what on earth is going on
to make this feeling surface again
pushed it back for so long
but to the surface it madly spins
so much strength to carry on like this
the flood gates are opening within
so numb nothing hurts
even where the flame turns blue
the courage to hold your heart outside
everyone can see all the scars
the relief of honesty
the walls tumbling tumbling
what on earth is going on
to see all these images again
learning how to feel
how to exhale the pain
how to embrace the joy
how the heart can be opened to capture everything at once
not running away but standing still
there’s more courage in healing
and feeling for once
have it all piercing the soul
what on earth is going on
take a breath and dive in
Posts Tagged ‘emotions’
what on earth is going on
My hand has hovered over the “deactivate account” button many times in the last two weeks — but, I can’t seem to drop it down and sever my ties… my connection to the people on the other end. The reasons why I have thought so often about pressing that button are so juvenile that to tell you here would only give you way too much insight into the 12-year-old mind that often overtakes my psyche — so, I won’t. But the reasons why I can’t follow through — why I didn’t and am convinced I won’t follow through might be worth sharing… so, I will.
I can already see the puzzled, “what the hell is she talking about”, look on many faces as you read this. I can also see the smiles beginning to curl around the ends of the lips as the recognition makes it’s self known to you others. In this instance, I’m speaking of Twitter. But, before I lose those of you who don’t use twitter, let me say… it’s about life and connection and friendship and encouragement and anger and intrigue and crushes and flirting.
A few years ago, my 10th high school reunion was scheduled. I very much wanted to be a part of this celebration — to see and to talk and to hug the people who I hadn’t seen for 10 years — the same people who just 10 years earlier I couldn’t make it through a day without connecting with on some level. As fate and timing would have it, it didn’t seem too possible for me to attend. My grandmother had just died and I drove home from Missouri (8 hours) on the day of the reunion as my daughter, then six months old, screamed the entire journey (8 hours). I reached home crying, frazzled, in need to run away and with no intention on making it to the reunion that would begin in less than an hour. My parents practically threw me in the shower and shoved me out the door — so, I went. I had a great time that I can still see vividly in my thoughts, 14 years later. The connection and the flirting and the anger and the friendship were all there — waiting for me to drink it (and a few margaritas) in. Even though I hadn’t spoken to many of these friends in 10 years.
This scenario repeated itself during my 20th high school reunion. My father was scheduled for surgery to remove his cancer infested lung the day after my reunion and I was in no mood to attend. But my best friend, my soul sister, had flown in from Montana (at my constant prodding) to attend. So, there I was — being thrown into the shower, being forced to dress-up, being tossed out the door and into one of the single most wonderful nights of my life (hint: there were margaritas). Even though I hadn’t spoken to many of these people in the 10 years since the last reunion.
So… back to Twitter. I stumbled upon Twitter when I was bored and hanging out in the Alive Hospice house during my mother’s final days. I dabbled here and there until I figured it out and began chatting with some funny interesting people. One of whom, (most likely unknown to her), encouraged me to start this blog. Twitter has broken me often (again, to explain this would be to give you far too much insight into my 12-year-old mind), but it has saved me more times than I can count. I started exercising and eating healthy and losing weight and writing and expressing and sharing and connecting and laughing and joking and thinking and breathing… I started breathing. Everyday, I take a breath and locate my friends and chat. Everyday… not every 10 years.
My hand hovers, as of late. It wants to disconnect my mind from the world at my fingertips. It wants to separate me from the thing that has, at times, left me emotionally naked. But I know what the friends I’ve met have given me. I know what this blog has given me. I know what breathing and thinking and connecting and caring have given me. So, my hand may hover on occasion over that “deactivate account” button, but it won’t follow through — I won’t let it. Already this week I’ve talked to three people who I have a strong emotional connection with, I’ve chatted with three New York Times best-selling authors about dogs and treadmills and vacations, I’ve chatted with friends about their health and their jobs and their love life. I’ve connected with real people, who like me, have real lives and real feelings and real emotions. Who have you connected with?
Picture from Kind Over Matter
2. It’s important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don’t have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something that makes you miserable. Then think, “I must stay happy!” Stressful, isn’t it? Now say, “It’s okay to be as sad as I need to be.” This kind of permission to feel as we feel—not continuous happiness—is the foundation of well-being.
I enjoy being happy — we all do don’t we? I think I’m a fairly happy person — I think if you talked to the people that surround my physical world they would agree that I am generally happy. I’ve had sad things happen in my life — but who hasn’t? And when the sad things happen, I’m sad — none of us are always happy. We have to let the other emotions have their chance to shine. I think if we deny our other naturally occurring emotions, then we are denying certain aspects of ourselves. The key, perhaps, is to understand how each plays a role — how each helps you become whole.
While I was reading the article on unlearning life lessons and contemplating my own need to sometimes mask my emotions, I decided to check out the latest blog post by Martha Beck. It made me laugh. Here, in the midst of unlearning life lessons, I laughed and found some happy. Martha Beck is a very influential woman. I see her as a source of inspiration and thought — and yet she was revealing her fears, caught up in her insecurities… just like the rest of us. She was revealing that she indeed, is not always happy. Strangely enough, reading this post made me happy. Read it, I think you’ll agree.
We are happy, we are sad, we are insecure, we are mad… we just are.
I have a friend who has an awesome, happy, secure life. We were talking recently about different things that were going on in each of our lives and how we could help each other process the sometimes maddening emotional journey that we were taking, each in our own life. I was surprised that we were having such a conversation — after all, she has an awesome, happy, secure life. She told me that, right then, at that very moment, she felt so sad that it physically felt as if a weighted object was placed directly over her heart — preventing it from expanding with the happy she so often knew. I didn’t know how to respond. I wanted so desperately to give her some of her happy back — even if just for a minute. But instead, I told her to be sad. It was ok. Be sad for as long as she needs to be — because I knew it wouldn’t last forever. So there we sat — sad, staring, reflecting. Just sad.
Emotions are natural. We don’t work at them. We don’t wait around for the next one to take hold and carry us to a place of laughter or solitude or reflection. They come to us without warning and they stay for as long as they need to.
I have a happy. You do too. We all do. Sometimes I forget I have it — sometimes I lose track of it and need a little guidance to help me uncover it. But I’ve never lost it — we never lose our happy…misplace, yes. But lost, never. Let your emotions have their way with you, let them guide you in your journey. Be happy or sad for as long as you need to be — this, I understand.
Image from Kind Over Matter
I’ve learned about hugs. Laugh, but it’s true. I’m the person who when I was pregnant, if you dared touch my belly as if it were your own, I would growl. I’m the person, who never liked for people to touch me and if you dared attempt to wrap your arms around me — I never reciprocated. I’m the person who shied away from any type of physical contact with friends.
But, I’ve learned about hugs.
You know I had to google about hugs to see what was so magical, here’s what I found:
Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy, and gives the person hugged an emotional boost. You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth. A hug makes you feel good. The skin is the largest organ we have and it needs a great deal of care. A hug can cover a lot of skin and gives the message that you care. It is also a form of communication. It can say things you don’t have words for. The nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give one without getting one.
Wow. That sounds pretty serious. Like this hugging thing could be medically related and therefore not just make me sappy (although, I’ve learned about sappy too). I had a friend tell me that a hug that lasts for at least 6 seconds can actually make you feel better. So, of course, I googled and here’s what I found out about that:
When you hug, oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.
Now that is significant — I think. Hugging can actually help you trust other people — trust your friends. That statement alone should probably make you go and hug a friend.
I love to hug my kids — that I can do. But maybe I don’t hug them enough as they get older. Maybe the hugs seem to fade with age — I’m sure that’s not the way it is supposed to be. So, I’ve made a conscious decision to give my kids ample 6 second hugs each day — when I wake them up, when I see them off to school, when they greet me each day I arrive home, when I tuck them in at night. With them, it’s easy.
I’ve always had a certain longing to be one of those girls who can hug and touch and hold and not feel completing incapacitated by it. They always make their friends feel so good. My youngest daughter’s kindergarten teacher is one of those girls — she gave me a 6 second hug just today. In turn, I passed it on to a friend I hadn’t seen in a month or so — maybe she passed it on too, that’s what we do as girls — I’m learning that too.
I’m learning that we are emotional creatures — (you’re gonna love this poem by Eve Ensler), some of us just learn it later than others.
So, if you see me, expect a hug. Evolution can be a wonderful thing.
I think there are many emotions we have as normal feeling humans that are quite beneficial. I mean, really, if they didn’t serve a purpose, why would we even experience them. Love, hate, anger, jealousy, pity, empathy, angst — and rage. Rage seems to be the bad guy in the feelings department. If you rage, you are out of control and that’s bad. If you don’t rage, you lack passion and that’s bad. Even the word itself evokes certain powerful emotions that may be too difficult for some to face head on.
I’ve been thinking about rage a lot lately. And, honestly, like many of you, I can’t really even say the word without thinking about Dylan Thomas and his words:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Thomas made rage really cool didn’t he?
But, clearly, he is speaking about raging against death. Some people rage against death I suppose, maybe I have too. But, really rage can creep up during other times more often than at death. And I would bet that the majority of people don’t think rage (other than at death) is very cool.
I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath lately. I would not recommend reading her for long periods of time — she was angry, she was mad, her words reflect a woman who was beyond broken — she raged. The other side of rage. The side that makes us uncomfortable. The side we don’t want to see much less experience. I tried to find an excerpt from one of her pieces to share, but — I hesitate. You can read them for yourself.
So rage. Sometimes is cool. Sometimes it’s scary. But, I think that we all experience this at some point. Maybe we keep it hidden because having someone witness your rage might be the proverbial deal breaker in any relationship. It can be ugly. It can be very non-Dylan Thomasy.
The butterflies and unicorns stay near the surface, the things we want people to remember. The good. The funny. The sparkle.
The rage has to take it’s place below — hidden away. Only to be let out if all the conditions are correct, But, sometimes, I think it’s ok to let it out. I think it’s ok to let it breathe and have a life. I think it’s ok to rage.