Can we talk about the sh*t for a moment? Can we acknowledge that there are moments (or months) where everything is not awesome? Can we, just for a moment, be real and say out loud that there are times that feel heavy and dark and gross and frustrating? And maybe just for this same candid moment of recognition, we agree not to try and justify it or give it a positive spin or attempt to dress it up… What if, just for a moment, we allowed ourselves to be present with it?
There is freedom in letting go of the idea that we have to immediately make things better, to feel like we have to ‘do’ anything with the emotions or the triggers that surface. There is spaciousness in shifting from striving to acceptance of what is. There is a sacred opportunity in transforming the tendency to bypass unpleasantness.
Now, I want to be clear that choosing awareness over fixing in these circumstances does not mean we are resigning ourselves to experience more drudgery or that we are conceding our power. Rather, we are stepping into a new possibility — one where we can harvest a deeper truth and an offering within us and allow a more expansive understanding to take root.
“We miss out on the depth when we rush through the difficulty.” -Chani Nicholas
Think for a moment about how you experience heavier emotions like anger and rage and disappointment. Think about what it feels like when you’re caught up in the constriction of tension and judgment. What do you do? What is your tendency in responding?
My methods and strategies have changed over the years as I’ve evolved on my path. Before really exploring and growing on my journey, I would deny and numb like a boss. Half the time, I wasn’t even aware I was feeling any emotion and the other half of the time I’d do anything — eat, stuff, hide, veg, spend, disconnect, perfect, zone out — to try and make myself feel better instantly (or at all.) As I began to unfold a new way of being, I gained some new tools and let go of a lot. And yet sometimes the very tools that were allowing me to create a better experience for myself were also the very tools that kept me stuck in the cycle of striving and fixing. With all the wisdom of the Law of Attraction and positive mindset, there can also come a fear of allowing anything unpleasant which can create an invalidation of our experience.
God forbid you spend some time with yourself if you are angry… You will only attract more anger — or worse. Or you think that if you could *just* say the right affirmation enough times or finally find the right key that unlocks it all that you’ll FINALLY feel free of the anger. Or you judge yourself for feeling angry, thinking that it is somehow not justified or worthy of the situation. This spiritual squirming is resistance. In the charged state of our own discomfort and unwillingness to be present with ourselves when we’re experiencing unpleasantness, we treat our anger like a hot potato with the destructive potential of a hand grenade. If we hold it for too long (or at all), we risk having ourselves and our lives blown up.
But, there is another way, another opportunity available to us. There is the possibility of expanding our own understanding and harvesting something very necessary for our journey. In the refusal to acknowledge the presence of a difficult emotion, we also refuse the potential of the gift within it. And if when we find ourselves experiencing an unpleasant emotion, we choose instead to take a breath and create safe space to be with ourselves in the moment of challenge, our whole experience might transform with ease and grace.
In our world, we are rarely if ever taught to understand and express our emotional experience. Rarer still are we offered healthy, nourishing ways of conscious processing and cultivating awareness. Because we’ve seen the devastation of extreme blow-ups of harsh emotions, we tend to see any expression of those emotions as unsafe and invalid. But anger is a perfectly valid emotion. Even rage is a perfectly valid emotion. The key question is what we do with it when it shows up. It’s all a matter of being aware when it surfaces and having supportive strategies so that it doesn’t build up or fester or add pressure to a situation.
So what the hell do we do then when these emotions show up that might encourage a more nourishing experience? Read more “Sh*t Talk: Honoring the Contrast”