Learning What I Teach

June 15, 2014

Have you heard the saying “You teach what you need to learn”? What a truism that is! I’ve written so many articles about feelings and stress and breathing and meditating that I’ve lost count.

Learning What I Teach

Now I’m in the midst of chaos. I’m moving after being in the same apartment for many many years. But stuck in limbo because I need to sublet the old place before I can completely move to the new one. Jersey City beckons me to come get to know it, but I’m paralyzed among boxes, a to-do list that keeps rattling around in my head, work that needs to be done, and lots and lots of uncertainty.

When I was in Arizona last week with my energy healing group, I went for a craniosacral treatment. The therapist was immediately drawn to my head and said, “Oh my, your brain is over-active today!” I burst out laughing!

I had decided to make the trip in spite of all that needed tending to back home. I thought the peace and quiet would rejuvenate me. I like to get up early and go for walks in the desert when I’m there. But my body had another plan. I was so fatigued the entire time I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she finds herself in a field of poppies. I’m always saying “Listen to your body”. And so I rested.

The Sagittarius in me is ready for a new adventure. But the Taurus in me is feeling uprooted. Last night I wanted someone to swoop down and figure this all out for me. An efficient organized Pitta. 🙂 Instead, I heard a message, “Go to sleep!” it said. So I went to bed and my night was filled with fragments of moving dreams. “Go away!” I wanted to shout. But I knew that my subconscious was just helping me work it all out.

It’s Sunday morning and part of my routine is to put my houseplants out on the fire escape. I water them and let them spend the day outside. I love my plants. I won’t have anywhere to do this at my new place. But truth-be-told, that same fire escape comes complete with filthy air from the busy street below that has covered my windowsills with a black soot for fifteen years. I have been breathing this, and so have my plants. Not so good.

There is a rooftop in my new building where I will be able to escape. Who knows? Maybe I will even be able to see the moon (and dare I say, some stars) – something that is a challenge where I live now. I am looking for silver linings everywhere.

I returned from Arizona to find an orchid I had bought last year with over a dozen buds! I’ve never had orchids before and all I did was faithfully water it once a week. When I saw the new life it immediately took me out of my state of stress. I felt my body relax and I started to cry.

As hard as this experience has been, and will continue to be for a while, I also find myself drifting through it, as if in a dream. With each emotion that comes up (and there have been many) I have been honoring them and letting them express and pass through me.

Fear, uncertainty, sadness, loss – they have all been here. I feel them mostly in my heart and in my gut. Especially my heart. And so I have given special attention to my heart – nurturing it, using essential oils and literally placing my own healing hands on it when it feels overwhelmed with emotion. Breathing, sobbing, releasing.

And writing. With all that I need to do today, I felt compelled to write this and share it with you. So, thank you for being on the other end – caring enough to read and offer me your support.

You see, I am learning to RECEIVE. Something that has been a challenge for me in this lifetime. My wonderful friends have come to my aid – packing boxes, keeping me calm and focused. Helping me with the things that are just not my strength. Manon, JoAnn and Gloria – you have gone above and beyond and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My friend, Seema, recently told me a Chinese proverb that she always reflects back on when feelings erupt. It is simple, yet profound. It can be the difference between good health and illness, life or death.

“Emotions were meant to be felt, not stored.”

And Ayurveda! Oh, how I am using your wisdom! People thought I was a little impulsive making my moving decision so quickly. I knew exactly what this was about.

Last Vata Season (fall/early winter) I distinctly remember thinking “DO NOT TRY TO MOVE DURING VATA SEASON!” My constitution is Vata-Pitta. Many years ago, before I knew anything about Ayurveda, I would say to my friend, Mary “There’s this dichotomy within me – I want to be organized, but I don’t have the tools!” Classic Vata-Pitta!

I knew that Pitta Season (now) was my best bet for moving. What little focus and organizational skills I have are most present in the summer, when my Pitta is high. So, even though this is difficult for me, it would have been a hundred times worse during Vata Season.

I offer my little story here as food for thought. Some of the methods that have helped me to come to this level of awareness are meditation, self-reflection/writing, Ayurveda, and even music and dancing. Nothing takes me out of a sad or frightened funk like putting on happy music and dancing. I am in the moment and I can feel the stress just melt away. Oh! And a bike ride! 🙂

What helps you feel your emotions and release them? Please share! And thank you, again for the love and support I feel from you as I take this journey across the river.

Much love,


  1. I am so proud of you, you intrepid Life Traveler! It was wonderful to spend time with you at Miraval last week, and to watch you moving forward despite your apprehension. You know the positive forces in you are stronger than any fear, and help is always available. What a role model you are for all of us — go Barbara, GO! Much love to you, my friend.

  2. Barbara, nobody will miss visiting your old apartment and neighborhood more than I will. I will never be able to walk by that corner without a flood of 15 years of memories washing over me. But think of this as a new beginning. When you are all settled in your new place, take a walk down to the river at night and you will be able to enjoy the beautiful New York skyline from the other side. I wish I could be there to help you with your move and offer some pitta organization!


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