Sunday, January 25, 2015

Elegua and Emotional Mindfulness

Last night I wanted to do something slightly out of the ordinary for my typical practice: pull a focus card for the week ahead. I wasn't in the mood for Tarot or Lenormand; I realized that it was Oracle time! I grabbed my Halloween Oracle, which I haven't used since early November, and settled down on the couch to shuffle.

I pulled Vampire: Emotional Intelligence.

Halloween Oracle - S. DeMarco

After some thought I realized that it's quite apt given what I've already experienced regarding my previous week or two! Some questions I pose to myself:

How well am I regulating my emotions and emotional responses?
In what ways can I create boundaries so that other people and situations don't drain me?
How can I foster a balanced give-and-take in my interactions with other people?

I've noticed that I've been more easily affected by my environment over the last few days, with stronger emotional reactions than tend to be normal for me (mostly teary, but occasionally irritable). In large part that's due to being sleepier than usual due to a busy, active past few weeks. Sleepier-than-usual = nerves more easily frayed. In these instances it becomes particularly important to take a step back and allow for a moment of reflection in order to gain perspective. Sometimes the little things that set us off really aren't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, and certainly aren't worth expending our valuable energy on being upset about.

One place I am sure I'll need to be mindful about my emotional responses is during one of the classes I'm teaching this month; I have a difficult student who's been trying my patience. I'm pretty laid back and have a great sense of humor, so it takes almost a miracle for me to lose my cool. This month many miracles have come to pass, I'll just put it that way. This will be my last week with this particular crew of college kids, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible, so I will focus on the joy I can find in each moment, and keep my emotional well-being in focus.

Just as I sat down to write this post I took a moment to finish reading an article by Jia Tolentino of an interview conducted with a fellow Lukumí practitioner, Caridad, that was quite well done. And in a moment of pristinely perfect synchronicity (even beyond what is evident from this post) this is what I read:

I appreciate Lucumi for all it has taught me about honoring life for all its contradictions and multiplicities. The idea of “both/and” transcending “either/or” is really present. It’s been very helpful for me, in anything from problems at work to breakups. Also, the idea of some orishas teaching backwards—that some lessons come unexpectedly and from a context that feels really tough. I’m a teacher, and I used to get these kids that were just wilin’ out, just so very crazy—and I learned to identify it as, “That's Eleggua's trickster energy.”

And that would bring a change in me—I’d go from being reactionary to being able to genuinely say “Thank you for showing up” to both Eleggua and the young folks themselves. This is where growing up within Buddhism really shaped my practice of Lucumi. I think it’s helped me be present and accepting with life as it is, at the same time that I try to be transformative when I need change.

Image by Andrea Corniel


  1. Often it is that pause, the taking a step back I tend to forget when I am irritated and tired. It is so easy when I feel fine but otherwise...:)
    Wishing you a wonderful last week with "all" your students :D

    1. Thanks, Ellen, it's been quite the eventful week with my students - this card was quite perfect!!!!!!But I'm hanging in there :)

  2. I love that quote about finding acceptance for difficult people/situations by recognizing what they can teach us. Sorry the week was tough, too little sleep really is a powerful thing!

    1. Thanks, Chloe, yeah, being over-tired never helps anything! It was quite the eventful week, to be sure, but onward and upward :)