10-21-18 To Feel

To Feel

To Feel:  To have an intuitive awareness, a sense of, a connection with.                                                                  

Addictions of all kinds are emotionally charged and are fixations of the mind. They are conceptual, rigid, and based in fear. We can be emotionally attached to avoidance, aggression, or being needy. We do not deny that problems in life occur. Working through any difficulty is essential; if we permit any denial or grasping to continue to dominate us, we’ll always feel an underlying sense of unease and walk on the shady side of the path. The sun shines, even if we have made clouds that obstruct our view of it. We must go through stages of working through our pain and those things that deny us a sense of ease and open awarenessIn my addiction, I am emotionally attached to getting something or avoiding something, or just not caring. I used people to get what I want, with no thought of how they were affected. I got irate when I felt someone didn’t understand my needs, with no consideration or capacity for understanding their needs. They were just objects to use that I had little feeling for or connection with. I didn’t care, just as long as I got what I wanted from them. I can still do this in smaller ways, behaviors which still bring suffering.

I used to feel that my addiction was helping me to feel alive, when all it was really doing was masking any problems I needed to look at. I was slowly rejecting and killing myself. I couldn’t feel much at all, except for a sense of wrongness. I had no idea that I could do something about what seemed a vicious circle of destruction. I was blindly stuck in fear and confusion. 

To grow out of such a mental state, we have to develop a sense that it’s safe to stay with our discomfort and not look for alternatives to how we’re feeling; that it is completely safe and even useful not to look for alternatives. Another way of looking at this is to say that we have a sense of warmth for the uncomfortable energy of the present moment, for the raw quality of energy, regardless of how irritating it is. Instead of being ashamed of being all caught up, we begin to regard it as a valuable place to be. And the most powerful time to do this is when we are all caught up. We start where we are and work slowly and patiently, without aggression towards ourselves.

Meditation is a valuable tool for learning to sit with who we are, accept what is there, and to not attach to our thoughts and feelings, but to appreciate them and let them go. We begin to find a calmer, more stable place (that was already there).

When we first begin recovery, we have a difficult time because we begin to actually feel emotions that we’ve been masking for so long. This makes us uncomfortable, and we’re used to avoiding discomfort with a drug or behavior.  We do not have to be afraid of what we’re feeling right now.  We do not have to look for alternatives or be ashamed of what we’re feeling in this moment. Instead, we can just let our warmth toward the wound be there as the working basis. It is about truly nourishing ourselves. 

We have to be brave enough to feel and understand what is going on. We need to ground ourselves in our sense of feeling, where we’re stimulated without thought or concept. We touch into our fears, feel them, and step through them the best we can. We recognize when we are attaching or obsessing about our fears, we may keep reliving and repeating them to ourselves or others, which only keeps them alive and active. Beyond fear is our freedom, peace and joy.

When we take an honest look at our behaviors without our usual defenses of denial, prejudices, and manipulations, we may not like what we see. So we can either shut down, or, if we find the courage, begin to welcome the fact that we are growing, which will involve change. We begin to be glad that we’re seeing what has so burdened us that we could not function well, or at all. We start to have a sense of gratitude that we’re seeing more clearly, and welcome the opportunity to grow and begin dropping our heavy chains. Every day we should bring our awareness to what we are denying ourselves through fear or selfish behavior. What’s holding you back? Look at it, work with it and best you can, let it go and move forward. Every day we can commit to growth.  

When we enter the present moment with curiosity, openness and acceptance, we let go of our judgments and become enchanted and delighted, surprised and vibrantly alive. In my addiction, I was so out of touch with any reasonable sense of reality. The trip out of my denial was, and still can be, difficult at times, but it is so rewarding to learn to stand up straight, look myself in the eye (in the mirror), appreciate my life, and feel I am a worthy, healthy person. What a feast! 

There may be times when you feel you’d like to take a drink, do a drug, or engage in your old behaviors. Ok…so what? It would be a miracle if you did not have those thoughts sometimes, based on your long-term past behavior. But now you know that it’s just a feeling of wanting to escape that you’re experiencing, and that it’s not necessary anymore. It’s not who you are, it will pass. It helps to accept that what you’re feeling is only for the moment. Love yourself all the more, and find something healthy to engage in.

It’s like your life is a series of photographs. You take one photo after another. There is a sense of just opening to the next moment. As long as you keep looking at one picture, you’re missing what’s going on NOW and are stuck. Are you stuck in your story? Do you keep replaying it? Let go and feel what this moment is, then let go and feel _______. This is what “disowning” means. The photos are there and taken, but there is no one owning them. There are just these moments of warmth in which we communicate with feelings, not judgments. And we no longer identify with what we consider our poor, miserable, separate selves.

What you are now comes from what you have experienced. What you will be, comes from what you permit yourself to experience NOW.

And most importantly, there is a sense of enormous simplicity. Just simplicity. We make life complicated when it is actually simple. How do you dig a deep hole? One shovel full at a time. How do you fill the hole in? One shovel full at a time. Be patient, be consistent. Are you filling in or digging deeper today?

Our mind is the source of both happiness and suffering.  Emotions are temporary states of mind. Don’t let them destroy you. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.

Feel what you are doing. From working with an addiction, or a behavior that could use some smoothing out, to walking into a room, picking up a glass, sitting down, listening to someone. Instead of chasing after or avoiding so many different things, begin to feel your life, very simply as it unfolds. Be there. 

Don’t be attached to anything. Just be mindful of whatever there is to see and what you do. This is the way to the truth. Be natural, don’t manipulate. You are most worthy and capable, and when you walk in that truth, you shine.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.

Heart Of Recovery web site    fcheartofrecovery.com