This is the time of year that many of us who have lost loved ones can feel particularly tender. Both of my parents and my brother died between 1992-2000. The anniversaries of their passing and the holidays–when the absence of their physical presence is often felt most strongly–can bring up a wide range of emotions that can descend quickly and unexpectedly.
As a life balance coach/speaker who teaches adults how to experience more balance/harmony in everyday life, a big piece of my work has been learning how to be with uncomfortable feelings–whether it’s pain, sadness, grief, anger, betrayal or boredom—and to not intellectualize or “positive thought” these away. I often tell my adolescent son that feelings are like the weather in Texas—constantly shifting and changing like storm clouds overhead. On average, meditation teacher Tara Brach says, a strong feeling only lasts about 90 seconds if you fully let it in. Feelings are just energy moving through our system. They come, they go.
My brother Kert, a wonderful qi gong teacher who lives outside of Asheville, North Carolina has been my biggest teacher around this theme. He constantly encourages me to allow uncomfortable feelings to come knocking, to invite them in for tea and ask them what they’re here to share.
Does hearing this make you think you’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than embrace that which you most fear? I understand, I used to be the same way.
But over time I’ve found the more we’re able to just be with what we’re feeling, the more we’re able to heal from old wounds. And, when we “feel our feelings,” we become more open and accessible to our loved ones, we’re more connected to our passions and desires, we become comfortable voicing our needs and drawing clear boundaries, we begin to harvest the gifts that come from living with the light and the dark and contrary to what we might think—we actually begin to feel more alive and less fearful.
Having tea with these unexpected visitors (as the poet Rumi calls them) actually allows us to experience more freedom, levity and ease. When we learn to fully feel what we’re feeling, we can go with the flow of life. We become more trusting and believe we can handle whatever comes our way.
As I approach my mom’s birthday this month, a time when I often feel particularly introspective, I plan to sit quietly with any visitors that may come calling and inquire to see what gifts they may bring. The welcome mat is out. The kettle is on. I’m ready.
Feeling out of sorts or kind of emotionally fragile this month? Here are four great resources to help you “feel so you can heal”:
- *Special gift* From Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life enjoy this free chapter: Peace Begins with Me: A Journey to Wholeness (check out the self-healing questions on pg 21).
- Read our most popular Life Balance Newsletter articles or work with one of our coaches.
- Join me! *New 2014 Telecourse* New Way of Being: Learning to Go With the Flow (register and learn more; starts Jan. 9th); a powerful new four week work/life balance telecourse for men/women at all life stages on Thursday evenings in January 2014.
- Savor one of my favorite poems from 13-century mystic Rumi: THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. – Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th Century Mystic Poet
P.S. Ready for a New Way of Being in 2014? Check out my just released upcoming self-renewal retreat schedule. A couple of spots left in my Dec. 20th Winter Solstice retreat in Austin!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/speaker, author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning curriculum. Her newest release is Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 11 year-old son. More on her background here.