As I write this there is a storm raging outside my window. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Driving on highway 11 was treacherous and I had to go much slower than I prefer. But the reality of the situation is this: the storm is indeed raging no matter what I’d prefer. The roads are icy and to stay on the road I know to go slow. I could rage against the weather but it doesn’t care about what I prefer. It just is.
Reality can be a hard pill to swallow. Especially if I wanted and hoped for something quite different. But when I look at the facts of something, it doesn’t matter what I want or hope for. The reality is right in front of me and to argue against facts is to create an experience that supports delusion. To drive fast when the roads are icy will likely give me the experience of sliding into the ditch rather than my hoped for experience of getting to work quickly.
The fact is the storm will pass. It may last all day. It may be done by noon. I can look at weather trends and make an educated guess as to what may happen next but I still don’t really know until it’s over. My only choice in the matter is to respond to the fact that the storm exists and to do the things I need to take care of myself until it passes.
When internal storms happen, they are no different from the weather. They will pass through. They don’t hold the whole truth of the experience we call life but they still deserve our validation and support to move through. Not many of us were taught to see emotion as a friend, as information that comes in as felt perception, as something that changes constantly, as something we don’t have to give any meaning to, just simply feel. All we’re required to do is to hold the energy of emotion with kindness and gentleness as it passes through.
Many of us identify so strongly with our emotions we say “I am angry,” rather than “I feel angry.” None of us are our emotions but we certainly do feel them if we allow ourselves to. The purpose of our minds is to focus our attention on what we feel, validate the feeling with kindness and compassion and when it’s ready, the emotion shifts and we’re able to see the truth underneath.
The tough part is: there are no short cuts. It takes as long as it takes. We either move with our experience of life or we fight it when it gives us something we don’t want. Learning to navigate in what is true is a delicate and sometimes dangerous art. The only way to navigate is to face facts and be honest – not an easy task when many of us were punished for telling the truth and rewarded for lying. We learn to perpetuate this internal violence by punishing ourselves when we tell the truth and rewarding ourselves for lying.
The easy part is: honesty simplifies things. If something is becoming complicated in your mind, look for where you aren’t being honest and look at that with deep compassion for yourself. Being compassionate means starting where you actually are not where you think you should be. If you’re feeling afraid, open your heart to feeling fear. If you’re feeling ecstasy and it feels like too much, open your heart to feeling that too. There is no “right” emotion to feel. They are all colours on a spectrum and add different texture to life.
As you’re learning to move through life in a way that is truthful to who you really are underneath all you were told to identify with, you won’t always be supported by the people you hoped would support you. What you experience may not be at all what you envisioned or intended. You may feel terrified, shaky and alone. The next day you may feel excited, energetic and connected to all that is. No matter what arises, you will be taking 100 percent responsibility for your experience on this planet. And those emotions too shall also pass as you feel them and hold them gently in your heart.