I have been in sorrow’s kitchen and licked all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hand.
Zora Neale Hurston
Most people are surprised when I talk about being with feelings as a spiritual practice. How can our feelings, which so often seduce us into heart-wrenching dramas, be a way to connect with the sacred?
To allow the natural flow of feelings does not mean that we become lost in a never-ending roller coaster of emotional drama. Drama takes over when we experience strong feelings without connection to presence and awareness. When we have no container for our feelings, they are accompanied by a compulsive urge to react. Repressing and/or acting out our feelings often progresses in this way:
1)You have the feeling. (I feel so powerless.)
2) You energetically shut down and resist the feeling. (I really deserve some chocolate. Oh, look, here is some ice cream too. I am going to do the best job of anybody in the office this month. I am going to be the best. I am good. Oh, my head, I need an aspirin. I take five.)
3) Out of the contraction comes an automatic impulse of frenetic mental movement. (I wonder why my boss gave Anna that new assignment and not me? She likes her better than me. It’s always like that. No one ever sees me, no one ever did. My mother was the same. I work so hard, and no one really appreciates it. I don’t care, I can get another job, and then they will regret how they are treating me. Then they will realize how good I really am. That I am the best.)
4) Out of a lack of inner acceptance, we project on the outside what needs to be changed. (If only I had another boss. She really needs some therapy to look at her issues. She is making me feel so bad. And Anna gets all the attention at every meeting. She should give other people some space sometimes.)
5) And off we go. (Have you heard the latest news? Anna was super late with the assignment. I have nothing against Anna, but I must say that one can’t really trust her. And her hair looks . . . well, do I have to say more? Oh, God, look how that idiot is driving. Hey, you. Yes, you! Can you get out of my way?)
Lost in the destructive chain reaction of resisted feelings, our attention is turned away from the essence of the feeling itself, we become alienated from our bodies, and we are disconnected from presence and love.
Don’t we all, in one way or another, long to live in love? To connect deeply with each moment, to connect deeply with our children, our friends and our lover? And again and again we find ourselves being occupied by one emotional state after another.
We close down when a feeling arises, or we become lost in those feelings. We become rigidly occupied with the story attached to the feeling, and we enforce separation. I would even go so far as to say that emotional drama is the main root of suffering and distraction for the feminine, and this is why it brings such freedom and expansiveness to us when we learn how to be with feelings in a natural and conscious way. Then we can stay open and connected to loving presence in the midst of any emotional state.
How is your relationship with feelings?
To Our Feelings,
ps. This text is from my book ~ Embodying The Feminine.