Stifling our feelings is easy to do when our ego constantly encourages us to do so. But when we let our ego win, we build a barrier between our mind and our soul that ultimately makes us feel half-alive. Here’s a reminder of what authentic emotion can do for us—from my own night of authentically and deeply “feeling it out”.
The best way out is always through.―Robert Frost
Yesterday morning, I was in the middle of writing a sentence in my journal and felt a catch in my throat. I had written myself to a place where the bones of me were laid bare. Where I couldn’t grab a handy cloak of Rationalization or Denial to hide beneath.
There wasn’t anything to be done other than to let all the emotions land, simply feeling it out.
I let my pen hit the open page in my journal. Sophie, who had been snuggled against my leg, intuited there was a wrinkle in the Universe, got to her feet, and turned around in one move. She leaned toward me and put her paw on my forearm. I reached out with my free hand to rub her ear and burst into tears as I really began feeling it out.
Sophie leaned in with her forehead and tucked it onto mine. She waited, unwavering in her stance of support, as I let every emotion surface, release, and subside like a rogue tsunami of grief.
After the wave had passed, I sat back and leaned against the headboard. Sophie scrutinized my face with concern.
“I’m okay, girl,” I said. She wasn’t so sure. Honestly, neither was I.
Through the window, I could see first light appearing in a whisper behind the trees.
“C’mon, girl,” I said, “let’s go for a long walk.”
We headed out into the cold air. I welcomed the shock to my system. After a turn through the woods near the stream, the trees opened at the top of the hill, and the full moon reached out and grabbed me by the collar.
Remembering the Power of Feeling It Out
I stood still, again.
Motionless, wordless, yet communicating volumes from overhead.
The moon’s message for me: “Feel it all, feel it all the way through. Let yourself continue feeling it out.”
“Right,” I said to the sky. “Why do I always seem to have to be reminded of this when I know the power of doing so?”
Because the brain fears judgment when our authentic emotions surface in their signature, wild, unpredictable ways. Judgment from others, from ourselves. The brain labels expressing our emotions and feeling it out as weak, a threat to the ego.
We are wired to be stoic, fearing that if we open the cellar door of the self and let our emotions run, truly feeling it out, we’ll be carried off in a terrible, chaotic wind.
Feeling It Out & Feeling Alive
I leaned onto a tree trunk and lowered my eyes to the ground. I stared at the frozen slivers of dew on the edges of wispy grass stalks. A haze of white against pale green, a coating that froze each in its place, like a wintery Pompeii.
I took out my pocket journal and wrote and wrote and wrote. Tiny pages filled with beautiful and raw torrents. The world disappeared beneath the moon as blurts from the core of who I truly am emerged in lines of graphite.
Reminders of things I had put aside. Non-negotiable ways I care for and connect with myself. The rituals of health and healing and hearing what my soul craves.
I closed the small book, wrapped in worn leather, and kept it tucked into my hand. I wanted my epiphanies breathing out in the open and not in my dark pocket.
When I returned home, I opened the journal in one hand. I read my notes like a chef reading a recipe. Decision by decision, choice by choice, I moved throughout my day, cooking my way back to my essential self.
As darkness fell on Day 1, I felt calm, bright with vitality.
When we stifle what we fear is unpleasant, not our best, or downright ugly, we dam the rivers of our power, joy, and autonomy. In the dank corners of the things we dare not think or feel lie the very clues we seek.
Go there. Feel it out. Seek the support you intuit you need for the journey.
Let it run.