what are you unwilling to feel?

words by Brian Thompson, photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

it’s natural to run away from things that scare us. after all, self-preservation is priority number one for any species. it makes sense to run from everything that threatens to kill or hurt us, but what about all the things that can’t physically harm us, but yet we still try to escape?

in modern life, most of us are fortunate enough to be free from life-threatening danger, however we still run away from many of the things that we believe might cause us mental or emotional harm. some are more obvious to spot than others, such as all of the “shoulds” we create for ourselves. things such as, i should eat healthier, i should exercise more, i should clean the garage, i should mow the lawn, i should visit my parents, or i should find a new job.

these types of "shoulds” are pretty obvious to us, mostly because we’re confronted with their reality each and every day. they’re pretty unavoidable, regardless of how much we ignore them. we know we should clean our room because it’s messy and we live in it and it makes us stressed. we know we’ll feel better once it’s tidy, but we choose to watch television instead, and so we avoid the necessary chore, however inevitable it is. we make a conscious decision of avoidance, and to some degree, we accept whatever results might come from it.

we know we’d feel so much better without the burden of these unattended-to “shoulds” hanging over us. luckily, we know how to remedy these things, we need to just do them. but, what about all of the things that we don’t even realize we’re avoiding? these are the sticky things that are at the very heart of our deepest pains.

contemplate this: what are you unwilling to feel? what emotions are you trying to ignore?

are you unwilling to feel love for someone who you consider an enemy? are you unwilling to feel compassion towards someone who you believe did you wrong? are you unwilling to feel discomfort while you work towards eliminating bad habits or behaviours? are you unwilling to feel the pain of rejection that might come with confronting a personal problem? are you unwilling to feel alone while you pursue your greatest passions? are you unwilling to feel the disappointment of failure? are you unwilling to feel nervous while you venture into the great unknown?

what are you unwilling to feel?

whatever we avoid we mentally entangle ourselves in and we become locked in a quarrel of our mutual being — we enter into a non-verbal, one-sided debate with the object of our aversion, a struggle that exists solely within our minds.

we become ensnared by our very resistance — we get stuck in the middle of a twisted and tangled mess with our aversions.

the truth is, the things we avoid cause us pain, so the more things we run from, the more ragged and weary we become. we can’t run forever, eventually all of our problems will catch up to us. sooner or later we’ll trip and fall from exhaustion, and we’ll be completely overwhelmed by the swarm of our avoidance as we struggle to get back upon our feet.

our suffering is in our resistance.

the things you avoid are the things you need to pay attention to the most. these are the things at the root of your deepest struggles — these are also the very things that will set you free.

when you resist feeling an emotion that is genuine and true, you tear a hole in the fabric of your well-being. feel your feelings, don’t deny them and squash them down, doing so only makes them fester, turning them rotten so they eventually infect your soul.

meet your emotions head-on. sit with them and allow them to fade in the energy of your acceptance.

forgiveness heals anger. love heals hate. understanding heals fear. surrender heals resistance. compassion heals cruelty. gratitude heals jealousy. whatever you feel, look for its opposite energy and nurture it with your entire being, no matter how strenuous, uncomfortable or difficult it may be.

have the courage and willingness to open yourself completely to vulnerability.

open your heart in ever widening circles of inclusion. the more your heart is able to include, the less you will struggle with to resist and defend. let your open heart encompass everything within the fields of your awareness.

be attentive to your feelings and allow them to breath freely so they can sort themselves out. submit to your aversions and release the tension that's built up and that has created so much stress.

only when you are no longer in conflict with yourself will you be able to realize true peace and contentment in your life.

look for your answers within.