What do you choose in the moments just after : your heart raced and missed a beat / fear gripped you and left you pale/when pain wrenched your heart and tears welled up/ when your head fumed and jaws clenched in rage?
I have taught myselves to breathe deeply, count in reverse and focus on other things and try to neutralise that energy and ignore the emotion .
I have caught myself thinking "Oh I can't be upset with small things, I hate to be sad, I cant show them I am scared...' etc."
Denying my unpleasant emotions gave me a false sense of power and safety. Its not easy to be vulnerable. Right?
Sometimes even when I acknowledged an emotional disturbance I was more willing to ignore or invalidate or rationalise than to explore it with curiosity. Moreover I never thought of my emotions as my own responsibility, so when I acknowledged the unpleasantness I always found someone who caused it and ended up creating more of the same feeling by blaming, accusing, threatening or retreating into my shell.
So my lesson was "acknowledging your feelings is path to misery. Ignore them"!!Woww!!
But the universe has its loving ways and I got in touch with people who helped me learn a more 'life happening' approach! And whats that? Let me use a metaphor to share what I learnt.
Think of a Rose bush which we might be nurturing , would we only water it when it blooms? Would we say "there is no flower or bud on the bush, so I will not water it today and these thorns are useless let me file them and make the bush smooth"? If the bush doesn't bloom for some time, we look at the soil, add some manure, trim the branches, check for sunlight etc.
If the Rose is our happiness and flow, the presence of other unpleasant emotions tell us what we need for that beauty and joy to blossom. They show us ways to flow and be our resilient and jubiliant selves.
Now, would it help us to hold on to the condition that the bush should bloom everyday ?
We know it won't , but in our lives, dont we still insist on the way things should be and people should behave?
What if we could allow ourselves to see the best in whatever is? What if we could see that even with its million imperfections, life is still beautiful?
What if we could appreciate the bush for being the bush with or without the flower? What if we could see the whole in the parts and parts in the whole? What if we could hold on to appreciating things as they are ,even if they are not as we expect. What if we held on to love, grace and faith instead of conditions? And what if we could notice the beautiful coexistence of our met needs with our unmet needs and acknowledge that life is good? How would it then be to get in touch with those sweet longings which could help us make life even more wonderful?
Would just one color , even if its your favourite, make a whole picture? More the colors, shades and hues, distinct are the forms and prettier the picture . Similarly wondering over all our feelings, pleasant and unpleasant and reading into their messages that convey the beauty of our humanity makes our experiences richer and warms our hearts.
So its our perspective, a choice we make: of the angles from which we like to see, the positions we like to take and the lenses we like to use, that gives us a picture of the whole or just a part . What if we choose to embrace 'whatever is', within us and out there, in its entirety and let go of our ideas of 'what should be'?
I guess life would simply flow!