Welcoming the Opportunity to Feel
October 11, 2015
For most of my life, I had a constant recording in my head: “If you could just stop feeling, you could live a normal life!”
From the moment I walked into my first hug at an Awareness Institute workshop I knew I had found the place to do my feeling (healing) work. It was not the traditional “peace, love, happiness, rainbows and unicorns – let’s all be happy and pretend everything is fine” range of feelings that I had grown up with. No, it was something much more honest and real.
The reality is that I have a much wider range of feelings than I’d grown up believing was acceptable. Soon after beginning workshops with the Awareness Institute, it began to sink in that this “honest and real” work was going to take courage. Courage to look within and face my fears. I needed to see how all my negative beliefs around feelings had permeated my everyday reality – had become my reality – and this way of living was causing me a lot of pain. I needed a fresh start, a new look, a new perspective.
My first “digging” into my unconscious and deeply embedded belief systems uprooted the assumption that “if I could just stop feeling, I could live a normal life.” In facing this belief, I began to see all the ways I had shut down my feelings with constant internal mental abuse — thoughts such as, “Feelings are a sign of weakness, stupid people have feelings, you will be unlovable, you will be abandoned and alone forever, you will be rejected, you will be outcast, you will turn into one disgusting pathetic dysfunctional puddle, you will lose all sense of reality”… In finally seeing this stream of FEAR clearly (what I learned to label “False Evidence Appearing Real”), I could now begin to open myself to new ways of living.
The workshops created a safe, compassionate and loving space for me to do the work around my emotional shut down. It was there that I heard for the first time that “feeling is healing.” At first I thought, “Ow, this just means the happy feelings,” but then the realization came that this meant ALL feelings — the whole spectrum, which includes sadness, grief, anger, hurt, loneliness, shame…all of it.
It takes a lot of trust and willingness to be vulnerable and allow myself to feel everything, but what I’ve found in facing the fear around feelings is that I am no longer at their mercy. I no longer have to spend exorbitant amounts of energy keeping them trapped inside. I had been trying to dam a river, and when I simply let the river flow naturally, there was no longer a huge pressure build-up. I was able to feel more fully and live more vibrantly.
For me, the Awareness Institute has supported me in giving myself the biggest gift I could ever receive: the deep knowing that, truly, ALL feelings are healing.