I’m not feeling good and
I just want to distract myself.
For the first time in months
I watch some Netflix.
It occurs to me how similar this is
to drinking or shopping
or any other numbing out behavior:
when the show is over,
the feelings are still there.
This is why they say
You gotta feel it to heal it.
But when will I be ready to feel?
You can’t heal what you can’t feel…
and so my biggest task
has been just allowing the feelings to rise,
to be seen, acknowledged, embraced,
and finally felt.
For a long time I attempted to deny my feelings,
because they appeared too painful to accept,
and I was afraid of what might happen
if I allowed the tidal wave to crash over me.
It turns out that I was giving my attention
to my fear of the difficult feelings
rather than to the feelings themselves.
The fear made it all seem so much worse
that it really was.
Once I peeled back all my layers
of distraction, denial and defense
and exposed my tender heart to myself,
I saw that there was nothing to fear.
As the grief came up, the doubt,
the self-blame, the regret, the anger,
the loneliness, the abandonment,
the resistance and all the others
emerged as a procession,
one by one, to be fully received
and welcomed by me.
As I allowed these feelings to flow through,
I sensed underneath them my resilience,
my strength, and finally my hope
for new feelings to arrive
once I’ve made enough room for them
by letting the old feelings go…
It turns out that the more attention
I give to these positive feeling states
the more my brain creates circuitry
to support the experience of those states
in my body, mind, and life.
My mind has been focused on suffering
and now it is time for a new habit.
God, give me the strength
to focus on how I really want to feel.