Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
I've been noticing lately a persistent thought ticker-taping across my brain, "I don't want to feel (fill in the blank)..."
As in, I don't want to be scared about the future of our country or the safety of our (and my) children.
I don't want to be mad/frustrated/pissed about the lies I hear uncovered in US politics, entertainment, ... everywhere.
"I don't want to feel." And the funny thing is - of course I want to feel it.
I want to feel all these things, because I know that it is through feeling that I get to healing. And yet, so many people, articles, books and media are telling us not to feel. Several weeks ago, a friend sent me this incredible New York Times essay written by Leslie Jamison.
Anger is a hot topic these days, and even more interesting when the emotion is extended beyond white men. We see anger coming out in domestic violence, self-harm, addiction, road rage, not to mention school shootings in the US.
So is it any surprise that I'm afraid to feel? You may have seen that viral video where Uma Thurman talks about not wanting to speak "until I feel less angry." Huh.
I get that. We don't want to say things we will regret. But is there more to it? Is there a... stifling of the emotion?
I know I do this, feel like I should stifle the anger or change it immediately into something else. I want to be jolly, I want to be sincere and honest and kind and loving.
I feel a little bit conflicted about this, about expressing anger in particular. I believe this is likely because I believe in the constructionist view of emotion. I believe that our brains are predictive based on past events, past senses and the stories we attach to those sensory responses. So we, in essence, create our emotions. More on that topic another time.
But anyhow, if we (our brains) are creating our reality at every moment.. does that mean I have control over my emotions? Can I truly stifle the anger? Can I change it immediately into something else?
What I have found is - no. I can't stifle it.
I use my emotions as information on what to do next. Anger is telling me that something is not right, that I need to alter my boundaries or speak up. Fear is protective, and in the absence of true danger, I can move through it.
And the how?
For me it is about quieting the body and quieting the mind. Dropping out of the stories and into my body as the learning tool it is designed to be.
It allows me to move, to jump, sing and to speak up.
You gotta feel it to heal it.