You know how in Ikea, once you walk in, you have to navigate the whole maze of the store to get to the exit? Sometimes you can take a shortcut from textiles to checkout, but mostly, you have to walk all the way through. Emotions are like that. When you are in one, the only way out is through.
In two days, my family and I are moving from the suburbs of Philadelphia to Asheville North Carolina. Moving kicks up lots of emotions. The top one has been excitement, as this came together quickly, and feels completely guided by Spirit. There has also been overwhelm, love, anger, gratitude, and more excitement. The last couple of days, the feeling has been sadness. Yesterday, my husband said, “What is it going to take for you to get fun?” and my answer was, “Let me feel my sadness.”
In the past, I would have medicated away the “unpleasant” feeling of grief. Food, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, shopping, tv; any of them would have served to numb me to feelings to big to contain. Today I know that the only way out is through. When I feel my emotions fully, they run their course. We came into this world to have the whole human experience, including ALL the emotions available. You don’t always go to romantic comedies at the movies, do you? Their is a poignant sweetness to being able to mourn, or feel anger and know that some boundary we have has been trespassed by ourselves or others. (This is a whole other blog post). This morning, I feel sad to leave behind my friends, the community and business that we created and nurtured for over six years, and the house,that felt like my first adult home. I look at the wall where we marked the kids heights as they grew, and the spot in the garden where our beloved dog Conner is buried and I shed a few tears.
Feeling my emotions isn’t a hall pass to treat others badly or require them to feel the same. And I believe you can only feel one emotion at any given moment, but you can feel sad, and happy, scared and excited in rapid succession. Each state has nuggets of growth if you stay present and open. So keep wandering through the aisles, and I promise you will come through the other side, probably with your shopping bag full of wisdom.