Passing through the eye of the needle.

There are occasions in life where it truly feels like what we are experiencing or feeling is going to have its way with us – it will not end, there’s no way through and the pain is going to kill us, or maybe even send us over the edge. 

Emotional pain is actually painful physically. We all feel it in different places. Maybe it’s our tummies, our chests, our throats. The depth of our grief, our hurt and our woundedness is often overwhelming, it feels bigger than us, like something else ‘has’ us. We find ourselves in the grip of something we are unable to do anything about – and we so want to feel better. 

I’m writing this because I want us all to appreciate and know that this is one aspect of what it means to be an emotionally alive human being. It’s normal to feel. The feelings are natural, it’s our relationship to them that creates a bigger issue.

Some of us, in avoidance of feeling, or because we fear feeling / dislike it, leave marriages, quit jobs, make huge changes. It’s powerful. Our emotions have huge potency.

They’re one significant way we make meaning of life. They have the capacity to guide and shape the course of our lives. In healthy and unhealthy ways.

And so much of our culture, our education, the society we live in, tells us to press on, push it down and continue, pull ourselves together. And so we do.

Feelings that rise up to be felt get pushed back down and added into a pile for ‘later’ or ‘when I have time’. And we get in the habit of not feeling. We sometimes experience that we don’t feel at all – or that we don’t know what feelings are, how to express ourselves and how to move through and welcome emotion. 

To educate ourselves on emotions, to welcome this intelligent, beautiful, meaningful and important part of being human is how we all need to grow (there’s no end to becoming skilful at feeling) and with open hearts and the ability / capacity to feel, we can embrace life more fully, find more faith in ourselves and others and truly be with others when they need us too.

The perfect relationship is one that doesn’t allow you to stay the same. 

We spend so much time wishing our partners were different, complaining to ourselves that they’re not responsible enough, they don’t make sense to us, they’re unable to be who we need them to be. Or they simply drive us nuts with how they chew their food or take too long to put their shoes and socks on. 
All our relationships have deep potential for growth and learning. And the intimate ones count for way more because they’re more potent, there are less and less boundaries to keep us in check with our behaviour. So more of us gets revealed quite naturally.

The more intimate the relationship, the more unfiltered, the more raw we are. And this intimacy is extreme fertile ground; for wounding, for joy, for rage and for beauty. 

What if we could birth a new narrative for relationships? 

What if a relationship is a sacred learning ground which is designed by our less obvious, more powerful heart and mind and which provides us with the exact curriculum for our learning in his life? 

If we had this in mind when we argued, how might it go differently? If we respected the choices we make as to who gets to spend time with us as intelligence beyond the telling, what would we say to ourselves when the pain hits and we feel trapped and choice-less?

Next time your partner, or your child opens up sacred ground (i.e. Drives you nuts / annoys you / irritates you / does something you think is crazy etc), what if you could feel into the sacred ground of their actions demanding that you grow and have a conversation about it with someone you trust. A really honest conversation. 

And then we may not feel alone or helpless anymore. But we can share and feel the relief of connection. And reach beyond the four walls of our sometimes emotionally prison like homes, and be in contact about this shame riddled subject with our much loved friends. 

Those friends who will frankly, and most probably, be deeply relieved that they are not the only ones in that sacred, fertile and sometimes very scary ground. But that you share experience, we are not alone. But all learning lessons and growing together and because of one another. 

Taking the First Step

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What if taking the first step is all that’s required to make the path that you’re so hoping for ? It so often feels like there’s something invisible stopping us from taking up the exercise we vowed to keep up with in the new year, or sticking to the commitment we made.  Often we relate to these life shifts as something so monumental that I may as well lapse, and give up, soon after I’ve started as we’re projecting so far into the future of this new path.

But paths are only made because we tread them. Our actions, one after the other, end up painting our entire lives – but only one small act at once.  All it takes is the step you do not want to take, the step that’s being invisibly thwarted because of a perception we hold about the bigger picture that renders us unable to act in what we know is our own best interest.

So, how about the fact that as humans we’re built for connection, for community and togetherness. And mostly we forget this – so when it’s up to us to make commitments, we feel like we have to ‘tough it out’ or ‘go it alone’.  And so often all it takes is the enrolment of another, the company of a friend, or a conversation with someone who can be in the dilemma with us.

How about we commit to one another – to walking each other home in our deepest path of healing.  What would it take to commit just to one phone call, one act of reaching out – one that you know will support you in being honest about how hard things are, how challenging you feel life is – and maybe then, we can take the step we don’t want to take – because we’re in it together, and in our togetherness, our faith is restored and our aliveness renewed ?