Monday, June 8, 2015

The Weather of the Heart

Emotions. Sigh.

I envy those people who power through their emotional states without seeming to slow down or be affected.

That's not how it is with me.

Yet I know that my capacity for deep feeling ties into my creativity and empathy. Shutting down the emotions of body and soul only diminishes my human experience.

And so I learn to weather the weather of the heart.

What this means is:

I have to be aware of the signs of shutdown. It starts with a tightness in my chest, a clenching below my throat. I must stay close to this sensation. I need to keep my heart soft.

I spend much time processing my thoughts and feelings, paying close attention to their connection. This is where a journal is an incredible tool, providing an outlet to write down whatever it is noticed, felt, feared, denied. 

Sometimes it can take a while before I uncover what I'm feeling beneath every other feeling. Again, shutting down often seems the easier choice.

I used to prefer the shutdown. I became very good at it, actually.

Inevitably, though, all the repressed feelings would erupt and I'd find myself battling addictions, ignoring my true desires, and hurting others. 

Shutting off my feelings is simply closing doors and windows to the weather, living in a brick house untouched by the world. This isn't the living you and I were meant for.

As a 48-year-old woman, I'm told that emotional turbulence can have chemical roots related to perimenopause. That rings true. And yet so many of my mentor women didn't experience this turbulence, or didn't talk about it.

So I'm talking about feelings.

Once I stop being afraid of them, emotions can be as beautiful as a sneak blizzard or a summer storm. They want my attention, and when I give it, I'm able to live fully in all the elements as they change and bluster.

And I'm ready when the sun comes out. 


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