BIG FEELINGS are definitely dangerous…3-6-24

BIG FEELINGS are definitely dangerous.  A guiding principle for my wee self.  An old story.  One I’ve spiraled through with the support of skilled therapists and played out on many a dance floor.  A story I’ve fleshed out in memoir and poetry pages over the years.  Writing as trusty transformational conduit, just like dance.  And I am so very grateful to be held in writing practice lately by Word Gathering with Holly Holt and a posse of very intrepid fellow women wordsmiths.

Back to the BIG FEELINGS since they have definitely had my attention of late.  I’m persistent because I know when I shine a spotlight on deep roots of behavior, change eventually happens.  Though it can feel maddeningly slow at times, I have faith an optimal timeline exists for every spirit.  So I was riveted by this podcast by Alexandra Roxo, author of Dare to Feel, who seemingly had direct access to a pipeline to my heart. I’m enthralled with her book which, as fate would have it, is full of ritual writing prompts.  Serendipity!

The prompt yesterday was to write directly to that wee one, the one who got the message that BIG FEELINGS are definitely dangerous.   So I suppose this newsletter is dedicated to all of us who received that memo.  You know who you are.  Because for my wee one, maybe yours too, anytime there were BIG FEELINGS, there was also pain.  My tender child heart pierced before it could ever learn to properly beat.  Authentic, easy going, respond in the moment instinct never had a chance to fly free.  Careful and calculating proved a much better survival strategy.

But let’s give her some hug worthy credit for simply staying alive.  A long time.  How ironic and gratifying that here, at the end of my life, I find the safety I craved from the get go.  So it feels timely indeed to keep putting out the welcome mat for BIG FEELINGS. If by imaginal whim I might take my wee self aside for just a moment, I might whisper in her ear:

“Oh, sweetheart, please know you’re being asked to run a gauntlet of shaky ground.  Rough going for awhile but only the first leg of a long journey.  Know that you are deeply loved in the only way these two wayfaring parents can manage.  Staying safe in your room does not need to close the door to your heart. I wish for you all the possible opening that can squeeze through your carefully constructed safety net. Let yourself feel.”

I reach to stroke the wee one but it feels a stretch to offer her comfort that is not mine to give.  I try anyway.  And I gently lift her into my heart, inhaling her essential child-ness.  And it feels like she likes it so womb warm in there.  In this time machine I feel a big dose of my current safety, a gift bestowed on my past.  She and I…we can feel BIG FEELINGS together.

Hmmm.  A vulnerable share.  So be it.  I totally know there’s a whole contingent overwhelmed by their BIG FEELINGS.  You share with me how incredibly challenging it is.  We are all so very human with our varying stories.  That’s why when I am out there in the world these days, I try to see way beyond the deep polarization in our families, communities, politics, the world.  Just human beings, mostly good people, doing the best they can to make it through the infinite challenges that life has in store.

When we step back out of the fray for a precious bit and take time for reflection…well this is practice.  And it helps.  Let’s do that together.