I am trying really hard to honour my adjustment period being home only a few days from a HUGE 4 month journey in Costa Rica (more to come as I unpack all the feels) but wanted to share a journal I wrote a couple of weeks before leaving. With all the emotions that arise during the holidays I felt a strong pull to share this personal experience along with a little practice for you.
Today I’m sitting on a simple yet lovely patio that over-looks the jungle’s edge in my small village home in Costa Rica. The sky is that vibrant blue that as a back-drop, makes the green of the trees come to life. If I close my eyes and focus I hear the many sounds of nature; geckos, birds, the rustling of red squirrels and monkeys. It is truly beautiful.
The question that boldly interrupts my observations is a critical one; “how can I see such beauty and feel so disheveled inside”.
My heart sinks.
Years back, maybe 10-15, I was at the height of busy. I was mastering the art of people-pleasing. I was falling asleep at night exhausted from the struggle. I buried feelings like disheveled beneath words like weak, martyr, no time and the best of all, don’t be so ungrateful, your life could be much worse.
But as I sit on my patio today, observing the beauty around me contrasted against the heavier feelings inside me I remind myself of a powerful truth; “All a feeling wants is to be heard.”
As I’ve learned to simply acknowledge my emotions I’ve found time and time again that they hold nuggets of wisdom within them. Each a point of navigation towards a happier and more fulfilling life.
Similarly, when I bury my emotions they don’t really go away. They build up like a pressure cooker and come out sides ways. Perhaps you can relate? It can look like complete lack of patience for your kids even after some time away to supposedly “recharge”. It can be the feeling of utter overwhelm while you continue to say yes to things you really don’t want to do. It can take on a physical manifestation; headaches, stomach upset, fatigue. Or, it can be beating yourself up with negative self-talk while you honour everybody else’s needs and not your own.
Hearing the Messages in Your Emotions
A powerful teaching on happiness that I learned from Dr. Robert Holden is actually not about the pursuit of happiness at all. It is that happiness is a result of our ability to sit with and learn from our unhappiness. I think of this as unwrapping the layers of built-up emotions that have cut us off from the true essence of who we are.
This is where my work begins today.
As I look out on a beautiful jungle day; blue sky, grapefruits and bananas ripening on trees in the hot afternoon sun, birds chirping back and forth, I pause. I acknowledge that as lovely as this is, its not how I feel inside.
I close my eyes. Exhale. I make a little space physically and mentally.
Then, an inhale. I deservingly receive fresh oxygen.
“I am here to listen to you” I silently tell my disheveled, “I want to understand what you’d you like me to know.”
At first. Nothing. I intuitively sense my emotions are testing me to see if I can sit in the silence so I exhale again; long and slow. Making space.
As I inhale it rises from my belly “I just need a little time. Be patient with me. So much change lately. Be patient.”
With softness and understanding, I acknowledge disheveled. I can do that for us, I can do that.
With more love and gratitude than you can possibly imagine, I thank-you for the energy you put into reading this. If you feel the tug to share your thoughts, I would be so honoured to witness them.