How comfortable are you “feeling uncomfortable feelings?”
During my 20’s and 30’s I experienced my parent’s divorce, my brother’s suicide, and the death of my mother and father. All of the pain, sadness, betrayal, anger and abandonment these losses brought up, left me with a deep desire to stuff, ignore or run from strong emotions. Understandably, I was afraid that if I truly allowed myself to stay with my feelings, I’d surely be swallowed by them. Then, I learned that the opposite is true: we have to “feel it, to heal it.”
As a transformational coach/speaker/author, I teach adults how to come into balance through the art and science of self-care. A big piece of my work has been learning how to be with strong or uncomfortable feelings and to not intellectualize or “positive thought” these away. I often tell my intense, passionate 17-year-old son that feelings are like the weather in Texas—constantly shifting and changing like storm clouds overhead. In fact, meditation teacher Tara Brach says that on average, 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 soulful management consultant who lives outside of Asheville, North Carolina has been my biggest teacher around this theme. He regularly 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 think most people have this reaction.
Over time I’ve found the more we’re able to just be with what we’re feeling, the more we are 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 (read more about polarities) and contrary to what we might think—we actually begin to feel more alive and less fearful.
And we begin to have breakthroughs that were never possible before.
Having tea with these unexpected visitors (as the 13th century poet Rumi calls them in his poem, The Guest House) 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.
Lately my family has had the opportunity to dance with the emotion of anger. But rather than run for the hills from all that this has brought up for us, my husband and I intend to sit quietly with this visitor and inquire to see what gifts he/she has brought us. The welcome mat is out. The kettle is on.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Schedule me to help your team, organization or employees feel more energized, creative and resilient in 2020! My primary work is speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance, release stress & cultivate resiliency through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s a 50-minute keynote, 90 minute interactive workshop or a half or full-day leadership retreat, this is where I shine. Learn more here.
- Join me for a self-renewal retreat & embrace new ways of being in 2020. On Sat., Feb. 29th, I will be facilitating Restructuring: A Visioning & Meditation Retreat on the beautiful 500-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Preserve outside of Austin, TX. Open to men/women and only two spots left! Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on Renee here.