Friday, March 6, 2015

Consider that You are Strong Enough to Feel

Consider that You are Strong Enough to Feel
Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag

“Instead of being embarrassed or ashamed that you have struggled,
consider that you were brave enough to feel.

Consider that the struggle is a sign
that you need tools
to feel at the depth that you feel.

Consider how keeping the depth
and gaining skill in the effective tools
(things like yoga, mindfulness, and self-care)
will move you from struggle
to someone
who could possibly help change this world
 into a better and safer place
for all of us.”

Catherine Cook-Cottone,
Facebook post 3/6/2015

The insight above came to me on my yoga mat today.

I believe that shame, denial, and suppression of feelings is dangerous.

I have struggled and some days I feel like I am one bad decision away from being right back in the struggle. It is that exact awareness that keeps me empowered and effective. Shame and embarrassment about the fact that I have struggled helps me and others pretend and deny. I believe that pretending and denying are the main obstacles to the creation of a safer and better world for all of us.

It goes wide and deep. If I really feel all that is going on: in my own life; in the lives of those I love and care for; in the neighborhood in which I live; for those that are near (Genesee and Doat as in our Yogis in Service program); within the state, the country, the other countries, and world; and on this Earth- ugh- it is a lot, maybe too much.

But what if I don’t? What if you don’t? What if we don’t?

If we don’t feel, really feel what is going on in our lives and on our Earth we can continue to pretend that we don’t notice all of the very serious matters in which we all need to be in action about. I can’t change the world. You can’t change the world. Not alone. Yet, I ask, what if we each did our own little part? What if we let ourselves feel and then moved on what moves us?

Look at this- the breakdown of the word emotion:

E (energy) + MOTION =
compulsion to move, to make things happen, to be at cause.

We need to feel to make things happen. We need to feel to heal. We need to feel to stay motivated. Sadly, the answer that is delivered to us in the media and by our culture has been to not feel. In fact, be embarrassed by your big, ugly feelings. Instead- escape, distract, self-medicate, dim your experiences so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. I get it. I have done it. Feeling it all is nothing short of overwhelming.

Still, I refuse not to feel.

Read this excerpt from the recent New York Times piece:

Medicating Women’s Feelings


“WOMEN are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others.

These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of health, not disease; it is a source of power. But we are under constant pressure to restrain our emotional lives. We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.

The pharmaceutical industry plays on that fear, targeting women in a barrage of advertising on daytime talk shows and in magazines. More Americans are on psychiatric medications than ever before, and in my experience they are staying on them far longer than was ever intended…..”

Read more here…

So, if we are BRAVE ENOUGH and COURAGEOUS ENOUGH to feel- we are going to feel-- A LOT. Because we are built that way.

Then what? Be overwhelmed. Sit, raw with our overwhelm? Have symptoms and struggle? Drink? Use? Self-medicate?

No. A BIG resounding NO!

Process your feelings. Be in Self-care. Be in Action. E- Motion.

Let the energy move through you. There is nothing to change or avoid. Feel it. Then, nurture yourself. Do yoga, Run with Friends. Move and be in your body. Next, select how you will be in action ON PURPOSE. Yes. BE ON YOUR PURPOSE (see all my posts on Dharma and your reason for being).

I am asking to you honor your ability to feel deeply. Consider that you are, in fact, strong enough to feel. Let your struggle serve as your road sign, your guidepost to let you know that you need tools. You need tools because this is big and we need to do something about it. Then, get support, be in self-care, and take action.

In this way, you will be part of the making-things-right in the world. You will be part of creating a safer and better place for us all. Don’t leave yourself. Because when you leave you, you leave us….

and we need you.

Big, deep feelings of love and Namaste,

Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag