I’ve recently been feeling a lot of feelings … I mean … A LOT of feelings. They have been coming up in waves … some gently rolling in off the giant sea of emotion that lives within and without me, and some rising up [while I’m looking elsewhere] and pounding me under the surface with great force. And, like the seas that populate our lovely Earth, these emotional seas do have a rhythm and a cyclical pattern to them. But they can also throw some unpredictable storms my way if the cultural weather gets a bit wonky.
I have actually been calling forth these emotional experiences over the past several years. I was conditioned at a very young age to hide my emotions and to always be agreeable, so, being the good student I always was (and wanting desperately to be loved), I taught myself how to be emotionless.
For those of you who don’t understand what that could be like, I don’t recommend dwelling on it for very long. It’s not pleasant. It leads to a kind of half life. I imagine it’s much like the experience of a zombie—wandering about aimlessly with nothing really filling all that emptiness inside.
I’ve consciously been doing Shadowcraft to excavate those parts of myself that experience and express emotions. It has been a surprisingly long and arduous process—and it’s still a work in progress—but it is so very worth every effort, every awkward moment, and every heartbreaking realization about myself and my history.
I’m now experiencing the newly released and tentative—but powerful—awkward flow of emotions that have long remained blocked up and locked up due to this very conditioned idea that we must have a [culturally acceptable] reason for experiencing emotions, and that it is somehow unnatural, or a failing, to share when we are having moments of struggle.
Now that I am actively exploring the emotional fruits of my labors, I am in my own uncharted territories. And when I am experiencing things that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable for me, I process them by sharing about them.
I’ve been sharing about my recent emotional experiences both on social media and in discourse with friends and colleagues. And I have to say, the responses I’ve been getting have been both a little shocking, and have provided some very helpful insights into why so many of us are so emotionally illiterate.
These responses have run the gamut from blaming hormonal dysfunction to suggesting that I seek professional help for my 'illness' to well-intentioned pep talks telling me how to rise above these base emotions and not let them get me down.
I know that everyone offering a response is trying to be helpful and supportive in their way. And I honor that, and am grateful for it. However, it highlighted for me the collective prejudices we have about emotions and their roles in our lives. (Prejudices from which I am not immune, either.) And those prejudices are wholly unresourceful and regressive, IMO.
To buy into the claim that feeling, expressing and sharing out emotions—all emotions, but, most especially, the uncomfortable ones—are simply the result of hormonal imbalances or weaknesses in our brain chemistry or failures in any way, is simply fodder for further personal and cultural misalignment.
Let me see if I can state this a little more clearly …
I believe that Nature is the blueprint for healthy aligned living. I believe that is true for any species, including human beings. When things go awry, I always look to the Natural Order to see where I can get back on track.
Experiencing a full range of emotions during a lifetime is a Natural process. Our emotions are signals. They let us know where we are in alignment and where we are fractured in our lives. When we feel happy, peaceful, fulfilled, we are being informed that we’re doing okay. When we feel sadness, anger, resentment, and other less-than-comfortable feelings, we are being alerted to the fact that something(s) we’re doing isn’t working, and it’s time to focus our awareness and course correct. These “negative” feelings aren’t here to punish us, but, rather to help us!
How we respond to these feelings will determine the ease, or lack thereof, that follows.
If we simply swat these signals away and hide them in the Shadowy realms in an effort to pretend they don’t exist, we are likely to find more of them on our doorsteps. When ignored, our Internal Guidance System will continue to send us signals, and over time they will grow in intensity in the hopes of finally getting us to recognize our personal agency to change the things that are bringing us misalignment.
So, you see, I do not want to stop this emotional turbulence that I’m currently experiencing. I am, ultimately, grateful for it. It might not feel good in the moment, but I know it is preparing me to make some positive changes for myself that will bring more flow and ease into my life. These feelings are my teachers. And, once again, being the good student I’ve always strived to be, I will do my very best to learn the lessons they are teaching me and to apply the principles in the best ways I can. Life is all about learning, experiencing and experimenting, after all.
In a beautiful twist of serendipity, I received another response to my emotional sharing as I was writing this post. This response simply stated: “I hope your emotions become your best allies and informants.”
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Let’s change the language and the perspective we have around emotional experience and expression, blissmakers! Let’s refuse and release the old patriarchal paradigm that experiencing a full spectrum of emotions and sitting in them as fully as possible for as long as necessary makes us sick or weak or failures in some way. Let’s embrace these emotional guideposts as the beautiful mentors they are, reminding us that we are the sovereign creators and curators of our lives.
I hope that you are blessed with the ability and self-permission to feel all the feels. I hope that, if at any time in your life, you were punished for expressing your emotions or sharing your emotional experiences, that you will recognize that had nothing to do with you as a bright, beautiful, lovable human being. It was simply a reflection of the cultural rejection of our Natural wisdom.
I invite you all to dive into your emotional waters and explore them with an open and trusting curiosity. Let's hit the RESET key, and try it again ... once more with FEELING!
Post-Script: If you feel you need help accessing and exploring your emotional landscape, by all means get out there and get it! There is nothing wrong with getting help when you need it. I would just encourage you to remember that you are not in any way sick or dysfunctional for having feelings. Seeking help is different than seeking treatment. No one else can choose your response to your emotional signals more effectively than you can. Only you have the power to create true and lasting change. And you are powerful, my dear one, more powerful than you can imagine. xoxo