There’s this place in Hawaiian spirituality called the na’au. I learned about it at Sri Shim’s celebration of life. When you rest your hand on your abdomen under your belly and you kind of suck in your muscles so there’s tension, you’re there, in the na’au, connecting with your gut instincts, your ancestors, and your people.
I like to go there.
When I wrote about the darkness, I talked about glow-in-the-dark friends, and how they reach out their hands in the darkness, from wherever they are. That’s the na’au for me. The glow-in-the-dark friends hang out in the na’au, and I can always access them.
I’ve been feeling very down.
It’s situational. Some long-term situations: the monotony of caring for an unexpected baby. And some short-term: the flu and the temporary absence of all my postpartum depression supports.
I get scared sharing about my depression, because people get worried you’re going to hurt yourself or others–which is kind of them and an important concern, but not all of us who are depressed are thinking of harming ourselves or others. And then other people say things like, “This too shall pass,” which is meant kindly, but is like a punch in the face.
But it’s still worth it to share because when I share I honor my truth and I also strengthen my connection to the people in the na’au. When I put the energy out there, that’s when they really reach out their hands.
It’s funny, because in my recent depression, I was thinking about a far-away friend of mine. I hadn’t shared about my depression yet, but he came across my mind and I knew he would be there for me in the na’au. And after I shared, I received this wonderful email from him:
As I sit here in the train heading into the city watching the sun’s salmon glow suffuse the eastern horizon, I’m thinking about you.
Thank you for sharing your depression with me. I’ll take it up today and feel it with you, hearing that slow low drumbeat (that’s how I visualize my own depression) in the background of my day.
And I’ll hold you in my warm heart today.
And it was like I’d already read it, because we’d been there in the na’au.
Let’s be there together.