Healing Through Feeling: How to Sit With Your Emotions

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What if all we had to do to change our experience was simply feel what we feel? Unfortunately, the feeling is what can be most difficult. Simply feeling and not doing can seem strange and terrifying, especially when we think that in order to do something, we must do something “now”. It’s easy to imagine that some feelings may very well destroy us.

Whenever my life experience pushes me to face what I truly feel, my mind jumps in to tell me that I will never accomplish anything- that I need to give up this feeling thing, shut up, lose myself in another job and contribute to society. But I’ve done that…three times. What I’ve discovered each time is what does not work: it does not work to use silence, a job or even a noble purpose to distract myself from the discomfort I feel. To do otherwise goes against our very name. We are not doings; we are beings with incredible creative capacity. The fact that I have created elaborate situations three times to avoid facing myself is proof of this.

I have finally allowed myself to truly feel the quality of life I have created. Some days my only experience is fear, rage and shame. I watch in awe at the elaborate stories swirling in eddies and whirlpools in my mind. I feel self-indulgent and wonder how long it will take for these emotions to twist and turn through my body. I long to rush their progress. I long to sedate, ignore or run to someone to help me “fix” the discomfort, but I’ve already done all of these things and none of them work for long. They simply cover for a while until the familiar sensation rises yet again. So here I am, feeling all that is… no matter what label it has.

Some days I cannot do anything but sit, notice and observe. I feel useless and broken when I’m not “doing”, and no one telling me otherwise can change how I feel- it shouldn’t. We all must feel what we have created no matter how uncomfortable it is. A river can be dammed, but only for so long when a flood’s coming.

We humans have created a lot of difficult stories and circumstances that we think are the reason for the discomfort we often experience. But what is hidden cannot remain hidden forever. A gem under the mud of a raging river must, at some point, encounter the rays of the sun. The raging river of life can feel uncomfortable as it rushes over our attempts to sedate, medicate and hide what really lies inside, but at some point what lies within will be seen anyway. I can spend years feeling sorry for myself because it’s so uncomfortable for me to show you who I really am, but unless I do I remain hidden, chaotic and unable to interact with my world in new ways.

I long for a world where everyone feels safe. Where we’re able to allow a feeling to run its course without needing to jump to conclusions and create a story about why it’s there, or a need to beg another for “help”. I long for us all to be patient with the flood of discomfort until the authentic response-the gem-rises from the churning of the feeling.

Many days I still see myself choosing to react in fear, anger and shame when I encounter differences or areas where I initially felt uncomfortable. Some days I want to force my “authentic response” but the irony in this effort is not lost on me. Force will never ever elicit an authentic, truthful response to life. My discomfort in telling the truth will never bring forth the result I imagine. Only the truth will reveal the next step. So I feel, even when I tell myself bizarre stories about what the feelings mean. So I write, even when I know I may hear another’s story about what my words mean and that I may not agree. I write, not because no one has ever felt like this before or because no one has ever written this before, but because someone feels this right now and my words may sink in where others have not before.

If all human beings could simply sit with all the feelings we share for one month, with no requirement to act or speak but simply to feel, what would come? What might we realize? Would we finally allow all the suppressed energy under the surface of our “fines” and “okays” to move through us and transform us so we could finally experience how we are already immersed in peace instead of making the mistake of thinking that we have to “make peace?” Would we then feel the forgiveness that comes from realizing each and every one of us is attempting to experience unconditional love in a conditional world? What would we create then?

“Don’t hide your heart but reveal it, so that mine might be revealed, and I might accept what I am capable of. ”

Rumi

If you liked this article, be sure to watch our video Secret of Water to keep exploring.



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10 Signs That You're a Free Spirit

When we think of the term, “free spirit,” we imagine a person who steers their own course in life, unencumbered by common burdens or concerns. Some look at those who identify as free spirits as being irresponsible or childish, though this mindset offers lessons to inform us how we can live life on our own terms. 

If you’re someone who considers yourself an independent thinker or doer, who pushes against society’s envelope and is deeply committed to finding your own path, you may be a free spirit. Are you curious as to whether the free spirit path is for you?

Ten Signs You’re A Real Free Spirit

If you identify with any of these signs, chances are you have a free spirit waiting to be let loose into the world! 

1. You’re Independent-Minded

Independent people thrive on listening to their own voices, regardless of the situation or circumstance. This key personality trait of the free spirit is a common one in innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative artists, as an independent streak also relies on a strong foundation and belief in oneself.

Are you the person in the room who always finds a new way of looking at things? Free spirits defy expectations and will always see the unexpected in equally unlikely ways. These kinds of thinkers can be great assets on a creative team, as they will always find a new way to look at an idea. Free spirits are also incredible advocates for innovation, as they are not afraid to stand up and for their ideas, no matter how much it veers from the rest of the crowd.

2. Fear Doesn’t Stop You

Dale Carnegie said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” Free spirits feel fear, but they don’t allow that feeling to be something that stops them. Instead, a free spirit will work through the fear and let it serve as a motivating factor. In fact, most free spirits will tell you that any success is not worth having unless it’s achieved with a healthy dose of moving through fear.

3. You Have a Strong Spine.

While it can be said that free spirits go with the flow of life, they accomplish it with a healthy and strong sense of self. This translates into living with intention and purpose and one that is not defined by anyone else. A free spirit walks the talk and in many cases, creates the language that makes up the talk.

4. Free From Attachment

To live as a free spirit, one has to be willing to let go, or walk away from the things that might weigh others down such as conventional relationships, careers, and other traditional trappings of modern life.

You might find a free spirit selling their material goods and living in a van, or not staying tethered to one place for very long. Or perhaps a free spirit may choose to live simply with a commitment to not participating in consumerism. Minimalism is often a choice of free spirits as this lifestyle embodies freedom from many of the things that weigh us down. Free spirits enjoy their own company and thrive on solo time, and putting themselves first.

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