Though it may seem obvious, there is a profound difference between feeling your feelings and engaging with them at an interpretive level. Staying embodied to surging sadness, rage, worthlessness, or abandonment – as feeling and sensation – is not the same as talking to yourself about why you’re sad, when it’s going to go away, who caused it, and how it is evidence that you are not enough, that you have failed, or that something is wrong with you.
We may say – “Oh, I’m fully in my body. I’m in direct, intimate contact with the raw feelings and sensations of anger, sadness, grief, shame, and hopelessness. Don’t tell me I’m not feeling all that! I’ve ‘been sad’ for so long!” But if you will pause, slow way down, and get curious about what is most true, you may discover that often what you are in touch with is a subtle narrative that you have wrapped around your immediate experience, which is now orbiting around the aliveness.
As you engage the practice of sacred return, you may discover that in part the function of the storyline is to keep you out of the vulnerability that is erupting under the surface. In this way the narrative has served to protect you from the naked, groundless territory of somatic illumination, which you have come to believe you do not have the capacity to stay with and metabolize. While you can honor the security these strategies have provided, you may also start to ask if you truly need to be protected any longer from the transmuting and reorienting nature of love.
In this discovery it is important not to shame yourself by weaving a secondary narrative about how you’ve failed and will never ‘get it right,’ but to return with non-urgent kindness and meet what is longing to be met. You may have to come back over and over and over again, re-committing to staying with the powerful, often disturbing aliveness for short periods of time – not so long that you re-traumatize yourself or become totally overwhelmed, but long enough where you continue to build your tolerance for the intensity which is yearning to re-emerge into the wholeness that you are. But you can push yourself just a little, with a fiery sort of care and compassion, for you have capacities now that you have until now forgotten, with a commitment to no longer abandon the majesty of what you are.
We can descend underneath the storyline – and into the caverns of the body – not because the storyline is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘neurotic’ or ‘unspiritual,’ but because it is one level removed from the fire of direct experience. It is within the very core of this holy fire, in the alchemical crucible of the body, where healing emerges. In this sense, healing and transmutation is a somatic process, rather than a cognitive one. The tangles of the heart and the knots of the body are unwound in within the alive field of embodied vulnerability. Where the heart and the body go, it is there the mind will follow.
Offer yourself the benediction of presence on this new day, and watch in astonishment as a new pathway of love, care, and compassion unfolds and illuminates within you. As you become the activity of kindness and attunement to your immediate experience as it erupts in the creative field of the here and now, you will very naturally provide a holding space in which others can discover this for themselves.
This is a profound act of love that you can offer here.