"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience" Emily Dickinson
Welcome. Welcomed. Welcoming.
When you hear these words, what do they invoke? How often do you stop and welcome your experience as is?
One day, I was having a picnic lunch with a friend when we started to get tortured by a wasp. We waved our hands frantically, cut up some paper plates to shoo it away, and yelled at it every time it came close. As you can imagine, this only made the situation worse. Soon we went from one wasp to 4 or 5 buzzing around aggressively. It's only when we decided to "welcome" our unwanted waspy guests by placing a piece of meat in a container slightly away from us, that the wasps stopped being an irritant.
When in the grip of a panic attack, some overwhelming worry, or anxiety, we may try to fight what our experience actually is. In your head, this sounds like, "I really shouldn't feel this way, I just need to to get it over it." or "I am a terrible person for feeling....". It's as if by allowing ourselves to acknowledge our feelings, we risk increasing the suffering...afraid to perhaps to sit in the vulnerability of human limits.
It's a kind of magical thinking, as if by observation we had the power to increase what was being observed. Like observing your bowl of oatmeal and imagining in so doing, you could add more oatmeal to it. And so we sometimes are with our feelings-if I am experiencing Sadness and I observe this feeling of Sadness, sit with it, befriend it in some way, I'll just make it worse. Better to keep working or watching tv. (which is also sometimes just we need to do).
We would rather eat a bowl of cherries then a bowl of pits. We are often afraid of feelings that we see as negative, anger, sadness, grief...after all, what if we get pulled down into their pitty vortex? As we grow up, we are taught more and more to quash our true feelings in order to fit in at home and at school. After all feelings take time, to experience, integrate into decision making, and communicate effectively to important people in our lives. Sounds like a lot of work. yikes.
You can practice opening your heart and increasing your capacity to make a space for even difficult emotions. Mind them. It's okay to say to yourself, oh, the way I am interacting with this situation/person is invoking some sadness,or frustration, or whatever... You have an initial response that in many ways beyond your control, an automatic physiological response. It's just what happens. You are allowed to feel your feelings. The Anger, the Joy, the Lust, the Sadness, the Fear. It sounds counter-intuitive, like a kind of crazy talk to say you should welcome even the nasty, scary feelings, observing them, making a place for them.
But what if you could welcome all your feelings, simply noticing, being curious and making an informed choice from your new found knowledge? What would the words "Welcome. Welcoming. Welcomed" invite into your daily experience?