What do we do with
I want us to build on a shared idea from last week. More than one person wrote that they wanted to feel all of it. Inspired, connected, free, peaceful, productive—yes—but also bored, exhausted, sad.
Why? Why might we seek to feel all of it, the “good” and the “bad”? Why would we willfully sit in boredom? Sink into our exhaustion? Even abide in the very sorrow, anger, and anxiety that hurt us? The answer, I think, lies in a desire for wholeness: a desire to experience the fullness of what it means to be human, both that which lifts us up and that which brings us down.
And yet, even as we desire fullness, we often numb ourselves to those hard feelings. We deny them outright. Or we dump them onto others around us in an attempt to rid ourselves of them. We may try to tidy our hearts, briskly sweeping our sadness under the sofa. Drink or eat our way out of fear. Turn on Netflix. Postpone dealing with that for another day. What happens to feelings that aren’t given air? Over time, do they rot us from the inside out?
What happens, instead, when we feel them fully?
If I want, ultimately, to feel at peace, is any anxiety I experience a failure on my part, or is it merely an inevitable part of the journey, something I must witness and explore in order to let it go? This sounds good, but who wants to weep when instead we can self-medicate with instagram and ice cream.
Where are you in this? Do you want to feel all of it this year, by which we mean—of course—this month, this week, this very day? How would you benefit from letting yourself embrace the painful emotions inside you? How might doing so endanger you? Are there people or practices that could help you as you go along?
Last week, a fellow ponderer resolved to “feel each emotion as it arises” and also to “run every decision through the lens of my desired emotions.” What about you?