Imagine you’ve been running all your life.
Imagine not allowing yourself to sit down for one second.
Imagine your exhaustion.
Imagine that the only choice you think you have is to pretend to fall in love with running.
This is how most of us spend our lives.
We’ve all been running from something for years and years. Most of us don’t even know it.
In my life, I have experienced deserts of crippling hopelessness; blizzards of loneliness; black holes of sadness. At times, earlier in my life, those feelings re-traumatized me every time they came up. And so the safest thing for me to do, then, was to use the tools that I learned with the counselors I saw and also from the perspective of the spiritual journey I was just beginning to walk on, in order to drench the flames.
That looked like: going to a yoga class when I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed. Thought-stopping when my mind went down the rabbit hole. Watching another Matt Kahn video because his words always make me feel better.
It stopped me from re-traumatizing myself. It helped me to build a safe foundation of self love and mindfulness, so that I could hold myself with more and more compassion each time.
But it got exhausting. And I had no idea how exhausting it even was.
What makes what Teal Swan calls “novocaine spirituality”, or the use of spirituality to numb our pain, so tiring in the end?
It’s this running from pain that anchors us in a low-grade, almost undetectable state of fear. Terrified that that one feeling you hate the most is going to poke its head around the corner. Feeling powerless and worthless when it does. Apathetic because everything you’ve “tried” to use to “heal” that feeling hasn’t “worked”.
Well… It was never supposed to work. You aren’t supposed to be in bliss all of the time. You didn’t come into this life to feel happy all the time; you came into this life to FEEL.
And when you finally stop trying to get rid of your most dreaded feelings… when you finally allow yourself to stop running, to sit down and welcome in that monster (once you’re able to do so in a safe container, this is very important)… You find freedom.
Freedom. Because you no longer have to avoid a part of yourself, a part of your life, that only shows up to get your attention.
So lately… I’ve been sitting down with my fear of hopelessness, fear of apathy, fear of sadness, fear of hurting. Without condemning myself, as I’ve done in the past, for “not doing enough to get out of it”. For “not being grateful”. For “not living my life to the fullest”. For “being negative”.
As I’m writing this, I feel sad. But I also feel free. I feel whole, and in saying that, I mean I feel like I fucking love myself, because there’s no part of myself that I feel the need to run from right now.
This healing journey, spiritual journey, whatever you want to call it: it’s not all about being high on life and vibing with the angels. It’s also sometimes about opening to the underworld.
In order to hold yourself in a safe enough space to feel that shit, you have to cultivate self love, self compassion, and emotional safety. This can take years of practice, and for some people (like myself, not too long ago), it may not feel safe enough yet to sit down and fully open to all those feelings. That’s okay. We all have to start somewhere.
To guide you towards the cultivation of self love in the best way I know how, I’ll leave you with a link to another blog post. In it, I outline a process I came up with in order to help me cultivate a safe space of self love. I describe how to become your own “inner parent”, so that your heart feels safe to open up and feel whatever it wants to feel. This is a perfect way to ease yourself into feeling whatever pain you may hold. I hope that it helps you find your inner freedom.
In addition, my 3-month coaching series, Journey to Unrestricted Self Love, offers so many tools to cultivate a container of love and safety so that you can feel your feelings and find your inner freedom. If you’d like to check it out, head to my offerings page here.
I talk about depression in this blog post. I’m a life coach and not a therapist, and so I don’t address depression in my 1:1 sessions. Please do see a therapist instead if you’re going through acute depression; if you feel hopeless and don’t know how to move forward; or especially if your feelings feel too huge and traumatic to sit with on your own. If, however, you feel safe and ready to sit with your feelings and to create a vision for your life moving forward, I welcome you to join me.
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