Miranda Chapman is one of Copper Beech Institute’s Master Teachers. She is leading a course on Working with Strong Emotions on Thursday 10/4/18 and a retreat on Building Resilience and Self-Care from 10/26/18-10/28/18.
A full transcript of her vlog reflection can be found below. It is edited slightly for clarity.
MIRANDA: In preparation for a course that I’ll be teaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what strong emotions means to me. The first thing that comes to mind is anger, and then I think about depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are dear friends of mine, friends that brought me into the practice of mindfulness and meditation, of friendship towards myself, of self-care, and I still remember my first taste of this practice. I was 19, going on 20, had just been home for Christmas while on break from university. I was in the midst of what I still consider one of the most debilitating depressions of my life, and my folks got me the course An Introduction to Yoga and Meditation. I still remember the first session -- my teacher, a recovering drug addict who’s now a social worker and raised goats, was teaching the introductory course to yoga and meditation.
I remember how audacious it felt to me to turn towards all the discomfort I was experiencing rather than turn away, which is what I’d been doing for 19 years. I guess I didn’t start as a baby, but I had at least started young to turn away from discomfort and my strong experience of sadness and loss of capacity.
Even in that audacity of turning towards my discomfort and the chronic pain I’d been living within my body since childhood, I did it. And I kept doing it. I kept turning towards those things that I habitually wanted to turn away from. And I’ve learned so much from that process of turning towards, rather than turning away.
When I asked my husband what he first thought of when he thought of strong emotions, he said “love.” Of course. We talked about how both of those beautiful pendulous swings exist in this continuum of strong emotions. There’s anger and there’s peace. There’s love and there’s hatred. There’s depression and there’s triumph.
Finding those spaces inside of myself where not only could those strong emotions exist and thrive even long enough for me to learn from them has become one of the most magnificent gifts of my life thus far. So every day I work with and towards that invitation that was given to me many moons ago: “what does it look like to turn towards the strength, sometimes the intensity of the human experience, rather than turning away from it?”