This is a repost from last year that hit a cord with many people, so I am rolling it out again with new artwork.
“What’s in the cave?” asks Luke. Yoda responded, “Only what you take with you.”
What one of us doesn’t enter the vulnerable dark cave of isolation, disappointment, anger, hurt and fear, alone? While standing face to face with the screeching shrill of our imaginings and italicized stories, we only truly face ourselves.
Many of us have spent a life time trying to out run the vulnerable darkness, redirected through pointed fingers, or flailing our way out of a deep resting look within, through busyness, perfection, attempting to control everything around us, acting out, or the sugary sweet niceness of denial.
As a child it was modeled and I was taught not to give voice, attention, or credence to feelings. Ever been told not to cry? It demonstrates weakness, or ineptness. Children don't understand that the admonition is purely sourced in the adult's discomfort of vulnerability.
Even as an adult I found environments that supported this kind of inner disconnection, therefore, I spent must of my life being a packer, tucking and stowing feelings and emotions, as if they were the enemy in hiding, best to ignore than stir up.
It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that society at large is uncomfortable with emotions and uses every means to avoid them. Take a quick look at addiction and you witness an emotionally stunted culture.
While most folks are working hard to avoid their inner world, there is nothing so freeing as to sit down with our stories, loosening the load of heavy-laden feelings that accompany them like a workhorse’s pack. When we say, “yes” to feeling what is without judgment, the grit and dust of emotion clouding our eyes falls away. In the end, emotions only have the power over us that we give them.
It’s only when we refuse to take the easiest and must comfortable route of packing and stowing feelings that we can be at peace with what is right in front of us. As we bravely choose to sit with our emotions, recognizing and unpacking what we are experiencing, we will begin the empowering work of owning our stories and ourselves.
However, when our emotions have been shut down, we may be surprised to uncover the depth of incongruences that exist within us. It can be utterly alarming to discover the ways we’ve betrayed our inner world by complying with egocentric outer demands. To shut off our emotion is to attempt to compartmentalize our lives, yet as whole human beings we cannot cut off one part of ourselves without another part being severely affected and thrown off center. Sadly, many have never allowed the exposure of raw vulnerability to uncover their deepest, truest feelings.
I remember a time when I had convinced myself that it would be a good idea to attend an event, meet new people and build relationships. And so I spent the good part of the day rehearsing these points in my mind. Then all of a sudden a question arose from within, “Do you really want to attend this event?”
Suddenly I became aware of the fact that I actually did not want to attend the event though I had tried to convince my unsuspecting mind otherwise. When I gave myself permission to feel what I didn’t even know I felt, I instantaneously became elated with joy and the prospect of freely doing what was in my heart, coaching myself through the process!
Although this is a small matter, should I have denied this fact, or more likely been oblivious to the truth of my feelings, I would have acted from complete incongruence. Imagine the number of people that have entered into marriage, job positions, or a host of other situations without ever determining the truth of their feelings.
Feelings are not the enemy. We have them because they are powerful tools if we will recognize and listen to the information they are giving us. Instead of running from the cave of our emotions, what if we learned to befriend them?
Through life coaching and the various upcoming creative retreats we are offering, you can find the space and time to give to befriending yourself, your emotions, and your story, while walking in the beauty of personal ownership. Check out retreat here!
30 Paintings In 30 Days, Day 23, Self Friendship, Mixed Media