Feelings... whoa, whoa, whoa, feelings.......
How I feel isn’t the same as how I’m doing.....This statement tapped me on the shoulder when I read it recently. It’s a great reminder to live mindfully instead of allowing the willy-nilly sea of emotion determine a perceived quality of life. It’s all perception too. The quality of my life is up to me. How you perceive it, is none of my business. Your perception should never really matter to me in living my authentic life.
I know this thought will continue to produce monumental change in the perpetuation of my serenity..... If/when I remind myself of this when caught up in the thick of it; depression, anger, sadness or even happiness, love, and joy. All just feelings. After reading and absorbing the words over, I was struck by the times when I’ve felt depressed. My body was healthy, I had a great job, plenty of money in the bank, and love surrounding me. What was the deal? I was doing well. On the flip side, the last few years I have had surges of peace, joy, and contentment. In the eyes of those of the world, I appeared to not be doing so well, professionally, financially, or even physically.
I’ve said this many times before, my feelings don’t define me. Just because I feel crazy, doesn’t mean I am crazy. If I feel sad, that doesn’t mean many things in my world aren’t beautiful. If I cry all day, it doesn’t mean I am weakling. If I feel lost, it doesn’t mean I am. I know this now and have learned, for the most part to simply go with the flow of them, like an observer stepping back, quietly saying, “Huh, so that’s how sadness feels.” I believe now it’s a good thing to experience what these emotions feel like in our bodies instead of running from them. I used to pretend I didn’t know them and used all kinds of methods to hide out from actually experiencing them. The problem was, they caught up with me and when they did, they overpowered me. They then became how I was doing for a time.
I’ve noticed acknowledging my feelings and letting them flow, they no longer have a silent stranglehold on my life. I don’t have to stifle them anymore. When I shushed them, they screamed at me. Now, they appear appropriately knowing they won’t be judged. Sometimes beautifully ebbing and flowing in and out of the hours in my day like the tides, gentle and predictable. Other times I find myself holding on for dear life as a tsunami threatens to batter my spirit into a pulp. No matter. I’ve learned to accept them all. And, be grateful for them all.... Yes, all of them.
Having felt them fully now, I see how useful and wonderful they are. Sometimes, they keep us safe from harm. When the heart is beating wildly, and the nerve endings are jangling, those feelings might be telling us to walk away from something that could be damaging. Or, when we recall the exhilaration inside our soul that cause us to lift our arms and rejoice, we could be on the right path. Feelings help us to connect with other people too. If we didn’t know the stabbing pain of grief at the loss of a loved one, how could we ever reach out and comfort another. If we can’t identify with the goosebump thrill of great excitement and joy, could we hug another with authentic enthusiasm at their great joy?
Feelings are like markers along our path, leading us inward towards understanding and learning. They are that scent of holiness inside of us guiding us to healing. I like to think of feelings as the spirit part of me that dances, weeps, rejoices and, sometimes, recoils from the world for awhile. They are the life line to God inside me, leading the way to my authentic home, in compassion and love.
I can’t imagine a life without feelings, my Holy Spirit of the soul. I’ve learned it behooves me not to use them as a measuring stick for how I am doing. Although, I do believe without them, I wouldn’t be doing well at all. Feelings are my tools. I needed this reminder. I am always fine. My life is right where its supposed to be.