As human beings it is in our nature to evolve. We are all seekers, until we are not.
We are born to seek growth and evolution of mind, body, and spirit. Simply by making the unknown known we learn, expanding our knowledge base. Feeding our bodies with the proper nutrients that we need energetically, moving our joints and muscles against stressors brings strength and growth. Finding connection in the unfamiliar brings awareness to the oneness of life and expands our comfort zones.
Yet, growing pains accompany growth. Fear comes in the unknown. Feelings bring a sense of dis-ease. In our American culture we are conditioned out of being seekers to avoid pain and discomfort.
Then we are told that "big girls don't cry," and "showing emotions is a sign of weakness." So we buckle down and tighten our grip on those emotions. We learn to avoid feeling by controlling, stuffing, or numbing. It is important to realize that numbing removes all feelings, not just the “negative” ones.
Here’s the thing - emotions are not good or bad, they just are. They are normal. How we are created. Emotions are the language of the soul. They speak to us, teach us, guide us, if we listen, but we must be aware, acknowledge what we are feeling from moment to moment in order to connect with the messages they have for us. The answers and guidance they are pointing us to.
We’ve been conditioning ourselves out of feeling and therefore out of seeking change - we can condition ourselves back to feeling and seeking!
I was a stuffer. I avoided feeling the feels by stuffing and ignoring the uncomfortable feelings, "I'm fine,” I’d say. Putting my head down and plowing through. Stay focused on the task at hand, there’s no time to feel sad. Anger doesn’t help anything. Emotions are a sign of weakness. If you want to be in the game you can’t show emotions, they must be controlled. Letting someone think you are sad might make them feel bad, or feel sorry for you. Stuff them! That's a few of the thoughts that would run through my head. Beliefs I have had to overcome and seek to change. Any of that sound or feel familiar?
The problem was the trunk, the big - but never quite big enough - trunk, over in the corner or hidden in the closet that would get so full I couldn't keep the lid closed. Picture me sitting on it like an overstuffed suitcase trying to get the zipper around. It would "erupt" and all the feelings would come forth. A mini explosion that I could no longer control. Then I would hide away with my feelings vomited all over, not aware of what I was feeling or why, they were all mixed together! Overwhelmed and trying to get them back under control before anyone saw the mess. Heaven forbid! I would find myself crying enough to find some release creating enough space to sweep them back into the box where the lid could then close tightly. So I could dry my tears, put the smile back on my face and get back to business. Being in control of my emotions. Yet it was just an illusion of control and I was learning nothing other than an occasional melt-down was a common occurrence. Try as I might to keep it all to myself my vomiting would get on my loved ones. Role modeling for my children: how to handle their own emotions (not ideally!) and causing stress in my relationship.
Now, I am practicing what it looks like to experience my emotions as they come in the moment. I have come to understand that our emotions are the language of our soul. We feel things for a reason, even the not so pleasant ones. The grief while painful shows us that we loved someone deeply. The empathy we feel for another’s loss brings connection. The pain motivates us, bringing leverage over the change we have been avoiding to make for our betterment in life.
Practice feeling the feels. Two years ago I started the journey of practicing to place my feelings into a pensieve (yes, think Harry Potter!) rather than a trunk. Where I could be more aware of them, learn from them, acknowledge them. It has been a long path of leaning into feeling the feels, allowing the tears, discomfort and growth. Practicing to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and be open to the guidance along my path. We don't grow, change, or move forward without moving through by learning how to feel the feels.
Been there...still practicing. It does get easier. Start with acknowledging, admitting and committing. Making small changes. Being able to lean into the unfamiliar is a must in seeking! Practice taking the steps needed in a kind environment, introducing emotions one at a time. I would be honored to guide you in these steps to return to your seeker nature. Ultimately seeking living into your fullest expression!