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I cried as I stretched on my yoga mat this morning.
These were tears of gratitude.
In many ways, the last two years have felt difficult. I’ve been forced to face my biggest fears, feel into my deepest pains, unearth the unconscious demons that ruled and governed so many of my knee-jerk reactions, habits, and patterns—ways of living in the world.
I’ve realized fears I didn’t know I had and finally allowed myself to feel pain and heartache I’d never even let myself know I held within me.
This hasn’t been entirely conscious—it’s coming from a space deep within me. A wiser, deeper, more all-knowing space that’s said—it’s time.
So many of us avoid our discomfort at all possible costs—and not only in the most conscious, obvious ways. This avoidance can be so subtle that we don’t even understand what’s happening—the impulse to do something or go somewhere when we feel the slightest itch of discomfort beginning to brew in our chests. Subtly refusing to look at the places we sense will cause us some element of pain.
We flee when things get rough—when we feel scared or unsure…when we’re triggered.
We flee from ourselves—abandon ourselves.
Avoid tending to the places within ourselves that are just wanting and needing to be heard.
We bury the pain and the discomfort; we stuff it down deep inside of us and “run” away from it—although, we can’t really run anywhere.
We think we’ve hidden those things that cause us fear, but they still live and breathe inside us. They don’t leave us just because we don’t want to look at them. They don’t dissolve just because we refuse to acknowledge that they exist.
We can’t escape ourselves.
Most of us don’t even know we do this—ignore, avoid, run from the things that cause us fear—until, somehow, the light of consciousness shines its beam upon these spaces.
We don’t even know we’re afraid because we’ve buried these parts too, banished them to some peripheral part of our unconscious, kept them securely tucked in a distant part we think will be difficult to access.
Until one day, a similar situation to one that caused us pain in the past occurs again—the type of thing we usually flee from, yet somehow, this time—we can’t run.
We can’t go anywhere. Our hearts won’t let us. Our deepest, most innermost selves won’t let us move.
So, we’re forced to see. We’re forced to acknowledge. We’re forced to feel.
We see the fear; we feel it—intimately.
We finally become aware of the depth of what’s been buried within us.
It’s time we become acquainted.
There’s no choice but to feel it. This time, we can’t run from it.
A part of us wants to flee, to act in those same patterned, conditioned, habitual ways, but—we can’t.
Some wiser part of us understands that this is an opportunity to choose differently—we’re being asked to behave differently.
A part of us wants to escape, but we know we can’t go anywhere.
Yet, we still feel the pain.
We come face-to-face with the parts of us that we’ve ignored, avoided, or banished. We feel the immensity of what we’ve always kept at bay. We feel the intimate complexity of our deepest insecurities.
And we finally understand we have to feel these things.
We have to meet them, sit with them, become acquainted with them. It can be painful as hell, but it’s the only way they’ll ease their grip—it’s the only way they’ll release their unconscious power over our thinking and behavior. It’s the only way we’ll be free.
We have to look directly into these spaces.
And feel them.
This is how we show up for ourselves.
We abandon ourselves when we refuse to feel our feelings, when we actively run from the things that cause us fear.
We have to sit with the pain, the fear, the uncertainty—the immense feeling that accompanies our triggers and deepest insecurities.
We must feel them completely. Sit, cry, energetically convulse.
It may feel like we’re literally, physically falling apart. But we must stay with ourselves—especially in these moments. We have to hold space for ourselves in the way these scared, tender parts of us have always wanted and needed.
We have to feel them; we have to give ourselves love and attention by feeling them.
These triggers—the things that scare us, the feelings, experiences, emotions we desperately attempt to avoid—are our lessons. The things we’re meant to learn from and explore.
We might not have the answers to everything that shows up. In fact, we won’t—if we did, they wouldn’t be our lessons.
But we can be willing—willing to sit, to learn, to feel. To allow. To surrender. To understand, heal, learn, and grow. Be willing to shed the heavy layers that have blocked us from the light in our hearts, from the depth of the love in our souls.
I’m not completely free of all of my fears, but when I see how I react now, how I feel them in my body, what they trigger in me now, compared to what they did a couple of years ago…it almost astonishes me. I’m stronger, more stable, more secure—more resilient and able to endure.
We free ourselves by tending to our emotions—by acknowledging them, allowing them, and feeling them. By listening to them, but refusing to allow them to dictate our lives any longer.
And sometimes, by taking action steps that directly move into and through them. Even when it hurts. Even when we’re scared.
We show up for ourselves by being there for ourselves.