What’s are your thoughts on emotional pain? To be avoided at all costs? That something must be wrong? That YOU must be wrong?
Some of the ways I’ve avoided pain are…
Mind-numbing television – check
Over-Eating – check
Over-Shopping – check
Over-Working – check
Shut down emotionally – check
Inappropriate relationships – yes, once upon a time
Alcohol and drugs – yes, once upon a time
Self harm – yes, once upon a time
So…there has been progress right? But today there is still a tendency for avoidance. Why?
Y’all know the saying…usually on the shirt of a really buff guy…
I’m not here to debate the legitimacy of the quote but rather explore the idea when it comes to emotion pain. I started exploring meditation last summer and have spent sometime, every single day, since June 2, in meditation.
Nothing obsessive about me. And how do I know? There’s an app for that.
Anywho, quite frankly, the experience has been mind altering…I want to sing from the roof tops about the difference meditation has made in my emotion life – but those close to me are tired of hearing about it – so I move on. One principle of meditation is observing…to watch your thoughts and feelings…to be aware without reacting. Now, when I say reacting…I mean avoiding pain behaviors. To sit in meditation and observe/explore emotional pain is what has been so life giving to me…an amazing, continuing journey.
Glennon writes about a similar experience in Love Warrior…she’s at a yoga class and would absolutely rather be anywhere else and is exploding in pain and despair over her life circumstance…talking to herself…
“You are here to learn how to stay on your mat and feel the pain without running out of here. Be still. So the images keep coming and I just let my tears fall and mix into my sweat. I let it all be terrifying and horrible and unfair. I sit there and accept how unacceptable it all is. I just let it be.” Pg 199
Later after the class the instructor says to Glennon…”that – what you just did? That is the Journey of the Warrior” Pg 200
Beautiful, yes? What if we looked at sitting/observing/not avoiding our emotional pain as a soul workout. We do know that pain confronted and walked through makes us stronger. Just like the physical workout strengthens our muscles, the emotional workout strengthens our soul.
The truth is…I also want to be a warrior. I don’t want to be ashamed of my past, I don’t want to be a victim of stigma, I don’t want to live in fear. I want to be brave, authentic, and to embrace this perfectly imperfect life that I’ve been given with grace, faith, and hope. And that’s why I keep coming back to the mat.
xoxox – DM