A Symphony of Feeling(s)
You know that moment between when the last note of a symphony is played and when the music stops? It's a beautiful moment.
Last week, I was talking with a friend of mine about the importance of being with our feelings. We are both deep feelers, we can even struggle not to identify AS our feelings. What came up for me was the sense that, at our best, we enjoy A Symphony of Feeling(s). We can listen to the music within our minds, listen to our bodies and hearts also, appreciate the full breadth and depth of human emotion... and then hold space for all those disparate vibrations to ring out. We feel our feelings, then we let them go. We observe them, we acknowledge them, then we let them go. There have been times where I have taken up residence in my metaphorical symphonic hall and listened to the same song on a different day. Instead of saying, "That was fun, and now it's done."
In the space between when the musicians play their final note and when they rise to take a bow, there is space for everything to land. In our hectic one-thing-to-the-next kind of lives, we often not leave space, and so we take our inner chaos with us, projecting it into the next situation. Even as someone who meditates, I was so blinded by activity that I wasn't making room for the evaporation or dissolution of my intense feelings, my inner symphony was constantly playing! As much as I love classical music (and as much as I appreciate my feelings), leaving room for silence is so beautiful! Beneath all the sound, all the crafted vibration, there is a hum of being and feeling in the quiet.
I am not my feelings. You are not your feelings. They can make a great show, a treat for the heart instead of a treat for the ears. There is space beyond and space beneath, and a moment that arrives when we can clap for what was, acknowledge what we felt, and then get up and leave our seats.
We are the observer, the concert attendee. And we are the conductor. We get to shape the symphony, what plays, what remains, how it ends. And we will create (and enjoy) the music if we so choose.
There is nothing wrong with feeling and feeling deeply. I recognize that a mistake I can make is confusing the music playing within for the substance or essence of who I am.
Enjoy your symphony of feeling(s), and then, when you're ready, you can let it all go.
You might be thinking, what are ways to hold space? How can I be with all that I feel?
Let's look into that for a moment.
Morning pages are a space where you write down whatever bounces across your brain, whatever moves through your consciousness. "You are meeting your shadow and taking it out for a cup of coffee." All the stuff I'm feeling comes up and comes out, and there is a ready-made space for it to be, and even to be objectified. The song of all that I am thinking and feeling plays through my fingers with pen on paper and then I look down and see the scribbles and can giggle to myself about what I wrote. If I'm grumpy, the goal is not to justify my feelings but to express them, to see them, to hear them, to acknowledge them.
In the evenings, I will go out and sit in our yard to meditate.
Meditation can take so many forms. I start with breathing deeply, then relaxing into a natural breath pattern. Hands open, eyes closed, breathe and be. There is much more to the art and science of meditation, and yet it is ultimately a simple invitation to be a person in the present.
You can do this any number of ways. Guide your consciousness through different sensations in your body, your environment, your mind. A new-to-me practice I am experimenting with is a loving-kindness meditation at the end. So whatever was felt, whatever was experienced, whatever was let go, letting the last word be love towards myself and others (if it wasn't already explicit in my practice to begin with).
MOVEMENT is also a beautiful way to create and hold space. Running helps me clear my mind and to activate creativity. Remember, meditation comes in passive and active forms, and you can "pray without ceasing" if that speaks to you.
At the risk of rehashing, let's bring back the acronym A.C.T: Acknowledge. Choose. Thank.
When we recognize ourselves as the observer of our feelings, we can acknowledge what we are feeling and even what it connects to. Then we choose what to do. Then we thank God/the Universe/ourselves/a person in our midst for the opportunity.
I hope the metaphor and the brief look into practices was helpful and inspiring. If you have any questions or desire to talk more in-depth, don't hesitate to reach out! The way we go deeper is not only by ourselves but with others.
With abundant love, space, and courage for all of us to enjoy,