baby on a blanket with the grumpiesEver been in a funk on the path of personal and spiritual growth? Those times when you feel discouraged, irritable, or angry, and can’t seem to shift out of it? “I’m not in the mood to be patient,” we might say, “I have to get to my appointment!” We snap at our kids for leaving their socks all over the house, or blow up when someone interrupts our precious yoga practice. We try to go outside for solace beneath a tree, but we can’t seem to shake it.

I call that the spiritual grumpies – when we’re not in the mood to behave in an “enlightened” way, and just feel stuck.  They’re a sure sign that we haven’t had enough fun lately.

The Antidote

The antidote to your spiritual grumpies is playfulness.

To start, recognize that those “unspiritual” emotions, such as anger or impatience, are normal and welcome on the spiritual path. The key is finding ways to play with those emotions – a healthy form of expression – rather than taking them out on others (or yourself).

Playfulness allows us to get out the grumpies.  Children love to have permission to feel their feelings.  They’re delighted to make happy faces and sad faces.  When their feelings are hurt or they become angry, kids love to shred some newspaper or smash clay with their hands to express their emotions.  When they have healthy outlets to play with their feelings, their mood shifts and they’re back to the present moment – right where we endeavor to be.

To move through those spiritual grumpies, break out your inner child and find a playful solution:

  • Smash some playdough or clay – the tactile experience of clay is so satisfying! You can break through stuckness or express anger while having fun pounding on the dough.
  • Scribble and Doodle – you’d be surprised how much energy can move with a few minutes of scribbling on some paper. Don’t try to make a work of art. Allow your energy and emotions to have free, uninhibited reign on the page.  Play with colors, movements, and shapes, allowing yourself to express fully. Be messy and have fun!
  • Scream and shout! – Step into a closet and let your voice sound! You can even make animal noises. Growl, roar, say profanities, whatever helps your release the energy. No one else is there and you’re free to express yourself. Scream into a pillow if a more private space isn’t available.
  • Stomp and dance – allow your inner toddler to have a tantrum (in a safer, more contained way)! Stomp all over the living room floor.  Do an angry dance.  Let those grumpies express through moving your body.

Check in with yourself after you’re done. What do you notice after giving yourself permission to play? If emotions come up, give yourself some time to feel and honor them.

Energy moves and is freed up when you allow yourself time to play.  It relieves tension, opens your heart, and returns you to the present moment.  Now, you can go back to the meditation cushion or create a beautiful ritual with renewed vitality and inspiration.

What helps you overcome the spiritual grumpies? Share it here!


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