Anxious Types & Making Mistakes

Check out Let’s Make Art tutorials on YouTube!

Creating these mini cards has been quite therapeutic over these last several weeks. In fact, creative practice in general has been a balm throughout 2020. I find my mind can go to a pretty dark place with all the turmoil going on in the world.

Unfortunately, left unchecked, that darkness has spilled out onto the keyboard or out of my mouth … usually in the form of judgment or snarkiness (hello, Pitta dosha imbalance 😉 ). I find myself apologizing a lot lately, either to myself or others. Thankfully, if I’m mindful, I can channel that darkness into creativity, humor & finding ways to be useful.

There’s a bit of an “anxious type” in my nature & family history — as Graham Panther, co-creator of The Big Feels Club, calls himself & describes those of us who “have a knack for catastrophic thinking.” Whether you love an anxious type, or have anxious tendencies yourself, Graham’s personal experience & empathy will warm your heart & induce a few chuckles as well. I listened to his July interview on the All in the Mind podcast (check it out here) — his thoughts allowed me to laugh at myself & also find some comfort in the midst of uncontrollable situations we continue to find ourselves in.

Ya’ll know me pretty well by now, & that I’ll provide my point of view if asked 😉 … & my views are pretty well-laid out in social media. I TRY to maintain consistency in my criticism of systems (& powerful people who uphold those systems) which oppress the disenfranchised, the marginalized & the historically oppressed. I TRY to maintain my upliftment of people & programs that bring awareness to & offer pathways to a more compassionate, loving, collaborative, joyful, socially just & beautiful world.

And I make mistakes.

I realize I don’t see the whole picture, & have much more to learn. My teacher, Luvena Rangel, in our Navratri Sadhana practice last week, reminded us of a story of 6 sadhakas (students) without sight who were given the task of describing an elephant. One grasped the ear & said, “Oh, an elephant is round, flappy & rough. That is what is an elephant.” Another grasped the tail & said, “No No! An elephant is long & thin with a wispy mass of hair at the end.” A third held one of the elephant’s legs & said, “You’re both wrong! An elephant is round & stocky like a tree trunk.”

And of course we know they were all CORRECT … & yet did not see the entire elephant.

An elephant DOES have a flappy, round ear. And yet an elephant is more than an ear. An elephant is ALL of these things …

Luvena asked, “So why would we think that WE can see the full picture of life, what is Truth? When we have these 5 senses alone to take in information, & each of us uses these 5 senses differently, from our own context, history, perspective? Even in Yoga there are MANY philosophies of what is Yoga …” [paraphrased]

Maybe you have heard this story before … it continues to remind me to be HUMBLE, to continue to LEARN … that everyone & every creature, every blade of grass … has something to teach me about Truth.

You & I may have similar or different views on the current pandemic, on the current U.S. election, on the pathways toward a more just & compassionate world. Yet I imagine, if you’re practicing Yoga — we are in solidarity that we DO want a more just & compassionate world for ourselves, our elders & youth, for the natural world & creatures, for our communities. For this is one of the (many) goals of Yoga!

So as I (& maybe you) work with the current anxieties within, may we 1) acknowledge our darker feelings & thoughts — simply recognize them & that it’s our bodies/spirits trying to keep us & our loved ones safe, & 2) find ways to channel these valid feelings / thoughts into creating something useful, beautiful and/or more loving for ourselves & those around us.

Our efforts will result in a more complete picture of “the elephant” – the more loving, peaceful, joyful & just world we all seek.

I’d love to hear how this post resonated with you. Feel free to message me here or at

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (Om Peace Peace Peace)

Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: