I’m choosing to celebrate ‘Blue Monday’, by releasing three things:
The colour blue from it’s stigma as a drain.
Monday, as the toilet that flushes us down.
January as a sewer like month to be endured.
Welcome to my box of emotional crayons, pilgrim. All colours are welcome here. And as an ‘emotional tax’ dodging crayon, I propose a revolution. How about we stop demonising our pal Blue and depression and all things that represent a kind of doom sold to us as fate.
I am celebrating Blue Monday by not believing the way I am told I and ‘the world’ will feel on this day. I’m not buying into it.
The emperor is naked. This crowd is deluded and I. Am. Outta here.
On this day, I will be celebrating not having ‘failed’ anything and specifically because I didn’t set myself up that way this time. I got a head start on this Gregorian new year by beginning my preparations for reentry in the Celtic new year of Samhain.
For 6 weeks, I facilitated my own personal retreat, during which I reflected on the year that’s been, inquiring into it, what needed to and came to be known.
What I learned.
What I served.
What served me.
And what didn’t.
So thanks for the heads up but I’m doing just fine over here with all my emotions. ALL - OF - THEM.
My biggest learnings in 2018 were about the nature of truth, kindness, anger and fear.
I’ve been using these words all my life, thinking I knew what I was referring to, only to find out I was mistaken and that the correct words for these behaviours were actually ‘ideology’, ‘enabling’ and ‘control’.
I learned to recognise and locate my truth and how to separate it from the stories I tell myself about it.
I learned how those stories do not serve but instead hurt me and by extension, hurt others. I learned the ways in which I have been hurt and hateful and how important a value, kindness is to me.
I learned to my unraveling, that the truth is kind and that kindness is not niceness, nor is it enabling.
Kindness is a holding, a structure, an embrace. Kindness is a boundary; a corset for our jelly souls.
‘Blue Monday’ aka ‘the most depressing day of the year’ much like ‘Black Friday’, is an obnoxious stunt, designed to trigger in you, an argument with your reality so that they may sell you a ‘better’ reality. Because holidays and Play Stations are reality, right?
It’s just more bait to distract you from knowing your truth, to make you an exile to kindness, stuck in a shitty story about the ‘confines’ of your life.
Making ‘Blue’ a thing to be banished, is harmful and it is violent.
The way I protect my energy now is, to paraphrase the beloved Joni Mitchell, ‘if you don’t Crown and anchor me, you can sail away’.
How about we stop trying to ‘beat’ our feelings? Why is that even appropriate language? Imagine if it wasn’t colours or feelings we were talking about but more concrete, living things like donkeys or fish.
‘Hey, let’s beat all the dogs who aren’t in this moment, wagging their tails’
Said no marketing campaign, ever.
Do you love and accept your pet when he’s fearful? Are you tender with him? Then you know how to be loving and accepting and tender. Your body is an animal too and you owe it, the same attendance and regard.
Emotions are energy, just like we are energy and water is energy and it’s time we stopped pathologizing and trying to fix our emotional selves. You can not make energy ‘go away’, well that’s not true you can deplete energy, which is a form of abuse though, right?
Placing value judgements on our feelings is morality gone mad. Feeling shit about feeling shit, is just another form of energy tax. Let’s stop with the paying of emotional tax for feeling how we feel.
I want to share with you practice I’ve learned in my 4 Voices Coach training this past year. I’ve adapted it into a morning routine I call ‘Awareness and Grace’.
It is where I check in with my 4 centres of intelligence, every morning. I listen, receive their feedback and then write myself permission to feel how I feel and need what I need and end it by identifying one intentional action I will take, to honour that feedback.
The whole process can take as little as five minutes and as long as you like but remember this is a daily practice so I would set a - reasonable to the demands of your day - time limit on it. Do not use this as another stick with which to beat yourself, please and thanks.
Don’t overthink this. The purpose is to develop cognitive, emotional and physical need awareness (truth) and to cultivate compassion, mercy and Grace (kindness). Again, do not use this as a stick with which to beat yourself.
Get yourself a specific journal for this daily check in. Maybe pick a colour that represents kindness, truth, healing or whatever intention you have for this year, if you’ve set one. Last time, no stick.
I like mine to be compact for this practice, I particularly like the Moleskine or Noso journals for this practice. Pair it with a pen you like to write with and find a dedicated space in your home for this practice.
Pick one very specific time point in your day (first thing in the morning or last thing at night) to check in. Setting a timer can help this time feel structured and achievable.
Do not do this exercise 'in your head' or while you're tending to something else.
Physically sit your body down with pen and your notebook and ask these questions.
Answer them in one sentence each using neutral, non judgemental language.
This does not have to be profound.
Nothing is good. Nothing is bad. It's all just information.
Write these questions in the first page of your notebook now so you're never sitting there wondering 'What are the questions again?'
1) What am I thinking? (Judgements, worries, thoughts, criticisms)
Note: Keep it simple and honest here: if you're thinking 'this is stupid' or 'I need a new toothbrush' or 'I'm worrying about money', write that down and move on.
2) What am I feeling?(Specific emotions that come up)
Download and print out this emotional vocab list. This answer will be just the words from the list that apply. No explanations or stories, just write down the emotion names: 'Sad', 'Resentful', 'Disappointed', 'Content'.
3) What is going on in and for my body? (Physical sensations, temperature, tension, instincts)
This may be difficult especially if you’ve had an acrimonious relationship with your body but be patient and curious. You don’t have to nail this off the bat. It will come in time. You can approach this through cultivating your awareness to be one not OF the body, but AS the body.
4) In this moment, what do I need? (Download and print out this needs inventory list).
Identify the need and then write it down.
5) In your journal or on a slip of paper so that you can carry it with you for the day or plant it in your spaces somewhere, write yourself a note of permission to honour this truth about what you’re thinking, feeling and needing, without having to ‘change’.
6) Close the session by identifying one small and intentional action you can take today, or this week to honour this feedback. Write it down using specific language and commit yourself to following through.
If you want to REALLY celebrate Blue Monday, I recommend watching Hannah Gadsby’s Comedy Special ‘Nanette’ on Netflix. She will inspire you to honour your truth, like no other.
And have a beautiful Blue Monday.
Always, Amanda xx
Let us know how this practice goes by commenting here or in our FB community Pilgrims on Deck. I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter where I share weekly inspiration, news and more exclusive content.
I'm thinking about facilitating a 28 day practice around this process, in Early February. I don't know the details yet, but it would be a pilot online coaching programme, centred around learning how to use the four voices process, as a daily routine. Priority access will be given to those who register interest here.
I will also be incorporating the four voices model as a way of specifically tapping into the creative process as a deeper opening of the portals of self inquiry in my upcoming retreat ‘Croí. The Art of Receiving’ in Mulranny Mayo, in April. See here for details. Deposit will secure your space and payment plans are available.