F is for Feelings

FThoughts are the shadows of our feelings–always darker, emptier, and simpler. ~Friedrich Nietzsch

. . . when we long for life without . . . difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and and diamonds are made under pressure.~Peter Marshall

I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears . . . into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter. ~Kahlil Gibran

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable . . . but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~Agatha Christie

Feelings. They are among the strongest parts of our being and they often come uninvited, without warning, and stay longer than we would allow even the best of a family member to stay in our house.

When I’m in therapy, the inevitable question comes up in response to a situation, “How did that make you feel?” or “How do you feel about that?” or some other such variation. Usually I’m able to be quite glib about it or fake my way through those early questions. If I know the therapist well enough, I’ll ask back “How do you think I feel?” This guarantees a few minutes of off-side topic, totally not what my therapist had in mind. 😉

unpleasantfeeling

There are really just three take-aways I want you to get from this post, if nothing else, and those are:

1. Feelings are our friends. Some people worry because they feel they are too emotional, too sensitive, or they “wear their heart on their sleeve.” Well I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as a numb state. This is when you want to cry but you can’t, there’s a heaviness in your chest but you don’t know what’s causing it, and—if one isn’t careful—one might do almost anything to get out of that numb state and start feeling again. Feelings are our friends. They are our emotional barometer of what’s happening in the world, and we need them to survive.

2. Feelings aren’t facts. This kind of thinking goes like this. I feel like an idiot, therefore I must be an idiot. This is one time the “Feelings aren’t facts” rule of thumb would apply, or any other time we get stuck in situations that on the surface make sense but underneath look like sharks circling their dinner.

notupset3. Feelings don’t last forever. Even though it might not seem like it at the time, feelings definitely do have a shelf life. Just like good things don’t last forever, so it is with bad things. The world is in constant flux, and we are constantly growing and changing with it. Never fear. If you don’t like this feeling, there will soon be another one to take its place.

Peace out, strong warriors. xoxo

 

Dog-Tired

I’m exhausted; tired down to my bones; dog tired. I have not been sleeping well the last couple of nights. I know why, and it’s because I haven’t been praying enough, and haven’t been “letting go and letting God” when I am afraid.  I shouldn’t even be afraid, if I’m working my program right. 

Well no, I take that back. Feelings are feelings. They come and go, like thoughts. There’s not much we can do about them. 

In other news, I finished reading “Eat, Pray, Love” finally. I loved this book. It’s not a book I would have picked up on my own, you know? I mean I didn’t even see the movie. But Paula Balzer, in her book Writing & Selling Your Memoir suggests several different memoirs to read if you’re writing your own. I’ve read this one now, and Drinking: A Love Story, which I also loved, for different reasons.

They are about different subjects, for one thing. “Eat, Pray, Love” is about a woman who, after her divorce goes on a pilgrimage to discover what she wants for herself and spends a year divided equally between Italy, India, and Indonesia. She eats her way through Italy, prays her way through India, and loves her way through Indonesia. It’s a funny, serious, charming, and informative book. 

Liz Gilbert also has a totally different voice than Caroline Knapp, of “Drinking: A Love Story,” which I had finished just before I started Liz’s book, so that took a lot of getting used to. Caroline’s story is starkly honest, and is exactly what the title says. It’s about the love story between a woman and wine and other alcoholic beverages, but her first love is a crisp, white wine. 

Caroline takes us on her journey with candor and also wit, but pulls no punches, and we are led all the way through to her struggles in rehab and through that to living life sober, to making friends soberly, shopping for groceries stone-cold sober, going to a party sober, etc. Highly recommend both. 

Now I’m reading Lighting Up: How I Quit Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved In Life Except Sex. It’s another memoir, not recommended by Paula Balzer, but I’m reading it because I read it once a long time ago, and with chronic fatigue syndrome I can read things a second time and it’s like reading it all over again for the first time. 

Susan Shapiro is seeing a psychoanalyst to quit smoking. Her voice is wry and emotional, and the book is hard to put down. 

I pray I sleep well tonight, and that you do too. What do you do when you don’t sleep well? How do you help yourself sleep?

Peace out.