I’m waiting to feel motivated
and then I remember
that motivation comes
as I begin to do what needs to be done.
Feelings follow behavior.
If I were to wait
to feel like I wanted to exercise,
I might never step outside my house.
But if I put my shoes on
and walk out into the sunshine
(the wind, the rain, the hot, the cold),
then my body feels good
and my mind says,
Exercise! What a great idea.
Don’t wait to feel like you’re in the mood
to do what needs to be done.
Just begin. Take one small step.
Put one dish away.
Put one shoe on.
(Then the other.)
Once you begin,
the good feelings come.
Now go and do what needs to be done.
You can do it!
Let your heart break open
Let the sadness and the joy wash through you
don’t hold back,
be who you really are.
Whatever blocks your sadness
will also block your joy.
Feel all of it,
let your heart break open,
fully, freely alive.
Sometimes I think
I must be going through this
so that I can truly understand
someone else who is going through this…
especially when I can’t think of one good reason
to feel this way for as long I have have felt this way…
like a heavy sad blanket was thrown over me,
and it’s so large
I can’t find my way out from underneath it,
like the darkness within me
has consumed the light,
like my efforts are for nought,
like there must be something wrong with me,
because why else would this be happening,
like I could somehow choose to feel different
and yet I just don’t know how–
there must be some reason I feel this way…
Could it be that life is preparing me
to understand completely
some other being who feels this way?
Reading a book to my daughter,
a children’s story
beginning with the Irish Potato Famine
and a boy’s journey to the US…
and ending with a young girl
seven generations later,
being told by her grandfather
that the story will live
as long as someone is telling it…
My voice quavers, and I
just can’t keep reading
without that tremor of emotion
in my voice,
tears bubbling up
to the surface.
My daughter looks at me, questioning.
I tell her,
“It’s so good, it’s making me cry.”
And I’m looking into her eyes,
doing this laugh-cry.
And she doesn’t know what to do,
so she laughs and keeps looking at me.
And I think about how we’ve been told
that showing emotions is weak.
And I think, No…this is not weak.
It would be weak to pretend
I’m not feeling something,
that my heart has not been touched
by this sweet story,
weak to cover up what I’m feeling
because I’m too afraid to be vulnerable
in front of my six year old daughter.
I was strong…
I made it through to the end,
glad to be myself,
glad to share this moment
with my daughter–
writing my own story.
How do you move speech
through the emotion
when it takes over your body
and you can feel strong waves
of this raw energy
behind the benign words
that may or may not
in those outside of us?
At times like these,
only tears would relieve
some of this pressure,
but what to do
when crying isn’t appropriate?
or more precisely–
what to do when the fear
of the tears’ release looms large
On the horizon of communication?
Rather than worry about how they’ll be received–
The words come out
forced, too much power
for the meaning they carry
and it alarms those listening…
The vehemence of this emotional power
jolts and wakes those who were snoozing;
they sit up and pay attention,
they lean in, more alert.
Am I responsible for your understanding?
I cannot make you do anything.
Words are so sloppy
when it comes to these ageless, timeless
ubiquitous, uncontrollable, enigmatic
Maybe, instead of trying to process,
compare, contrast, and verbalize,
maybe, I could be crazy and just…
Maybe, just maybe,
feelings are for feeling.
There is a very fine line
between sanity and craziness,
an even finer line between
joy and sadness.
there is no line,
but the two seemingly disparate polarities
in this dichotomy we’ve created
begin to blur together,
the way watercolor paint
forms beautiful swirls
and billowing clouds of color
as the tinted water spreads
across the paper and pools
in vibrant density here and there,
mesmerizing and confusing
as the boundaries disappear
and a dreamy union emerges,
oneness, totality of vision,
overwhelming and painful and sweet.
Swimming in the quick spinning center
whirlpool of our own spreading joy and sadness
painted in our own shades of craziness and sanity
it’s hard to see the whole picture.
But if we take a step back
–or if a loved one steps in
and lifts us up
and opens our eyes–
we might see the gorgeous result
of all of this blending,
this inability to define
this nonexistence of the fine line…
Our emotions can be
a starting point
We might mistakenly believe
that meditation is about being
some peaceful, blissed out
present day Buddha…
but real life happens,
and sometimes we become
you know REAL LIFE happens,
and now we’re faced
with some pretty hefty thoughts and feelings.
Use them on your path of awakening.
Take your feelings one by one,
find their texture and their weight,
sense their location in your body.
Breathe into them and give them space.
Feel the feelings.
And as you become absorbed
in the actual experience
of feeling human emotion,
suddenly you have the ability
to empathize with others
who are feeling the same thing as you.
Your empathy is your open door
to authentic connection.
Therefore, stay open to your feelings.
When you stay open to your feelings
you stay open to all of life.
And this life needs you to be open.