To Be

Ready for a little Spanish lesson? It will be relevant, I promise!

I am currently teaching my Spanish students the difference between the two verbs that represent “to be” (ser and estar), and the different situations in which to use them.

This can be confusing, as in English we just have just one verb that means “to be” (conjugated as I am, you are, he/she is…)

An oversimplified rule for new Spanish speakers is to use “ser” when situations are permanent and “estar” when they are impermanent.

Two circumstances in which one always uses “estar” are when one expresses emotions and conditions. For example, “I am sad”, “I am nervous”, or “I am overwhelmed”.

I was describing this to students, when I realized just how insightful the Spanish language is.

When speaking English, we use the same verb to say “I am sad” as we say “I am Katie”.

In Spanish, you would say the statements differently: “Yo estoy triste” and “Yo soy Katie”.

Using the verb “estar” signifies that the emotion is NOT the same as the person.

I then thought about how Dr. Andrew Weil shared his thoughts regarding anti-depressants on a recent Joe Rogan podcast. He expressed concern about the marketing of anti-depressants, in which pharmaceutical companies advertise pills by suggesting it is not normal to feel sad; that there is something to be fixed, with a prescription, if you feel this way.

Well, feeling all the feels is a part of life! We are on this planet to have a human experience. This includes “being with” the entire spectrum of emotions. True, some don’t feel as lovely as others. But emotions are NOT permanent, nor should they automatically be “fixed” with pills/drugs/alcohol/food.

It is okay to feel sad, to feel anxious, to feel scared.

When you are in the midst of these feelings, acknowledge the emotion and remind yourself that you are having a human experience. Then you can contemplate that emotions and conditions are impermanent. This too shall pass!

I am currently feeling a bit busy and at times, overwhelmed. Note: I feel busy, I feel overwhelmed.

However, I know this will pass, probably in a few days as I find myself on a plane heading to Mexico. This current feeling will be a distant memory as I watch the sunrise on the beach. And this current emotion of overwhelm will make the freedom of Mexico all the richer.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, unmotivated…join me in recognizing the impermanence of the current moment. You can watch your language, saying “I feel overwhelmed” rather than “I am overwhelmed”.

One more tip: I have found that a fabulous, healthy cure for overwhelm is to come back to the present moment and focus on the task on hand, not what you have to get done next, or what you should have gotten done yesterday. Truly be in the moment, and you will feel that sense of overwhelm disappear. I’m not saying it won’t come back, but when it does, just return to the present.

I’m sending you so much love as you experience this holiday season and your beautiful human experience. I will see you again in 2019!