It’s one of my words for 2010–inspired by Danielle LaPorte’s practice of coming up with three guiding terms each year. My others are Let, and Love.

It’s the Truth one–Satya, in Sanskrit–that I’ve been mulling over lately. Here’s why: I’m a new auntie! Three-month-old Maddy* is the love of my family’s life right now. Feeding her a bottle, putting her to sleep, and just breathing beneath her as she sleeps on my chest, has completely cracked my heart open. So she’s tapped into my other word, too, Love.

Baby Beyond
But it’s watching her cry, just give a great big all-out scream from the bottom of her lungs, and then, in a split second, switch to a smile, or even instantly drop into sleep, that’s got me pondering Truth. Because Maddy, and every other baby and young child, doesn’t hold back. She’s feeling what she’s feeling and everybody is knowing about it.

But her outbursts don’t tend to last. She can go from raging mad to zen content in about 0.2 seconds. So I’m asking myself: Why can’t I do that? Why can’t my anger–or fear, or stress, or jealousy, or…–always just pass through me like a wave on the ocean. And here’s the answer: It can, if I let it. But if I hold it back, if I stuff it down, if I push it away so someone else isn’t hurt, or upset, or just plain confused, it’s gonnna hang off me like a dead albatross.

When the Body Says No
And my body has been telling me this for years. In his book, When the Body Says No, Gabor Mate, one of my fave M.D’s, presents evidence that suggests repression of emotions–and other important heart-stuff like dreams and passions–is highly correlated with dis-ease. From what I understand, his work is arguing that repression of emotions causes activation of our sympathetic nervous system–usually activated by stressful events. Ongoing SNS activation = decreased immune system, and dis-ease ranging from minor colds and flus to major bodily responses like cancer.

I’d say I’m not at risk of causing that extreme a reaction, but there’s definitely a link between anxiety–something I struggle with–and stifling emotions.

Satya is often used to refer to words and actions that bring us closer to the Ultimate Truth–the greater, good, and wonder-full. Here’s one thing I know for sure: When I speak my truth, when I release what I’m feeling and let it be known, I feel free. Free from anxiety, from stress, from monkey mind-mania. Free to go beyond the wave of emotion, and dive deep into my connection to the universe–the Ultimate Truth–the greater, good, and wonder-full.

So I’ll be doing more of that.

*the pic above is not of Maddy.

heart of the matter: living below the neck

satya, truth, yoga union: lessons from a baby

July 1, 2010