What is wrong with having feelings (sensations and emotions)? When did we start telling ourselves that we are heavy, messy, fantastic, fickle, childish, tense, fearful and radical rather than discerning that we are feeling these ways. Do we accompany our feelings with stories that our experience is unacceptable? Or that we are unacceptable? Can we simply feel without making a momentary event permanent and solid? Deeper still, can we simply drop the thoughts and stories and simply be?
We may have taught ourselves to suppress an intimate relationship to our body-mind, because in our upbringing feelings were ignored, shamed, or perceived as unimportant. In order to survive an early trauma we may have shut down these feelings, in essence shutting down our very aliveness. Feelings remind us that we are human and alive. They are, if nothing else, an, internal barometer. We may have lost integration to parts of ourselves as a necessity to survive. Where do these blocked feelings go? How hard is our body working to store this “unwanted” energy? How is it manifesting in our lives? Do we suffer painful menstrual cycles, digestive issues, headaches, addictive behaviors, anxiety or depression?
In my own struggles I fall prey to the trap that there is something wrong with me because my felt experience of choice (playful, accepting, and relaxed) is not always what I am experiencing. Or if I cannot stay fixed in the “goodness” or always reveling in the “rightness,” then I somehow believe I am failing. I know I am in resistance of my feelings when my shame creeps in as I battle with my tears and fears. I often feel this in my gut as I labor to digest my feelings. The times when I am falling apart I zealously try to put myself back together. However, it is in the surrender that the waves of overwhelm subside and I can return to my home within. Actively on a path of wakefulness I am sweetly humbled and reminded over and over again that we are all journeying with life’s trials and tribulations.
Recently, I had an experience of wild discomfort. I had been feeling strong in body and in the practice of meeting my mind states, yet, I was literally brought to the ground without more than a moment’s notice as my core could not support me. There was weakness, and there was tension. In this spirit of feeling into my experience there was a surrender. I found a refreshing quality to have a tangible pain to focus upon and soften into. There were tears with permission. I was able to connect with the gift of the moment, and the precious chance to exist without overwhelming mental reactions to something incredibly uncomfortable, despite temporary immobility. I had a glimpse into a time where they may have been judgment, arrogance, or abandonment towards my own self. I was supported to recognize that I could feel the spectrum of what I was feeling and all would be more than okay. I can now recognize I felt a sense of pride for riding this wave quite well.
However, shortly after my physical pain, came an emotional one. This time, I lost all awareness of surfing lessons. I found myself in a place of distress at feeling big disappointments. I was visiting the dark cave of despairing and judging my feelings making them all that much more powerful. I became attached to the trigger of discontent and got myself uncomfortably stuck for a time. Coming down the other side of this recent upheaval I am grateful to be reminded that I can utilize my tools (herbs, meditation, pranayama, movement practices and lots of fluid and rest), soften into the reflections of loved ones that I am not the disappointment, rather the one experiencing the passing wave of disappointment. I am able to see that my practices are still just that.
As unique beings there will be some who are sensitive to tiny sensations, emotions and some who pass through life only noticing sensations when they are loud and close. In taking personal responsibility for our emotional well being, we can choose to look at how we interact with the world, where we feel we need to protect ourselves and what we perceive as threats. We can learn how we flow with the nature of our feeling body.
With a practice of meeting myself, I am learning to see and hear what is actually occurring in the present moment instead of what I think should be, or what was in the past, or is potential for one day. In that present time and space, there is more of an opening to feel what I am feeling, not what I think I am supposed to be feeling. With this intimacy, I am learning the ways in which I am still waiting for the outside world to give me the green light. While there is great healing in reflections and mirrors I am discovering my work is in the internal recognition of my feelings and then being all right with what I find.
Opening myself up to this sensitive realm frees me up from the incessant need to fill in the raw energetic spaces with stories, or often addictive patterns to “make sense” of things. This freedom shows me where I project onto others what I cannot integrate within myself. I am more conscious of how I compare, resist, and abandon. In learning my emotional body I am gaining access to where I need more self-love, forgiveness, and self-compassion. There is a discipline to settling into the simplicity of feeling my feelings with the remembrance of their impermanent nature, and their inherent okayness. I am training in no longer dismissing what feels difficult, minimizing what hurts, or shrinking what is wild and fantastic. I am learning to drop the stories with a motivation to keep on learning and practicing. Nothing is perfected.
There is a friendliness in this kind of waking up. With a sensitivity for and with myself there is room to hold kindness for others. There is also an acceptance for more of life and all that I feel, and a gift that sometimes we can say YES at anytime on our path and support our own revitalization when we are ready to feel a shift with what we are feeling.
I can choose to be ready. I can choose YES for my own well being. And I can recognize that I will have to continue making this choice. My recent lessons have shown me that even in the practice of this work, I will have to discipline myself to stay on a path of simply feeling feelings. With love.