“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
Last week we started talking about emotions. Why? Because they’re part of the human experience. Many of us find emotions overwhelming and don’t know how to be with them. If you’d like to review, please go here.
Why We Fear Emotions
What makes our emotions so challenging? Why are we motivated to avoid them at all costs? Here are some possibilities:
- You’re scared to meet what you’ve been avoiding for so long.
- You’re not confident in your ability be with your feelings.
- You’re afraid you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t know what to do.
- If you turn toward the pain, you’re afraid you’ll cry forever.
- You’re afraid of being uncomfortable.
Or maybe you believe you’re justified in holding onto your feelings because you’ve been wronged by someone or you’re waiting for an apology that you think will make everything right.
Do any of these resonate with you?
There’s something that each of these reasons has in common. If you continue to avoid your emotions, you’re bound to stay stuck.
- If you don’t turn toward the anxiety you feel, you’ll spin in worry forever.
- If you don’t meet your sadness with loving acceptance, it will always be tugging at you and keeping you from being truly happy.
- And letting anger run wild? Well, we know how that affects us and those we love.
Even though it sounds paradoxical, turning to meet our emotions sets us free from them. We stop spinning in the story fueled by the emotion and instead go right to the core of what we’re experiencing when we’re feeling something.
And what do we find?
Some energy in the body…some physical sensations. Maybe memories surface or tears come. And this array of experiences appears in the open space of being aware. They’re not personal—they just arise, stay a while, then pass on.
Even though it might feel painful to turn toward emotions rather than avoid them, we’re being authentic with what’s here in the moment and we’re paving the way toward discovering our essential wholeness.
Avoidance of our feelings leaves us divided from ourselves and life. Embracing them fully brings us to the altar of endless peace.
Every time I invite clients to stop the forward movement of the story and check into their bodies, they always take a deep breath and sigh it out. One person just told me she immediately feels lighter.
We all feel relief when we stop acting out on the inner tension by jabbering nonstop—and just stop and feel what’s here.
This is what grounds us in the here-and-now. It’s what slows us down and winds us back into ourselves. It’s what brings us to the doorway of the fall into presence.
Gracefully Being with Emotions
How do we meet emotions? It’s really not that complicated.
First, notice if fear or resistance are present. Acknowledge those experiences and honor them. Even if you’re afraid, take a baby step in toward yourself and feel what’s happening in your body.
That’s it. You stop feeding the mind and open your attention into the fullness of what you’re experiencing. It’s like being the sky and loving every single cloud that floats by no matter what it is. You’re a friendly host, a mother or father gathering in your long lost children.
Opening fully to things as they already are is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.
In the last post, we talked about taking a slow, conscious breath as a way into presence. Take that breath, then open into awareness and notice everything—every sensation hiding out in the shadows of your body, every bit of trapped energy that’s waiting for liberation.
Just breathe and allow…
I had trouble focusing the day I wrote this, and later on I noticed that my mind was foggy. I felt frustrated that I wasn’t crossing off items on my to-do list. Then I took that breath and stopped.
Oh, no wonder I was foggy! Turning inward, it felt like there had been a silent symphony playing that suddenly had the space to be heard. I didn’t even realize it, but I felt stressed, a little sad, and out of sorts. There was a sweet tenderness I had missed by trying to stay on task.
But turning inward to feel changed everything. Immediately, the frustration disappeared, and I was home again—connected, here, and utterly peaceful.
Why not try it? Right now…take a slow breath…expand your attention beyond your physical form…notice what’s arising in your body…being one with the unfolding of life…
What About You?
What is your experience of welcoming emotions. Any fears? Please feel free to comment, report, or ask questions. And if you’re reading by email, please click here to comment.
I’m excited to let you know that I’ve been invited to have an online conversation on Sunday, August 12 with Grace Bubeck about my new book, Suffering Is Optional. There will be plenty of time for live Q&A. I would love to see you there! Please click here for the info.