Valentines Day 2003. The EPIC Ice Storm of Southern Ohio. My all time bottom. Heavy. Dark. Deep. Sadness that had lingered for way too long. Depleted energy reserve. My cheek brushed up against the softness of my old white couch as I woke up mid day. A luminous light from the window was shining in through the huge cigar trees in my back yard. I had been sleeping for days, there was no escape to my life at this point. I had been depressed for months, unable to move. Unable to be a mother. Unable to face the wreckage that I had created of my lost marriage. Things were heavy. I was so alone. I pushed everyone that loved me away with bolted steel locked doors. For the first time in my life I was seeing my own darkness, my own distrust, my own inability to allow and let go. I was holding resentment, and a hate deep inside my heart. My entire life was a lie, and on a very deep level I wasn’t sure of who I was. A lifetime of running away from my own personal issues. A growing inability to control several addictions, and a drive to try to control something uncontrollable about myself. What was wrong with me. It was my dark night of the soul.
Depression is the most debilitating emotionality of all. Apathy resonates as one of the lowest of all energetic vibrations. This state can be dangerous, because every other state of energy has more capacity to transform itself. All things that were once loved bring no joy at all. Life becomes void with a lack of any movement. This lackluster emotion can put someone in a very dangerous situation. Not only can depression lead to addictive behaviors such as hoarding and overeating, it can also lead to suicidal thoughts.
My Logo represents Ayurveda with a Butterfly, a Woodpecker and a Tree. The tree represents the Dosha of Kapha in my interpretation of the elements. Earth and water. Trees are strong, sturdy, stable, consistent. Earth element inside of us gives us reserved energy, endurance, stability, tenacity for joyful habits, and the gift of being good listeners. Smooth vibrant skin, and clear soft eyes that understand. A Tree holds the forest well and is the seat of home. A stable and strong friend, wise counsel who listens instead of speaks. A home for others, a great listener to the winds and fires. Still, silent, aware. It is Grandmother’s quilt, a cup of hot cocoa, a romantic dream. Kapha is the dead calm of a winter forest. Soft curves. When out of balance, It is lethargy. Grudges. Greasy pizza, cake and all things heavy without moderation. It can be isolation and sadness. Deep lengthy mourning. The flu, mucous, all things heavy in the body. Overeating, leading to obesity. Lethargy leading to depression. Dark nights of the soul. Suppressed anger which becomes stagnant. Hoarding and resentments. The beginning of disease. Cancerous growths and toxins. Density, strength, roots deeply embedded into earth. Immovable, patient, wise. On the downside, Kapha can collect on itself. It is dense, deeply stuck in its own ways.. It is important to move people out of Depression when they are there for a long period of time because this can be quite dangerous if not shaken up. Depression can grow into a dark void and feel like a black hole. Despair is harsh. And the most dangerous aspect is that Kapha builds on itself. So by nature, just the act of lethargy, brings more lethargy. We must find a way to crawl out of this dosha after a long period of time, or we can sink deeper and deeper.
When working with clients out of balanced in Kapha, it’s important to move them slowly out with small habits. Sometimes people realize they have grieved or mourned something in their lives long enough and can waken up with an action that sparks their soul or allows them to be able to recognize themselves again. Many times this is transitional imbalance , much like what I have personally experienced after my divorce.
I remember struggling with deep sadness every winter in my youth. I was not aware of why, but during winter it is important that we hold onto practices that will keep us balanced and out of lethargy. Winter is heavy in itself and if we add practice to keep us light, Winter can be a time that is truly joyful. These days I treasure these times because I understand how to keep myself balanced in the cold season. Moving out of deep sadness never happens spontaneously. It is subtle. Small focused movements forward may be our first glimpse of a shift out of the darkness.
Many times during depression, we can look for a distraction. It is hard to imagine that alcohol can be a depressant in all of its heat. It feels hot as we drink and warms the belly. Alcohol can be quite alluring to someone who is depressed because it may seem to shake this up a bit, but alcohol will stimulate a quick response to depression that is short lived. By the time that alcohol hijacks every system of the body the side effects can plunge a depressed drinker deeper into their own sadness. This is a dangerous drug for someone going through transitional or chronic depression. Alcohol as a tincture, in droplets are good for many ailments. It can clean up mucous during the spring or winter. As a medicinal tincture it will carry the power of plant medicine into the blood stream quicker and deeper. But more than a few drops will wreak havoc on every system of the body. And even the worst flu will seldom call for more than two ounces, once, when someone needs some heat in a hurry inside of their body. It should be avoided when we feel gloomy. At best, it gives us a short distraction until the reckoning arrives the next day in unwanted baggage on top of baggage.
These are troubling times for many of us. Many circumstances create much difficulty in today’s world whether it is shared parenting, or an addicted loved one or mental health issues. Turning off technology in itself can be one simple measure to create more calm in our day. As much as we yearn for peace and love, where do we find it? We must create it for ourselves.
Where do we begin? How do we start? Here are ten ways to move Kapha and shake up lethargy and depression. In Ayurveda we try to give ourselves options. So that we do not feel totally powerless in our lives. Freedom is everything and this way of living gives us plenty of personal power.
As an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, I am speaking of the emotion of lethargy, or the imbalance of the Kaphic Dosha. A transitional or seasonal sadness. Chronic depression or mental illness should be addressed with your Doctor or Licensed Counselor.
Here are ten ways to shake up lethargy and transitional depression, the imbalance of Kapha.
Baby steps. Life feels heavy because it gets heavy. Let’s face it, we are living in painful times. Mental health issues and loved ones who are destroying themselves in addiction. Losing our parents. Divorce and separations in relationship. These struggles are real and many times we ask ourselves if we are handling things the way that we should. But as different as each one of us are, we all will handle our pain differently. But sometimes the healing can be quite similar. Ayurvedic practice is pure in its simplicity. Easeful for all. Allow yourself options. Today a walk in the woods may feel right, but tomorrow, just putting pen to paper may be all that you can muster up. Allow yourself to feel what is arising in your body. This allows the precious light of awareness to break it up. But whatever you allow yourself to feel in your darkest moments is your process of experiencing emotional pain.
Lighten your intake. As comforting as food can be, it can numb us even more. When we are experiencing the element of earth, we are already heavy. Limit comfort food, even in small ways. Comfort food can tame the anxiety by grounding it. And it can blanket irritability with its heaviness. But when we are already immoveable and tired, heavy comfort foods will only worsen Kapha. Try to lighten your meals. The act of cooking something and giving it the illusion of heaviness can aid in lightening the density of lethargy. One way to enjoy comfort food during this time is to make it yourself. Make your friday night pizza but instead of ordering out all that greasy sausage, order a veggie pizza with or without the cheese. Or make your own. Adding veggies is a better choice, while you are still getting the comfort of pizza. I enjoy playing soft jazz and making vegan brownies. This may not be my healthiest option, but its better than eating store bought cake that is heavy in dairy. And it tastes even better. Anything that you create in the harmony of your kitchen is going to be better for your body because you can adjust and decide what you are putting into your body. Begin your journey making your kitchen a special place in your home. Mugcakes are so much fun as well and take one minute to toss into a cup. Pick up Limes have many desserts that are decadent and delicious that are all plant based. Learn to cook in your kitchen. Begin with watching other people do it. Youtube has been my favorite teacher in teaching me how to transition to plant based.
Meditation. I was drawn to Yoga and vibrant flows in the beginning because it was a way for me to get the intensity that my personality craves. But in the last few years, the benefits of Meditation have catapulted my work, my friendships, my awareness of my own shadow self. Something happens when you begin to get out of your own way in life. We keep ourselves down when we are are sad and we blame our circumstances instead of allowing ourself to see how we create the circumstances. Yes, life throws us a lot of challenges, some tougher than others. But isn’t it how we learn to handle them? How powerful we become through our coping skills? How much clarity we can create in our lives by knowing our dark patterns? Meditation allows us to truly see. My meditation practices began with ten to fifteen minute guided meditations. Three years later, I have worked up to full one hour meditations. I like to do this with my close friends on Sunday. But throughout the week I try to get twenty and thirty minutes in daily. My goal is to be at an hour a day by mid next year. Because this practice can be so difficult to me, i know myself enough to know that I will acquire it with heavy practice. Yes there are times that ten minutes in I will get up. But I sit. I habit myself to this practice. I have been able to make mountains move in my life that I had zero tenacity to do before. I have been kinder to myself. I have become more aware of the the energy around me. Every single human being should begin this practice for themselves. Start with two minutes and work your way up. Give it one single month to test your results. You can not do it wrong. You have nothing to lose and much to gain. This practice will raise your vibrations.
Bring on the fire. Pitta balances Kapha. Anything hot is good for heaviness of earth. Saunas, heated yoga, a sunny day. Make sure to wear your sunscreen but let that vitamin C resonate into your skin. Also heat in foods are good. I like to make popcorn with a dash of garam masala and some melted ghee. In the cooler months, spice blends and curries are excellent for breaking up heaviness. Vinegars and Kombucha are good probiotics for gut health and can boost a sluggish digestion. Fire detoxes and transforms heaviness into ashes. Fermented foods are nice as well. Pickle some cucumbers for late evening snacks, if you have a garden or buy some in the local grocery. Grocery stores or little organic family markets have so many incredible pickled options these day. I love our local Earth Candy Farmacy. I shop there a couple of times a week and their options grow monthly. These compassionate shops are diamonds in our communities.
A walk in the woods. Sometimes just a walk in the woods can lighten us up a bit. Start small. Maybe just a short path or walk around your block. Maybe just a drive if you have not been out on a trail before. Peek into the woods. Walk into the entrance. Allow your curiosity to rise. There are high vibrations in nature and our parasympathetic adores alignment with Mother Earth. Start small with a friend or your doggy. Animals can guide us out of our sadness if we let them lead the way. When we had our Covid lockdown, I had went from overwork to no ability to move. I knew that this could have thrown me into a sadness. I did not want to lose my structured schedule. I continued to wake up at 5:45, and fall asleep by 10:00. For the first time I began to explore the woods, something I had always wanted to do but never seemed to have the time. I borrowed my son’s minnie aussie and we would adventure. Every day. Hiking is life, guys. I was amazed at how beautiful the forest is. Every season. My favorite time to hike is early morning before ten and afternoon, because of the heat. I remember the first path that I took. I walked into the forest for a mile and began to get afraid of being out so far. But this changed quickly. Banjo and I are up to five mile hikes now and this is enough for me. I will do a ten or fifteen mile hike someday with a group but I prefer to keep it under five when I am alone. I go with a friend a lot as well. I also have two beautiful short paths at my boyfriend’s property that he has created for us. A brisk walk in nature is simply good for everything.
Reach out to uplifting friends that listen without giving advice. It can be hard to find that friend that lends an ear and not a mouth but most of us know of that person. Sometimes we just want to be heard. I know that ten years ago I was the kind of person that always felt the need to give unwanterd advice. Im grateful that I have learned how to hold space. We do not share the way we feel for people to tell us how to live better. We need to vent sometimes or get things off our chest. When we have trusted friends that just hold space without judgement that allows us to deal with our problems on our own and figure out solutions on our own. These are the ways that we become stronger and more capable problem solvers.
Have a date for yourself if you do not feel like meshing with other people. Many times when we are sad we isolate, so venture out alone. A bookstore or coffee house. People watch outside on a bench. Go to a comedy or outdoor lunch on a breezy patio. Take a outdoor gentle yoga class in the park. Yogis are the most kind and supportive groups. Sometimes when we press ourselves out of the house, this is all that it takes to bring a subtle change in our energy.
Clean out a drawer. A small section of your closet. A cabinet in your kitchen. Depending on how you feel, start small. Sometimes a small purge can stick and take hold. Many times I have began a small purge that turned into a week long vengeance to organize. Much like darkness and heaviness that weighs us down, movement and action can build on itself to inspire. Let go of things that are bogging you down. Sometimes letting something go can feel like betrayal to someone. But how much space do we hold in our homes for sadness and the past. If memories or things no longer bring us joy it is time to let go. I realize that this is easy to say. But I assure you that I have held on to many things long past the time that I should have. And as I became comfortable with letting go, it became easier and easier to purge toxicity out of my life. How hard is it to stay on our hamster wheels opposed to finally move forward in our lives. Know on deep levels that you are more powerful than you know, if you only let yourself be. The first desire that I feel after cleaning out my fridge is to make something creative in my kitchen. Purging inspires us to create!
Take the dosha quiz on Banyan Botanicals for a soft and precious guide to recommended products that can aid in the imbalance of Kapha. I love this company because they are affordable, and they have the most sustainable and organic products. Banyan is a trustworthy company that can be a soft flashlight into the herbal realms if you do not have an Ayurvedic Health Counselor to reach out to. If you do, make an appointment with one. Ayurvedic Health Counselors have minimum of six hundred hours in the study of Ayurveda and usually more.
Read or Audible. Loud television can seem to numb us but it waters our energy. My television is turned off during the day. I like to play some light flutes or uplifting rhythmic music when I’m home. Or turn on a book on Audible while you are cooking. I am amazed at the up level of podcasts. The world has become our oyster with technology if we learn how to use it for our own benefit and not our downfall. Keep our atmosphere clear and light and positive and this will resonate into our feelings and energy fields. Sometimes pain can feel so intense that we can not see outside of ourselves. Wee must protect ourselves from the negativity. And make efforts to not allow it around us. These are simple measures that we can do in our own space. Our home should feel like a sanctuary. An escape. Read a simple book of quotes or inspiration that can guide us into presence. The Power of Now always speaks to my heart and resonates with truth. If you are not a reader, get a simple short inspirational read that can sit on your nightstand.
Don’t ever believe that your depression was for nothing. There is always work being done in our pain, as long as we learn how to move through to the other side.
Remember that we are all connected to something much greater than ourselves. And every single one of us has felt deep sadness at one time or another. Some of us simply take more of the world on than we should.
With much love and care.
My divine light adores your divine light.
As an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, I am speaking of the emotion of lethargy, or the imbalance of the Kaphic dosha. A transitional or seasonal sadness. Chronic depression or mental illness should be addressed with your Doctor or Licensed Counselor.
If you or someone you know is engaging suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 800-273-8255