I've seen so many people write so beautifully about "going into their pain," "staring it in the eye," "wading into its depths."
I recently posted a video about how important it is to fully feel and express our feelings. It's critical to our health on every level and not doing so can be devastating.
My recent work with a coach has allowed me to explore the trauma I've been experiencing in my body and it's dredged up old pain that is demanding to be felt. But when all of these poetic words spring to mind, it has made me feel impotent.
Do I even know how? Certainly no one ever taught me.
Is it enough to just acknowledge their presence? Or is there something I'm meant to be doing? (But surely "doing" is the antithesis of "feeling.")
What about those times when life must go on in spite of difficult feelings? Or when these feels take up residence for long periods of time - demanding to be felt and unravelled slowly?
I sat down with my journal and explored how my feelings we're wanting to be felt, right now, in this season of my life. This is what I wrote:
Lie in bed and let them wash over me without trying to do or force anything.
Explore it as a felt sense in my body: Where is it located? How big is it? Texture? Sensations? Density? Colour? Age?
Write into it - its origins and its lessons.
Move my body - dance, run, beat my fists, throw myself on the floor; it all counts.
Emote it; let those primal sounds overflow.
Create something with it. Get messy with paint. Make a mandala. Dig a big hole in the garden. What does it want to be in the world? What shape does it want to take?
Have an honest conversation. Conversation is so healing.
Hold it with you and let it be present with you as you go about your day's activities, not using them to numb it out. I've even taken to cradling it like I would a baby when I can.
Bringing metaphor to our spiritual practices is a beautiful way to evoke the layers and depth they bring to our lives. But these metaphors become dangerous when they're not anchored to our lived reality, when we're no longer sure what they really mean.
So let's write poetry but let's also write the bare bones truth of what our lives look like. What's working for us and what isn't. Even when it's messy and incomplete and we aren't sure what we're doing. That's where the real poetry is.
Please tell me: what does it look like to feel feelings in your life right now?