Pause, Feel, and Move Forward
My heart is tightening with a feeling again.
I’m familiar with this experience. Sadness, irritation, or resistance — whatever the emotion is, it is the sensation of contraction: narrowing and darkening of my inner world.
I take a deep breath to stay with the feeling: I taste and touch it and let myself flow in its river. I weep, clench my fists, or rock my body. I surrender to the intensity of the emotion instead of trying to control it.
I patiently wait for the storm to pass. And it does, as always. Like a wave coming and going, I feel in my body the once forceful emotion has run its course and is now leaving me.
I shake off the residue of the emotion, take another deep breath, and move on, deciding not to carry the narrative about the emotional disturbance. Whenever my mind drifts back to the chain of events that caused the emotion, I renew my vow of not going there. I feel the power rising from my core. That warm energy softens my heart and opens up to here and now again.
This field of softness and openness is where I meet and leave, give and receive, and rest and exert. It is where I come from and always return to. It is the state of being vulnerable and invincible at the same time.
Pause, feel the emotion fully, commit to not reciting the story about the unpleasant experience, and move forward. Repetitions of this mindfulness practice have expanded my capacity for life experiences and pain, cultivating much love and peace in my heart.
Will I ever be able to transcend emotions? I don’t think so, and I’m okay with it. I treasure the vulnerability of my heart because it is the fertile ground for compassion, the soft mud where lotus grows.
Feel the feelings and drop the story. – Pema Chödrön