THE EDGE OF EMOTION
Feeling feels risky. So much so that we often stay on the edge of it. Feeling emotion means something is going to change, which is destabilizing to our sense of the known. It is a mini death and rebirth, and most of us don’t like the death part very much. Death of an idea, dream, or way of being. Oftentimes we think we are feeling emotion, but we are just on the surface of what is really going on. To authentically feel, rather than regurgitating triggered surface emotions, is the difference between acceptance of what is and resistance to it. Acceptance is hard for most, so rather than feeling we stay in the spin of frustration, irritation or mental activity, which keeps us from having to actually feel even though we think that we are.
Why is it that we avoid feeling like it’s the plague? It boils down to the fact that in general most of us don’t like to feel heartbreak, and heartbreak is what authentic feeling feels like. It’s tender, raw, and vulnerable. The heartbreak we feel is in association with something occurring that we wished was different. Perhaps it was a way we were treated that we didn’t like, a need or desire that wasn’t met, or some situation that went down in a way we wished it wouldn’t have. The tendency for most people is to start to think about the situation or event rather than feel what they feel about it. They rationalize, they judge or condemn, they feel irritated or maybe aloof and disconnected, they can’t seem to let it go no matter what amount spiritual self-talk they do around it. There is a tendency to feel at a loss or confused about “what to do” and many attempts to figure it out. The intense mental thought of needing to figure out what to do or say is a high indication that there is resistance to what is, and deeper more real feelings to be felt.
There is a phrase I heard in chiropractic college that went “you have to feel it to heal it”. What it boils down to is that healing is accepting what is. When we accept what is, change then effortlessly flows from acceptance. There is no more needing to figure anything out or mental looping about it. We simply know what to do if anything needs to be done. Sometimes there is nothing to do and that can be super challenging for our minds, particularly when we really want something to be different, hence our prolonged resistance to actual feeling. However as soon as we do feel the heartbreak of the dream, the idea, the hope, or the thing, acceptance ensues and it becomes easy to let be what is. This leaves us with inner peace and spaciousness of mind. We become receptive rather than insistent. In our receptivity the path of what’s next is revealed to us.
FREEDOM THROUGH EMOTION
Action from love
Sometimes the difference between thinking our emotions versus feeling our emotions can be tricky for us to discern. A good indicator to use for yourself is that if you don’t feel freer than you aren’t actually feeling, but rather you are caught in a story about feeling. Another way to discern this is the amount of time you are “feeling”. Emotions, when felt, have a very short time span. Typically a few seconds to a few minutes at most. If you are going on hours, days or weeks of “feeling” something then you are often in the story of it rather than the feeling of it. Now after you feel something deeply there can be residual feelings, but your general disposition is lighter and more free even if some residual effects are still present. Also after feeling there you are softer and in a slower pace of being.
Emotions are simply energy. When we feel the energy of emotion we liberate fuel. Fuel for acceptance and change. That acceptance or change can be of ourselves, or it can be in relation to the outer appearance of our lives. Change occurring through acceptance, or said another way, change occurring through love, is different than the way we typically try to make things happen. While there is still intention, vision or goals, there is also more of a listening to the unfolding and participating with it rather than an attempt to push or force to make happen. While this might seem more apparent for our outer world, it goes for our inner world as well. Say for example you have a tendency to think you are not valuable or have nothing of value to give. You could try a million self-help methods to change these thoughts about yourself, go to every class and workshop, and on and on, really throwing everything at it. Yet when you start with acceptance, coming from love in your attempt to change these thoughts, you don’t insist that they need to be different. It’s a bit of a paradox, but as soon as we stop insisting something be a certain way or be different than it is, it relaxes and often reorganizes itself.
All the things we desperately think need to be different about ourselves or the world find resolution through acceptance. The mind can’t grok this and yet it is so. Acceptance doesn’t mean inaction, rather it means action from love. To be clear action from love doesn’t mean that our perspective, idea or way of approaching something wins over because we think it’s more altruistic, evolved or better than the alternative perspectives. This is called righteousness of which our world is rampant with. Action from love is listening to the inner impulse to move in a particular way or direction, taking action in that direction, and then listening. Seeing what you feel now and now and now, and following. When you allow your emotions you see that they guide you moment by moment. This doesn’t mean that all of your ideals will be met or creations created, but it does mean that you will always be coming from your alignment, from who you are, from what you desire to be, now and now and now. This is to fulfill your destiny. It is to be your mission. It equates to success at all levels of your being.
Dr. Amanda Love, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado