It’s been a big couple of months for me. I was in New Zealand for ten days, had a few days at home and then spent two weeks in Michigan with my family for Thanksgiving and then a week in Washington D.C. with my 13 year old daughter. The two of us returned to Canberra in time for Christmas, then New Year arrived with a bang and a visit by old friends. Needless to say, it’s been busy.
All of this time spent with family and friends has been delightful, fun, eye-opening, educational, stressful, tiring, beautiful, confusing, frustrating…and the list goes on and on. As you can see, I’ve had a real mix of ‘good’ emotions and ‘bad’ emotions. And I’ve spent a lot of time just being with the emotions.
So often as human beings we try to avoid our emotions. We do everything in our power to hide from them, numb them or mask them in some way. It takes courage to face one’s emotions. To sit with the emotion. To feel it. To wallow in it if necessary. To ride it through to the other side and see what comes out.
Because emotions are like a wave. They rise up in us until they break in some way and then eventually peter out. If we sit and wait, they usually reveal something to us – if we are open and receptive.
Why do human beings spend so much time, energy and money on trying not to feel what we feel?
It’s by feeling the full force of an emotion that we learn.
As children many of us learned that adults didn’t want to hear how we felt. Our feelings weren’t validated by our parents and carers. Once you get to a certain age and realise this, one starts to internalise one’s feelings. I know I did. I received such contradictory messages as a kid that I began to doubt myself and doubt my self-worth. Worthiness is an issue that has plagued me my entire life long, until recently.
As I’ve sat with my emotions over the past couple of months, I see how I can be with them and use them constructively, but they don’t need to define me.
And by sitting with my emotions it helps me be very much in the present moment.
So where am I at the present moment???
In the space between…
The space between two things.
The space between 2017 and 2018.
The space between two careers.
When you’ve had the life I’ve had – corporate executive, busy mother, wife, daughter, socially responsible citizen – constantly giving to others and not taking time for myself – it’s difficult to slow down this much. I’ve slowed so much this week that I’ve almost stopped.
And I’ve remembered something VERY important for me.
Space is LOVE.
I need space. I need space like I need air to breathe or water to drink. By giving myself this space, I give myself love.
And through that space and that love, I can feel what I need to feel. Work through what I need to work through. Be open and quiet and listen for guidance from my inner self.
I enjoy my busy times; connecting with people, working and having fun. But for me I need to find a balance. It gets back to that balance between doing and being that I’ve written about before on this blog.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life. It’s not so easy to take a holiday from your life and sit in silence for a few days or a week or even two. If someone had told me five years ago that I would be sitting here in silence for two weeks on my own, I would have completely freaked out. Part of me would have been intrigued, but I would have quickly thought of thousands of things more important to DO than for me to just sit and BE.
I would have been too scared to sit for that time and be with my feelings. Now I recognise that it is not only vital for me. It’s the fastest way for me to accept and grow. It’s only by examining my feelings – in all their beauty and/or grotesqueness – that I move forward.
And it’s in the space between emotions, between feelings, where the magic happens.
I’m reminded French composer Claude Debussy said ‘music is the space between the notes’. Personally, I would go further and say that Love is the space between emotions that we allow ourselves to feel.