Thank you, moon, for helping me experience catharsis
Talking to the moon-
Tears running down my eyes.
On the side of my grandma’s balcony.
A spring breeze strokes my hair.
At the home where my first woe started.
My first smile and my first cry.
A conversation with the moon cured me- of my inner demons.
Emotions crept up on me- blindsiding me from a fun night. A caring stroke revived me.
A truth serum lurks behind the moonlight.
That looks so close and friendly.
La Luna tricks you into thinking you can touch her.
Sitting on the moon’s lap, in a fetal position, like a child again.
How I found catharsis (Not a how-to).
On a cold, grey, night less than one light-year away from my trauma.
I sit on my balcony letting the wind remind me of what once was. Tick, tick.
The moonlight has a way of trying to put you to sleep while seducing you to stay awake.
Sitting may be one of the most underrated feelings. Just sitting. Safe. Alone.
A lot can surface when you are doing nothing. Lost in the safety of your brain. Your false reality and perception.
Ideas start peaking in. Popping up. Pushed aside by our memories.
Then, our emotions. Our dreams.
All vying for a spot of our attention. Looking for a spot on our page.
You didn’t ask. But catharsis is :
1. The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions.Oxford Languages
2. Purification or purgation of emotions (like pity and fear) primarily through art.Merriam-Webster
What does catharsis mean for people who can’t sing, dance, or draw?
Habitually, catharsis is expressed via art. To people like me, without artistic talent, it is just a boring, long-awaited time to finally release your emotions.
A big reveal, minus the art gallery and accolades.
Don’t worry, be happy. Bob Marley got it right so many years ago.
We just didn’t listen.
When stuck in our emotions, a release certainly helps. But it is not a long-term solution.
Hey, it feels good at the time, which is more than most can ask for.
On a cold, grey, day- releasing your emotions through art just works. Well, I cannot draw. So, I would not know.
Still, it can be through something else like singing, writing, listening to songs. Although, I still wish I could draw or sing.
Your need for relief can come from many things. From a breakup, getting over feelings from narcissists, and trauma.
The goal is to heal– but catharsis is like taking a puff from a joint, it brings relief- but only at the time.
Afterwards, unresolved issues remain. Spotlighting, what we need to work on.
What does catharsis mean today?
Like most philosophical ideas, it has something to do with Aristotle.
Previously, catharsis was a metaphor for the purification of emotions including pity and fear, after experiencing a tragedy.
Put simply, it is a way to learn from our emotions. Heal.
The way to resolve trauma is through experiencing pity and fear. Kind of.
Today, catharsis is typically viewed as the process of relieving stress through expressing emotions. That helps people manage and promote mental health.
Behaviors and tasks that can help promote mental health
For us simple folks, who are not philosophers catharsis is a tool that can help us feel better.
Any task that brings us stress relief and mindfulness can help. Here are some tasks besides drawing that were studied:
- Taekwondo, a self-defense sport, seemed to help with catharsis and increased mental health. Not surprising. Kicking. Helps. Relieve. Stress.
- Emotional catharsis by writing. A case study on 30 cancer patients, showed that writing or journaling helped patients experience emotional catharsis. More importantly, journaling was an effective and cheap way to deal with depression.
Is catharsis enough?
You bare your whole soul, even share some secrets with strangers and family.
That’s enough right? What more can the universe want?
Unfortunately, no. A mental health journey does not stop here.
This is just the beginning of discovering what we need to focus on to heal.
I have to disagree with Aristotle (in this context), a tiny bit, although he is much smarter than me.
I do not think a resolution is achieved after experiencing trauma and purging emotions.
Getting in touch with the gritty and ugly- helps us face our sordid reality. However, healing takes much more.
We need to rethink the way we speak to ourselves. How our issues made us feel. Try to re-wire our false assumptions of self-blame.
And so much more, I cannot fit in a short blog.
Before you go, pick an activity you love, and do it 😊
Instead, just know you already reached a big milestone. *Claps intensely*.
Instead, what can you do? Simply, pick an activity that releases your stress and do it often.
Whatever your source of light is go from there.
I do not think we need to experience a tragedy to try to stimulate catharsis.
It can be by getting over a breakup. Dealing with failure. Depression. Anxiety. Work stress. Burnout.
Whatever is causing you to stay up at night.
Find an activity that stimulates your attention. Then, write down your emotions.
Or record them for yourself, if you don’t like writing.
Whatever works for you.
Simply, keep track of your emotions. I hope you find your safe zone.
Right this second, you are safe, loved, and healing. Check you out, you are on the right track.
So, will you sing, dance, write, or practice Taekwondo?