Saturday, February 12, 2011

What is this for?

Hey Buns,
Congrats on stepping into those risky exposed places in your relationship with The Robert…or in reality, with yourself. As scary as it can be I applaud your commitment to honesty. You too Robert. Can you hear me clapping? It’s a good sound.

I feel like I have been off the radar for a while now. Not hiding out so much as allowing myself an experience that invites all feelings without the need to change them. Not a problem when the feelings are happiness or joy. I can’t recall a time when I said to myself, I feel so flipping fantastic and full of life, wonder how long this will last. It is much harder to allow when the feelings that arise are grrr…and ouch…do you know what I mean?

I recognize my core nature as joyful and passionate. When I am feeling other, more uncomfortable feelings like helplessness or powerlessness it’s much more difficult to not try to get rid of them in order to return to the state I know and love. This is my challenge, to accept ALL feelings with an equal and welcoming reception. So I have been saying yes to grrr…and yes to ouch….and yes to NOT understanding things or trying to shift them.

The one question that keeps recurring throughout all of these growing pains (which is how I am viewing this period) is how long is long enough? And by the very nature of that question I insinuate that I want a shift and therefore perpetuate the experience. So while I know perfectly well how to change my state in terms of getting busy, getting passionate about a project, having a blast with friends, I am choosing to simply be with this particular state trusting that there is a reason for it, that information will arise in direct correlation to my openness, my surrender to not knowing, to being neutral about being uncomfortable and remaining curious about the whole dance. Yes, this too is a dance and one that my ego finds particularity grueling.

I am trusting that my state will shift and transform on its own if I receive myself here with compassion and grace. And I would not be honest if I did not say that every time I get a glimpse of the Me that I recognize as my Core, every time I feel that joyful essence bubbling up in me, I want to do a happy dance and launch into a refrain of She’s baaaack, like Jack Nicholson entering a room with maniacal glee in The Shining.

So how long is long enough? How long does one allow a feeling state that involves uncomfortable stretching and feelings? You know the answer…as long as it takes. Our egos do not like this. Certainly mine does not!
And as I veto the usual distractions knowing that whatever you avoid or try to get rid of returns with a vengeance, I know that the opening for me is in knowing that there is meaning in ALL experiences if you ask the right question…face the right direction.
By right I mean expansive. Asking ‘why’ questions, like ‘Why is this happening to me?’ is victim energy and it narrows your experience into cause and effect…into a little box. Asking ‘What is this for?’

broadens perception and invites you to find meaning even in pain, even in feelings you would rather not be feeling.

What is this feeling for? What is this experience for? Now of course to open to this question you would have to accept the possibility that there are no good feelings or bad feelings, there are simply feelings.
I will forever be indebted to my Buddhist teacher who I studied with many years ago. She responded to me with the same gentle, loving reception whether I brought her my passionate highs or despondent lows. I didn’t understand it, not at all! I actually judged her as unemotional at first since her demeanor did not change with the material I was presenting.
Then it dawned on me I WAS THE ONE JUDGING AND EVALUATING MY EXPERIENCE, not her. I had boxes for what was good and boxes for what was bad. I began to question where I had learned that one feeling is good and another is bad. I looked at my family system and the rules around different feelings. Which were acceptable, which were not….and I changed the lens on the glasses I was looking at my life through. I began to change my relationship to my feelings. I began to say to myself, who knows if this is good or this is bad?

Feelings simply are part of the human experience…all feelings. They offer information in a language that is not necessarily cognitive. Feeling language is like another channel, no less valuable than thought, simply different. Following feelings brings me to depths I cannot experience solely hearing my minds dictates. Following the threads of feelings into myself brings me to my Authentic Core. And yes that is a journey that I still want to control and sped up. And sometimes it just takes it own sweet time.

To hear and understand the language of the unconscious, of feelings, the approach is not complicated. It may be uncomfortable depending on the feeling yet the approach is always the same. YOU ALLOW. You get your interpretations and evaluations out of the way by centering yourself with breath. Breathing past the noise in one’s head and accepting what is in the PRESENT moment. You breathe into your body and own it, feel it without any need to get rid of or change it. That is surrender. That is acceptance. You accept yourself in the present feeling and it will transform.
No feeling will last forever. The avoidance of feeling however can perpetuate a state of depression…where you become hostage to the continual, vigilant and exhaustive act of numbing out or repressing a feeling. THAT takes all your energy and you end up feeling depressed. It is not natural to control feelings. It is an act learned in childhood, based on a fear of being judged unacceptable and it will zap all your energy. It IS natural to learn to contain feelings inside the body, to have freedom around what you express and share, yet open to feeling everything. That is radically different than controlling or eliminating feelings.

When we behave in a way that suggests our feelings are a problem, we are in essence saying we are a problem, there is something wrong with us and we must change. It’s not the feelings that are problematic, its ones relationship to feeling the feeling! It’s your evaluation of what it means about you.

So here I am, loving the choice to enjoy a latte while I write, a simple pleasure that I relish. I open to trusting that the answer to ‘ what is this for?’ will become clear when it becomes clear. I plan to share that with you soon….or sooner rather than later…or WAIT…WHENEVER…big breath…whenever it IS clear….

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