To feel is to heal
Quite simply, feeling is the doorway to healing. As a human being, one of our strengths is the ability to feel - to feel and connect emotionally, experience physical sensations and travel through the not-so-linear process of healing.
Oftentimes, the thing that we most don’t want to feel and continue to push down and neglect, is the thing that becomes the unease and causes our problems. This is the thing we most need to allow ourselves to feel, sit with and address. The only way to heal, is literally to rest with it and tend to the wound that needs attention.
Sit with whatever needs tending to. Feel it. It’s going to hurt. But every moment that you allow yourself to embrace and fully experience the painful, uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable feelings, you are doing the work. Every moment that you are hurting, you are healing. Know this, the only way out is through. Sitting with these feelings rather than of disengaging, neglecting or completely distracting ourselves is the real work.
Once we learn to appreciate and understand that doing the work is not only hard, as oppose to easy, and is necessary and an important part of our healing process, we are able to silence our inner-critic which persistently tries to convince us that feeling pain means that we are doing something wrong. Understanding the true nature of our work, allows us to expand our self-compassion as we journey through the healing process and encounter our uncomfortable feelings head on.
So, in the moments when you feel most uncomfortable, with the all-familiar tightness in your chest and the shortness of your breath, while gasping for air, know that it is in these moments that you are healing. Experiencing our pain – even if it is only for brief moments at a time – is work. The true work of living on this Earth and of being human. We too often fall into the trap of attempting to distract ourselves from the existential pain, hoping that a flurry of motion, can become a quick fix. We become addicted to quick-fixes, thinking that we are being productive. But in all truth, we are merely running away from the real work.
Which, I guess, beseeches the question: why do this work, if it causes so much discomfort, unease and difficulty? What do we gain for expending such mental and physical effort into doing this kind of work?
The answer: we are granted the opportunity to live our essential truth, meaning making the conscious effort to feel the spectrum of our pain - magnificent and minor. It means giving ourselves the permission to feel our emotions as they are, and clear ourselves of the pressures to conform, perform, and self-delude. When we choose to act in harmony with our deepest feelings, life becomes simpler.
The next time you are hurting, uncomfortable, or lonely, feel and sit with your pain. Embrace the discomfort. Find solace in the hurting. Feel as much of it as you can bear. Knowing, that this pain is a necessary step on your journey towards healing.
And always remember:
You are doing your best.
You are healing at exactly the right pace.
You are doing the work.
Your work has meaning.
It is serving a purpose.
It will serve you.