful for no reason. 

Late in the afternoon, I checked in with myself—really, nothing was wrong. In fact, we’d had a great weekend, full of wonderful family experiences.  The littlest was on the mend, and we’d had a Sunday that, on paper, should have felt totally relaxing.  So what was wrong with me? Why was I feeling full of angst and worry and acting so bitchy?

Was it the let-down after the high of such a powerful experience as the Women’s March?
Was it the generalized Sunday feeling of wishing I had another day off before heading back to work?
Was it that I had fallen out of my meditation routine in the last couple days?
Was there really something wrong?

No, there wasn’t. Cue my inner-critic’s chastising routine, perfected over years of daily, sometimes hourly, practice:

What is wrong with you?
How can you be feeling this way after such a great weekend?
How can you take for granted all that you have in my life?
Why can’t you just walk around feeling grateful and joyful all the time? After all, that’s what you should be doing.
That’s what everyone else is doing. 
Something is definitely wrong with you. 

*

Two things my meditation practice has taught me time and time again is that when I least feel like sitting, because my feelings are making me the last person I want to be around, I should do just that—sit with them/with myself, and when I’m feeling bitchy for no reason I should stop beating myself up and instead acknowledge how I’m feeling. 

In times of angst and bitchiness, I’ve found the following meditation to be helpful: 

Start by counting your breaths. Inhale/exhale—one, inhale/exhale—two…until you get to ten. (repeat as necessary)

Check in with your body and, without judging, just feel the adrenaline and energy spinning inside of you. 

Let it be there.  Let it spin. 

You are allowed to feel the way you’re feeling. 

Feeling bitchy is totally allowed.

And, the way you’re feeling doesn’t change anything great that you experienced, or make you any less grateful, nor does it mean anything is wrong with you.

Three more breaths.

As you inhale, feel the space around your heart open, allowing compassion for yourself to enter. 

Breathing in, think of a word that represents what you need—maybe it’s patience, balance, release, or understanding.

Breathing out, think of a word that represents what you want to let go of—angst, frustration, control, bitchiness.

Check in with your body and, without judging, notice if the spinning has slowed, notice the areas in which you feel release, notice the areas in which you still feel pushing/pulling. 

If you are still feeling a lot of pushing/pulling receive those sensations with compassion for yourself.  The adrenaline-based feelings that cause us to experience angst and bitchiness can be very powerful and can take time to soften.  Continue to inhale what you need and exhale what you want to let go of.

If in your check in, you notice the spinning has slowed, the tightness has relaxed, and the bitchiness is dissolving, receive those sensations with compassion. 

Our thoughts are not ourselves.  They are part of our truth, but not the whole truth of us.  When we receive these thoughts and the feelings that come from them with compassion, we allow ourselves to turn and face them as just part of our truth, gently and without judgment.  We do not need to erase or deny these feelings—in fact, that is impossible.  Rather we can choose to open to them and respond in a way that allows them the space to just be, without feeding them and letting them take over. 

Amiee Peri