Barriers to Feeling

Let’s face it, as much as we might be able to admit the benefits that connecting with or facing one’s feelings, there are some serious barriers that can block us from those feelings.

For one, feelings are inconvenient. They tell us things that deviate from any plans we might set, any beliefs we might have, and may require time from us that we’re not ready to spend. They may completely call us to change our lives. And this change is for the better, mind you! But it’s still change.

Fear can also be a factor, and guilt, and various other things. Below I’ve compiled a list of major blockages to feelings that can stop one from really working and connecting with feelings. Continue reading

Dependence and Independence

Today, I’d like to talk about dependence and independence, what each of them is on the emotional level, and how one can become more independent.

Many times, when we talk about independence, it’s in reference to an interest in being able to do what we want to do. For instance, “financial independence” refers to being able to live without working. But for some, this still can mean dependence on financial independence, always living with the tension that one’s current stability might fall through, and fearing it, or otherwise letting that fear drive incessant action to control one’s financial stability, without having peace.

Indeed, the freedom to be where one desires isn’t necessarily freedom at all, since one can still feel dependent upon that desired circumstance remaining. And when one’s desire isn’t there, it can feel as though things aren’t right until it is. What people are talking about here is independence as freedom from circumstance. Yet, it’s still very much dependent upon the circumstance one wishes to escape to, and remain in.

So what is dependence? I posit the following definition:

A state of being that involves “looking to get to” a circumstance, such that one craves it, feels one needs it, feels things are wrong without it, or may fear its absence. It can involve impatience, fixation, imbalance, suffering, emotional pain, fear, panic, and anxiety. It can lead to escapism, negativity, and frustration.

And what about independence?

A state of being that involves openness to all circumstances, whatever the current circumstance happens to be. Involves flow, and a sense of detachment from circumstance and everything outside of one’s control, including direct control. Generally a positive, free, authentic, open state, devoid of shame and very fluid, not holding on to the things that come and go in reality.

Thus you can see the differences between the two. Yet, all too often, we can slip into feelings of dependence, however ideal independence might sound. Continue reading

Beyond Morality: Beauty in the Ugliness

The suffering self

An image of what I saw in creative visualization. This large, black blog was suffering, imprisoned in an electric fence. This “moral” guy (aka the ego) had him imprisoned, and had lots of idols on the walls, like a Buddha statue. I freed the blob and shattered all the statues.

I don’t know what to say. In fact, I’m not sure I even want to post anything. But I still have something to share today, and I’d be a fool not to. Ok, maybe not a fool. I’d just be me, but I’m going to share it anyway.

Sometimes, we get so invested in becoming good by our definition of it that we ignore our own suffering. We struggle and strive for an ideal that we forget ourselves, in all our darkness, moodiness, suffering, desires, insecurities and fears. When we desire something intensely that we don’t have instead of tending what is within us, it can be like putting ourselves in a cage. We want to become not-ourselves. We want to transform ourselves into only that which is good, rather than seeing the beauty in the real, untransformed us.

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Move Beyond Your Dissatisfaction with Life

Dissatisfaction

Like a Dark King, Dissatisfaction looks upon your life with disdain, each imperfection adding to his pain.

There is a part of one’s self who is dissatisfied with life not being completely blissful and peaceful all the time. Whenever you’re happy, it’s that little voice that pops up and says, “Yeah, but…”

Imagine this dissatisfied side of you as a distinct individual. What are they like? Having this individual in your head can be why it’s so hard to be thankful for anything, because this side of one’s self speaks up and adds in why we shouldn’t be thankful. To Dissatisfaction, nothing is ever good enough, except the goal.

Continue reading

The Irresponsible Self

The part of myself who coaxed me to procrastinate. He carries around a lot of pain.

Ever been trying to get things done, and, whenever you think of an item on the list, you say to yourself, “eh I’ll just do that later.”? I bet you have. Procrastination runs rampant in the world and this little voice seems to be the one responsible for putting things off. Today I decided to see where the thought was coming from, and I found something intriguing.

On the surface, this irresponsible guy just says things to get you to put off doing what you really want to get done. He comes up with all kinds of excuses as to why you don’t really need to be doing what you wanted to get done. But the real question is, why is he saying these things to begin with? Why make excuses?

After talking with this part of myself for a little while, I could tell that he was carrying around a lot of pain. He got defensive, bitter, resentful, and told me straight out that he didn’t want to do some of the things I wanted to get done because they would be “too painful”. Now sure, any given task has its challenges, but this part of yourself uses the pain it’s already carrying around as an excuse for avoiding more pain, even if it’s relatively small.

I had to be very patient with this part of myself to avoid an all out fight. Understand that it can get so bad for this side of yourself that it would rather bury the pain deep within the subconscious than even talk about it. However, doing this reduces the chance of healing that pain by A LOT, because you have to go dig around inside with the express purpose of finding the pain. And who really enjoys doing that?

However, what my encounter today showed me is that it is an absolute priority, if we want to live without carrying around a burden of intense emotional pain, that we must find a way to get to the pain and let it out despite what this irresponsible side of ourselves says.

Now, that being said, it’s not easy to find that pain right off the bat, and that part of you may not even remember where the pain is stored anymore. So instead of stigmatizing this part of yourself, it’s OK to let it continue doing things that it enjoys doing to avoid the pain, as long as another part of you searches for it. However, this pain-ridden, irresponsible self might resort to harmful activities, in which case, it needs to be confronted.

So what’s the take away? If you want to live more freely, seek out your pain to let it out. Otherwise you’ll get caught in a routine of life that doesn’t satisfy your true needs, and doesn’t bring you fulfillment.

Tragedy and the Emotional Vampire

The tragedy of losing friends and those you hold dear is connected to clinging on to others (who you also hold dear) in unhealthy, unfriendly ways. Maybe the true culprit is abandoning yourself during times of pain, when you need comforting the most. I will find out.

EDIT: Why does this post include something about the “Emotional Vampire?”

There is a side of one’s self who wants to keep others close to it because of the benefits it gains. I call this The Emotional Vampire. Why? Because he wants to prey off of the joy of friendship, but complains with those others want to be free, and do their own thing.

After talking with this guy, I realized he acted this way because he himself had lost friends, and, not wanting to deal with that kind of pain anymore, he now did what he could to keep current friends close.

He only seems to come out when a friendship or relationship is in danger. It’s that grasping feeling, saying, “How dare they! I am their friend!” However, as you can see, the Emotional Vampire isn’t invested in what their friend wants.

The reason why, in the original post, I suggested this compulsion might have to do with abandoning yourself in times of pain is because when you lose a friend, it’s painful – and if you can’t be your own friend at those times, you might try to get other people to alleviate your pain for you. I have not proven or disproven this at this time.

All I can say it was extremely disturbing the first time I saw this in myself, because I want to be a good friend, and this side of myself is decidedly not.

Just be careful not to let this side of yourself be the dominating way you relate with other people, or those who wise up to it will flee from you. Instead, challenge your own neediness, and become a more true friend, one who can stand on his or her own, but enjoys giving and receiving nonetheless.