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December 13, 2018

Letting it All Out – The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

I screamed louder than I ever had before. When you think about it, how often do we really give ourselves permission to explode – when it’s not in the heat of an argument? It can be easier sometimes to express anger or rage when there’s a human being to serve as the backboard for it. Even if that human being is us.

I thought I lost my baby. Fur baby, to be clear, but love can take any form. I thought the universe was giving me some sick, unexpected lesson on non-attachment, and the realization of the eternal nature of all things.

I was in anguish. Fifteen years serving as caretaker for such a delicate life. My cat’s presence in my life helped me see the depth and tenderness of this existence. I am always touched by her sweetness. Not a day goes by I don’t appreciate her being. She’s taught me gentleness, lifetimes of lessons on love, how to care for another being. How to listen and speak without words. How deeply I can appreciate the miracle of life.

I didn’t even know I had it inside of me. It started as a frustrated grunt and, like dropping a lit match into a bucket of kerosene, a bellowing of emotion shot up from the lowest part of my abdomen to my throat and out of my mouth.

It could have been frightening, I’m sure, if someone were to have seen it. It felt like I had exorcised some horrible entity from my being. But I was not afraid. It helped me realize something. When we aren’t afraid of the emotions that need to flow through us, we are free.

Later that evening when I had accepted the search would have to resume the following day, she returned, unscathed and a little shaken. What a relief to know my girl was okay and safe in her home!

The next day, strangely, I felt like I was totally back to normal. All those hours of desperation, hysterical crying, and cursing out the universe, and you’d think I’d still be a little shaky or processing the event. However, I believe it was largely due to me releasing the buildup of emotion, which allowed me to come back to center so quickly.

Life isn’t going to stop throwing all types of things at us. It’s meant to stir up the whole spectrum of human emotions. Rather than reaching for something to numb our pain or distract us from whatever’s happening, we must learn how to sit with ourselves and the experience as it’s happening. The richness of the lesson is often entangled in the discomfort of what gets brought up. It’s often our resistance to feeling certain emotions which actually binds us and inhibits our growth.

Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, writes, “When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

When we try to cover up our emotions and push them down, thinking they’re “bad” or it’s “unspiritual”, we are afraid. We think we are the emotion that is flowing through us, rather than the one experiencing it.

Working through the emotions doesn’t mean dwelling in them either. There is a sweet spot and a place of empowerment and fearlessness when we realize we don’t have to run from our feelings. When we can acknowledge the different emotions that come up and remember it’s a vital part of the journey, we find our anchor in times of uncertainty. More important perhaps than just knowing for ourselves, we serve as a reminder for others that there is unshakable strength in vulnerability.

When we don’t identify with the emotion moving through us, and see it rather as an aspect of our experience, we connect more deeply to who and what we really are. We are the experiencer, not the experience. Like clouds passing through the blue sky.

As I chanted “Ra Ma Da Sa” in a yoga class this morning, after having let out a similar release of emotion on my way there, tears came to my eyes. We are all given this breath – prana, or life force. We have been given enough to last us our entire lives. And we can do so many things with it. We can use it to sing, to chant beautiful mantras, to send out healing intentions to ourselves and our planet. We can use it to scream until we cry, thus getting to the root of the challenging emotion. We can use it to hurt another. And we can use it to ask for forgiveness.

It’s all a cycle. We don’t always get it right, but the universe keeps providing us with breath, so we can keep trying again and again. How’s that for unconditional love?

Now that I feel the unconditional nature of this agreement, I am less afraid of expressing my emotions, no matter how conventionally ugly they might seem. I know that “perfect” is not synonymous with pretty, and I allow myself to navigate through different experiences as they come up. I love knowing the universe is always holding that space for me, and allowing me to be perfect in all my imperfection.

The beauty that is revealed after your storm passes lies in the courage you offer to us, as we go through ours.

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