I feel intensely. And then I don’t. Like in an instant the most intense feelings are completely inaccessible. It’s a habit born of necessity that no longer serves me. My instinct is to push away and not allow the scariest, most shameful feelings. I tell them to go. I don’t give them space, but they need a place to land and rest for a while and just be what they are...exactly as they are.
Like most of us, I've gone down road after road looking for a solution. Even when I thought I wasn't looking for a solution it turns out I was, albeit, in a very slight and more "spiritual" way. Looking back I can see that almost every move I've made in life has been about any other moment than now. It's been about either extending something that I find positive right here and now into future moments or changing what is uncomfortable in the moment into something more tolerable and acceptable. If I'm honest with myself I can even see that what I'm really seeking is some future moment when I will finally KNOW that everything is okay and have it stick around forever. It's a very natural and human thing to seek safety and security, but the notion that we have to disallow our very humanity in order to have it is misguided. Like it or not, we are operating here, on earth, as humans. That comes with contradictions and messiness and uncertainty. I don't want it to, though. I think the messiness signals that something is wrong and the other shoe will drop at any moment, but this isn't true.
There's no getting around it...life seems to come with duality, even if we've touched the unspeakable vastness of non-duality. Refusing to allow the hard stuff completely cuts off at least half of our emotional and spiritual lives. I've felt and experienced Oneness. I've lived for months in that space of knowing that I, and everyone else, is One and pure Love in the highest sense of the words. I've been there and I've come back from there. I've mourned the loss of that incomprehensibly peaceful and secure state. I've desperately sought to get it back. I've inadvertently refused to acknowledge that if I am here, I must be meant to be experiencing all of it, but I'm learning that there is space for all of it within me. That there is actually not just space to allow it all, but even space to celebrate it all. There is space to go straight into the heart of the deepest pain and darkest fears.
I’m letting feelings be as much as I can now. I’m letting them show up announced and uninvited without slamming the door of my heart shut on them and forcing them back into the deep. That slight dull tightness in my chest...it actually may be worth exploring. It’s hard. Like insanely hard. It brings all the disallowed feelings that I learned as a tiny vulnerable body with an open and sensitive nervous system were dangerous. That to survive and function the way I was taught I needed to function, those feelings had to be pushed away.
It’s terrifying and paralyzing and exhausting to go against a lifetime of neural pathways. As I practice allowing it all, I feel like life is constantly on the verge of falling apart. I don’t know how to keep getting things done and allow myself to feel at the same time. And lets face it, things have to get done. I have three kids who need a roof over their heads, food to eat and nurturing from their mom. I lay in bed and let the waves overtake me. It’s all I can do sometimes. At times my body suddenly aches deeply as if from a flu and just as quickly the pain disappears. It feels intolerable at times, but I want to let the feelings and experiences be and give them room to show me what they actually are, not what I was taught either explicitly or implicitly that they were. So, I am simply doing my best to allow the terror, the rage, the hate, all of it to have a soft place to land.
Please don’t misunderstand what I'm sharing. This is a good thing. It really is. I don’t often talk about this because I don’t want to hear anyone tell me what to do to feel better, or tell me that I need to feel better at all. That’s the point of this...This is NOT about feeling better. Trying to feel better in even the most subtle ways is more often than not a rejection of parts of myself and it is not necessary. Its such a deeply ingrained habit of survival. But, man, the blackness and burning that grips my gut and heart sure makes me want to switch off all feeling. And many times I do switch it off. I don’t even notice I do it. It just happens and I may see it in hindsight. I share this because I feel called to in the moment. I share because in my darkest times I have been held by the words of a seeming stranger who had been there before and maybe I can be there for someone else, and being there for them I'm coming full circle...showing up for myself and refusing to continue the unnecessary cycle of self-abandonment.
Sometimes choosing fear is choosing love. It's not the well behaved, good feeling, high vibe, align with all the abundance you’ve ever dreamed of kinda love I’m talking about. That love is a myth. A myth created by a terrified mind that decided that in order to be okay all the bad had to be buried as deep and far away as possible.
Love, in the way I’m coming to know and embrace it, is an open space. A container that allows everything to be exactly as it is. And, I mean EVERYTHING The unacceptable and disallowed just want a place to land. They want to sit down without being shooed away and told how to be. Love welcomes the uninvited, the messy, the homeless and weary parts of ourselves. It makes a bed and sets out clean towels and warms a meal in the oven. It welcomes ALL with the finest of grace, yet is perfectly content to allow those gestures to be accepted or ignored, and THAT is where the kindness and compassion lies. Not, in offering the food or hot bath, but in allowing the shattered parts of ourselves the dignity of choosing whether to take them or not and the space to heal in their own time held in the warmth of radical, uncompromising acceptance.