allowing, choice, emotions, emptiness, presence

Can you be with this feeling?

by Jordan_K, ©photographer reserves all rights

by Jordan_K, ©photographer reserves all rights

Can you be with this feeling?

This is the question I hear, in my mind, in this moment, when I am in a lousy, cranky, hormonal, bitch-on-wheels mood. The sun is shining, it’s a perfect afternoon, there is much to be grateful for, I know. But sometimes crankiness happens. I don’t like it. I want relief. I want to escape this feeling.

Can you be with this feeling?

The inner voice asks again. I prefer being happy, of course. But what if I surrendered to this crankiness. I did have a terrible night’s sleep. My back aches, my head hurts, my moon storm is in full force, and I decide, in this moment, yes. Yes, I will be with this feeling.

It will not destroy me. It will not last. I will not get swallowed.

Yes, I am always at choice. And in this moment, I choose to be with this feeling.

I have spent years of my life trying to escape unpleasant feelings. Fight, flight or freeze. That is our human condition, after all. And in this moment, I embrace my humanity and allow this feeling to be what it is. A feeling inside of me. I am not the boat, battered on the waves of an angry, restless ocean. Can I be the angry, restless ocean, in this moment? Yes. I can.

I, like most people, find it easiest to be present when things feel good, when I feel good. I have no trouble being present for joy, bliss, peace. Easy-peasy! The real practice of presence becomes a true practice when I can become fully present to those “other” feelings, the ones that live on the opposite side of my wide and vast emotional landscape. I will not die. I will not be swallowed.

I am the ocean, not the boat.

I become present to the sensations in my body. Some unpleasant. I notice and observe what is happening now. The sun is warming my body, as I sit on my breezy balcony, typing away, noticing the warmth of the sun on my skin. Noticing the aching in my head. In my body. Noticing. Being present to what is. There is nothing else, after all, except what is.

When your darker moments come, can you stay with your feelings?

Can you not abandon yourself in attempts to feel something different?

Can you be a safe place for every feeling?

Even the unsavory ones?

I am learning how.

My busy mind wants to label, identify, sort, find cause, pinpoint reasons, organize, define, correct.

My spirit says “relax into the now.”

I consider what I can trust:

I trust in the temporal nature of all feelings. I trust that this will pass. I trust that I am safe. I trust that I can be gentle and kind and avoid the desire to flee this feeling.

I trust in the larger, more broad perspective. I trust that this is not “who” or “what” I am. This is simply a feeling. Who I am is larger, much larger, than any feeling.

Oddly enough, miraculously enough, when I surrender to what is, when I allow myself to be present to this very moment, something starts to shift, subtle and small, something starts to lift, and I am reminded that even the darkest storms eventually dissolve and pass.

It is the dark that defines the light. How can I know pleasure, if I never knew pain? How can I know peace, if I never knew unrest? How can I know joy, if I never knew this funk? Is it not then a gift, an odd one, in strange wrapping?

I unwrap.

Yes. I can be with this feeling.





Originally published October, 2013.

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