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Archive for March 18th, 2013

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If you sit for long enough with sadness, fear or anger, or some strange energy or urge you can’t even name, in a place of no hope and no expectation, it eventually breaks apart, its imagined edges and boundaries dissolving into the vastness, and it reveals its deep intelligence, and its benevolent nature.  At the core of everything we run away from is everything we long for. And we’ll never know if we run away. ~Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster asks us to consider sitting with any feeling without hope or expectation.  It’s not that he’s asking us to have no hope, he’s asking that we sit with the feeling with no intended, purposeful gain in mind.  In other words, you don’t sit with it because you’re privately hoping if you do, it will simply go away.  That’s virtually the same as not accepting or allowing the feeling.

When I was 17 an event that would change my life occurred.  Lately, in the past few months memories of that event popped up seemingly out of nowhere, and with them was the rawness of the pain associated with it.  My first response when they popped up, was to want to forget about it.  I was having none of it.  The next time one of these memories popped up, I chastised myself: get over it, Bethie, move on!

Still the memories continued, asserting themselves at the oddest of times catching me completely off-guard.  I thought I might go to a trusted friend, until I realized I could be that trusted friend.  I remembered how there was no support for me back when I was 17, and in many ways it was the antithesis of support.  I learned to “stuff” the feelings, but the feelings were having none of it, they’d been stuffed long enough.  But they didn’t just want to be heard, they were reaching out for that support, that caring, that nurturing which it never received.  Recognize me — they cried out — be there for me, understand me.

Finally, I sat with the feelings.  I listened with the open heart and ears of understanding and acceptance.  I “mothered” myself and treated the feelings with the same attention a healthy Mother would give to her wounded child.  The memories began to dissipate, their intended purpose apparently fulfilled.

In the words of my current beloved mentor and teacher, Jean Haner: “All any feelings wants is to be welcomed with tenderness.”

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