Monday, August 8, 2016

To Feel or Not to Feel

Do you want an epidural for life or do you want to feel it? Do you want to feel stuff today, to be soft and vulnerable, take the good with the bad? Or do you want to be numb to this life, to the stress, fear and disappointment? Do you want take the six inch needle in the spine so you can get through it all without experiencing pain?

As adults, we are subconsciously and automatically making that choice every day. So much of the time we don't even realize it's a daily option. Every single one of us have had painful experiences. We've all been hurt by other people in various ways (physically, emotionally..) We've all been painfully humiliated. We've all been disappointed by dreams not fulfilled. We've all been pressured at some point in time, to try to change who we are to fit in. Some, have seen, or personally experienced terrible abuse which has shattered their core and altered their being.

We are experiencing turbulent times on earth right now. (I began to list the numerous atrocities taking place presently and realized that isn't necessary.) Some days it seems you can't get through an entire 24 hours without hearing about something heart wrenching. Some say (and have been saying at intervals for hundreds of years), the end of the world is near. Others say, it's the shift. The time for awakening and transformation. Whatever you choose to believe, I think we all innately realize we are on the verge of some major changes.

No wonder we often choose the six inch needle to the opportunity to feel things! It is so much more comfortable to numb ourselves to the pain, past and present. "Give me the damn epidural. I don't want to feel the hurt. Can I numb my eyes too? So I don't have to see the violence? And my ears? Can I numb those? So I don't have to hear the hatred? Can I have the biggest full body epidural available please? Like head to toe? The walls I had built up since childhood are no longer strong enough to hold it all back. I need more. Walls and lidocaine!"

This past weekend I had a tough day.  I started writing this post a week or so ago, and now get to add some hot off the presses, like super recent experience to it. I knew there was a reason I didn't finish it at the first, I usually do. But this post sat in pending draft, so I could have a shitty day Saturday, relate it to this post, and tell you guys all about it.

Everyday is a different day right? We get to make these choices every single day, through out the day, at every interaction. Lead with my heart or lead with my head? Let soul drive or ego? Feel, stay warm and soft..or turn it off, freeze up and pull up the draw bridge?

Saturday I chose some self love and a nap, instead of the epidural. The day started with a battle of wills between myself and the hubs. It got ugly. We shouted, and made ugly faces, and were not nice at all. I didn't want to feel the stuff I was feeling. I didn't want to stay open. I needed to sleep it off. To let my sensitive self rest and find strength, so I could communicate and not be a total zombie. Because that is my long time conditioned response ya know, the zombie thing? I used to think it was a strength, now I know it was only a cop out. To just shut it all out. Pretend like none of it mattered. Don't feel it and it won't hurt. Don't cry about it, there is no point. Just keep going, numb, walled, secure, standing tall.

I can say, this time was different. I knew what was happening. I didn't opt for the quick cold shot, even though it was tempting. I knew I needed to let it all slowly wash over me, through me. I knew, from lots of self examination, that my immediate response would be to shove it all aside and go about my day, for several days, like nothing even happened, until it just sort of went away and didn't matter. I didn't want to do that. I wanted to feel it, but knew I needed to do that in little intervals, and that it would drain me, and make me sad, and angry and finally, after some soulful rest, ready to communicate. To remain open. To remain soft.

So I'm thinking the secret might be, to be aware of  how you operate. To know how you have conditioned yourself to handle emotions and conflict. To give yourself permission and grace to do what you need to, to care for yourself, through the process of feeling.

What an immeasurable pity it would be. To stop feeling it all, just so you could stop feeling the hard stuff. When you get the epidural, you don't get to say "just block out the painful stuff please." It all gets numb. The pain, fear, anxiety, sadness AND...the joy, gratitude, excitement, love, awe. No more realizing with amazement how very blessed you are. No more laughing until your face hurts. No more authentic and tender moments with your loved ones. No more tears of utter joy. No more passion or drive or excitement. No more hope. When we numb ourselves against the darkness we numb ourselves against the light!

So what are some things we can do, to be able to stay soft and open to all of it? To stay strong and flexible. To nurture ourselves, to be able to withstand the storm before the calm without anesthetizing ourselves.

Almost all of us need extra support. Whether that means a good hard sweaty run, or a long sweet quiet walk. Whether that means journaling or painting or building or gardening or sleeping. Whether that means talking with someone you trust, or seeing a therapist, or taking extra vitamins, or even medication. Each one of us has different ways of being and different needs. No one is "weak" for choosing one of these supports over the other. We all need to love ourselves enough to choose what is right for us. To support ourselves so we can say "no thank you" to the numbing shot. To support ourselves so we can say "I know this is going to hurt and I'm going to let it."

For me, one of my favorites, is time spent in nature. Breathing so deeply, being amongst trees and plants and dirt and water and all of God's ancient mysterious beauty. Even just getting my hands in some soil and planting something will make a difference. I have other supports as well, I find it's best to have several.

Spend some time figuring out what supports work best for you. What actions or places or practices bring you peace and strength and rejuvenation?  Give yourself permission to use them. You will feel more whole. Stronger but softer. More aware and more graceful. You will find yourself, much more often. deciding to forego the epidural.

With so much love ya'll. xo

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