what is your relationship to sadness? anger? anxiety? fear?
joy? excitement? pleasure? love?
how about despair? depression...?
when i was 19 i started therapy because i was struggling to function day to day. i had been experiencing constant back pain for the previous two years and the announcement of my parent's divorce hit me hard. i found myself sitting in a cloud of depression.
i had this experience of wanting to escape my skin. the story i made up was that i had to somehow remove my suffering: (the contraction…) while at the same time, i was having a whole lot of fun in life too, exploring my freedom and partying like a wild woman: (the expansion…)
claudia, my therapist, had this theory that my spectrum of emotions was 'too wide'. i remember her stretching her arms out and saying "you feel everything this much. you feel all the highs which are fun but you also feel all the lows more acutely because of that. my job is to make the range of emotion smaller so that you can handle life"
which seemed like a kinda-ish good idea at the time.
but this is what i know now…
when i limit my own experience and don't give permission for myself to feel all ends of the spectrum, the contraction and the expansion, then what i am limiting gets stuck uncomfortably somewhere in my body and stays in there.
is this really protecting or serving me, to put a limit on what i'm feeling?
then one of my dearest teachers, ananta, taught me a practice 10 years ago which changed everything.
she taught me to go as far as i can into an emotion, right down there into the centre of it all. to let whatever it is come and be fully felt, allowing the pulse to express itself fully. emotion is energy in motion and i can experience it all, the texture and flavour, the taste of it.
if i can let go of the impulse to somehow protect myself from it, then it can contract as much as it wants to, because i trust and know that it will reach a point where it can't go anywhere else and it will pop! ~ or release ~ or transmute ~ whatever it needs to do. my willingness to feel it, to become fascinated with the sensations instead of in rejection of them, transformes the blockage into treasure, into me feeling myself fully, all of my my own energy and therefore all of my potential.
some questions i ask myself when i'm in this place:
can i fully be with this feeling?
can I feel everything and realise i'm still okay?
what remains untouched by my thoughts and feelings?
can i feel the space that is around this feeling? can i trust it? can i rest there?
i only experience true freedom when i stop attempting to manipulate my experience by wanting to experience this instead of that, when i stop seeking out one feeling over another feeling.
i have to accept and even welcome everything in my experience to allow it to flow. when it flows, it can do what it wants or needs to do, and that's always more right than anything i might try to do with it. so i'll take the fullest expression of my spectrum of emotions thank you very much! every single one. i don't want to narrow it down, i'll take it all.
when i fall in love with my reality as it is, it turns out that i'm never isolated in my experience, i am part of the whole. intimacy with: myself allows me to be intimate with: you and intimate with: life
when i feel sadness, i can connect to all the other beings past, present and future that have felt sadness. in truth, we all feel the same things. whatever i'm feeling, you have felt or will feel too. feeling everything fully connects us to the whole.
we will go deeper into these feelings and dissolving practices in my mini course 10 days of connection which begins next tuesday 16th. it's free and each day i will offer simple mindfulness tools to integrate into your precious every day reality.
please sign up here and join us in a revolution of intimacy and wholeness.