With the movement from one phase of life to another comes the opportunity to grow. To fully experience the transition. To consciously feel every feeling that is part of the journey. And, to see the beauty in that. Even the sad and scary parts are beautiful, if we can just allow them to be.
As I feel my way through the sale of one business and the emergency of another, it's a rollercoaster ride. Like those rides, it's a continual and moving feast of emotions each and every day; sometimes each and every minute. It's exciting, then it's scary, and then feelings of terror arrive, along with memories of times when I was harshly judged for expressing myself, just as I am here. Those memories are extremely painful and hard to fathom when all I have ever done is come from a place of love. But, I guess it says more about those people and where they are at than it does about me. I need to keep reminding myself of this when that pain surfaces again. If I look for the lesson for myself, whilst feeling the pain, but not dwelling on it for too long, I'm able to make decisions for myself that ensure I do not put myself in that position again.
Choosing to live a conscious life, one in which I allow all of my feelings, is challenging. As difficult as it is at times, it is the only existence I will ever choose. In my earlier years I numbed my feelings with alcohol and food, but that didn't work, the more I squashed them down, the more emotionally unwell I became.
For any of us, putting ourselves out there in a public way can be intimidating. And, making big changes in our lives can be frightening. Often it is not only our own fears that arise, but those of our friends, families, followers and acquaintances. We can get well-meaning people asking us if we are sure, telling us we are brave or stating that they'd never do such a thing. Being aware of what others are saying is equally as important as being aware of our own thought processes. If we can notice these comments (and sadly at times, criticisms) we can more easily fend them off in our mind, to quickly come back to our own thinking and our own reasons for doing what we are doing.
All of these feelings are very normal and natural responses to change, and they are okay; they are just feelings. If we can embrace all feelings they cannot hurt us; if we try to run or hide from them though, it's another story. Like a fierce and hungry wolf they will hunt us down and consume us.
This 3-step process is one I find very helpful:
1. Let every feeling surface. Catch those fleeting thoughts and identify the feeling, whether of sadness, anger, hurt, frustration or joy. Connect with the feeling, name it, and then be in that emotion; really feel it, if even for a few seconds.
2. Remind yourself why you feel that way. If you're feeling hurt, think about why you're feeling that way. What happened to cause that feeling?
3. Make a decision. In your mind, name what you can do avoid putting yourself in that position again.
With his quote, the only way out is through, Robert Frost was so right. There are no shortcuts to personal growth. Even if we read all of the books, repeat affirmation after affirmation, we still have to do the real work. And that work, is our emotional work. It is feeling all of our feelings and learning to trust that they are there to keep us safe, but also to help us grow.