I am a big fan of embracing and accepting my emotions these days. I consider them tides now that rise and fall and are like waves that would like us to ride them into what every shore they are breaking. And even though it can feel exhausting to be hollowed our or broken open by grief like I was yesterday, I am so grateful now for my body’s ability to surrender to that tide rather than resist it’s natural flow.
I was thinking today of how braced my body became over years. One of the consequences of not opening up to our feelings is that we hold our breath. We may have been taught to do this by a parent or other social conditioning, we may have been threatened if we were angry or felt sad with a punishment and so we had to freeze, or suck it up, or we may have tried to fight or fly away and been stopped, like when my Mum pulled my arm out of my socket when I was only three as I was trying to get away from her.
Yesterday at the crematorium as they played the song You’ll Never Walk Alone I really felt my abandonment wound triggered. Gerry was far from alone in his cancer journey, Carmel listed in her eulogy all the things done for them. I thought of my own breast cancer surgery where I had little in the way of support, a mere skeleton, but that is far from the only time I walked alone in my own life, especially after my father’s death in 1985. This is not meant to be a post about self pity, only an attempt to say I had it really tough for so many years and validating that and feeling it is painful. It is admitting to a truth. I was not part of a close knit loving family like Carmel and Jerry and it’s been very hard.
Anyway surrendering to my feelings felt good yesterday even if quite uncomfortable at times. It is not easy for many of us if we were never validated in the past. But I truly do believe the fastest way to freedom is to feel our feelings and make sense of them, emotions are nothing less than energy in motion and energy wants to move out and through, having to bury it all inside has terrible consequences for us. Embracing and feeling our grief is not automatic and complicated grief that is buried can be left undealt with for years with the result losses pile upon losses. This is what I experienced as my sobriety unfolded with each funeral of a male friend or father of a friend, which would tap into all the pain over the loss of my Dad and his hurtful treatment of me over years as well as his stumbling attempts at kindness. All these feelings were was buried for so many years in my addiction and probably my fear around males generated difficult reactions too the threatened intimacy between us. These feelings can be a a potent cocktail when associated losses are being triggered in us from the unconscious.
When we grieve I believe we have to deal with feelings of powerlessness. When someone we love dies or something is taken it shows we are not in control. If we fight against the process we can end up blocked in my experience, far better to let ourselves surrender to what needs to move through us, reshape and change us.