The Learned, Limited you Wants to be Free to be YOU (Really!!!)
If this subtitle makes no sense to you, then check out the two previous posts, HERE and HERE as well as the CHEAT SHEET to you and YOU. For my toastie regular readers, tally forth to learn how to use YOU to help you. First, REALLY GET THIS: The limited you of feeling-based learning really is there to help, to guide, to keep you safe. It is not there to thwart your success (unless that feels to out of range or unsafe) or to pillage you with unreasonable doubts. Everything it does is reasonable to the system that it is part of.
So rather than getting mad at it and frustrated at the blocks that come up, which doesn’t do anything except spike your blood pressure or stoke an ulcer, or bulldozing over it with some sort of action to prove that it doesn’t have any hold over you, which only proves that it does, a better method is simply to BE with it. Yes, I know, it goes against everything that bizarro world teaches you about getting ahead, all that fighting and warring and conquering that makes for teary movie moments and media sound bites. Really, how heroic is it to vanquish something (which is actually you) that is trying so hard to help you avoid the shame or the pain or the betrayal or sadness or danger that prompted the feeling response in the first place? I know it feels weird, I spent years trying to find a loophole in this process—if only I could DO the RIGHT thing (oh the curse of those two words when the find each other) then I could avoid this yucky touchy-feely stuff and MOVE ON. Believe me, it doesn’t work.
Why Being is Preferable to Doing (In This Case)
Doing is the bulldozer. Doing distracts you by sending you off to joust windmills and abandon the feeling yet again (which never makes it go away forever, ever notice that? There’s a lesson there!) Doing can be as low-action as taking a internal stance, which is a way of going rigid and closing off your awareness so that you don’t have to feel what it is that’s coming up in you. Society as a whole treats this sort of internal shutting down with applause, probably because all that feeling stuff is messy, makes people uncomfortable, and slows down productivity in the Bizarro world sense of the word. Doing built the railroads and highways, yes, but Being allowed the deep internal voyaging of Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Doing is surface breadth; Being is depth. Doing holds a stopwatch to your life and pushes you to produce; Being wraps you in a warm blanket and feeds you soup. There’s a place for both, obviously, but odds are you are pretty good at Doing (if you are anything like me, as we both were trained in Bizarro world), and Being probably feels like you are slacking off.
What Does This Feeling Stuff Have to Do With Being a Free YOU?
If you’ve been keeping up, then you know that you have to slow down to catch up with YOU. YOU are only present in the present. When you are all wrapped up in reliving the unfairness of your first break-up or biting your nails over what your boss would think if you dyed your hair blue (on the off chance that you would dye it blue), then your YOU just sits there, present with you, but quietly minding its own business, until you get present enough again to play. Attending to body sensation is the ultimate practice in being present because you can only experience the feelings in your body as they come—and, for even more fun, you can call up feelings from the past to BE with them in order to set them free, and imagine feelings in the future to sculpt the life you want (which we’ll play with more at some point, but first things first :>)
A mixed blessing about feelings is that they change, so if you wait long enough, whatever emotional trauma you are in at the moment will pass. This can be useful on one level, but it also means that if you ignore a feeling you miss a window of opportunity to Be with it, and Being with your feelings, whether it’s as they come naturally in your life or when verbally pierced during your therapy appointment, is a simple and effective way to begin the process of setting them free, which is where they want to be or they wouldn’t be pestering you in the first place. We’ll get to how you can free a feeling next time. For now, PLAY TIME…
Play with Being YOU to Your Feelings
Your YOU simply sits with you when you are running amok with Doing and warring and future-driven or past-driven stuff. It just IS with you, it doesn’t try to do anything, it just keeps you company. Be this with at least one feeling that comes today (and every day if you can.) If no strong emotional feeling comes up, you may need to reduce your medication (just kidding, sort of, and I mean self-medication, too, as that is one more way you protect yourself from the more vulnerable parts of you.) Or you can think back to a time recently that did spark something in you, and sit with that. The feeling might shift and change, and that’s okay, follow that, too. I’m a pretty strong sensate, so I get body information in sensation as it shifts. You might get words or pictures or something entirely different. The key is to follow it, and not to direct it—that would be Doing. For example, if a flighty feeling in your stomach leads to a memory of when your Aunt Muriel blamed you for pulling the tires off your cousin Timmy’s Tonka truck (and you both knew it was Timmy who did it, that dunce!) don’t get lost in the memory, just know that it is there and stay with the feeling.
That’s it. But don’t shortchange the process, stay with it until the feeling dissipates on its own. Yea, it can feel like you’re just watching your cells divide, but you can’t set a feeling that limits you free by timing it with a stopwatch.
When you’re done, send this to five of your friends!