How ya feeling?
How many times a day do we get asked that question?
And how many times a day do we actually sink into the question, sense, discern and become conscious of the actual way we feel – and then, risk the truth of transparency in our answer?
I get to feeling kind of awkward when someone asks me how I am and I know they don’t want to really know.
I have a moment of wondering if I should reach for my truth anyway, or give them the finey-shiney answer they are expecting.
Or maybe I make the inner call that I don’t want to risk anything with them beyond “Fine.”
I might decide that they can’t handle my truth, or they are not really interested. Maybe I don’t want to be known by them.
We make instantaneous decisions about who we are – and who we are not – going to reveal ourselves to.
Who hasn’t been told to keep her feelings to herself?
Too much, too loud, too emotional, too intense?
We restrict our true feelings to conform to a culture that does not understand, appreciate, or acknowledge the ever-changing, ever-unfolding inner life of an emotionally healthy woman.
And by doing so, we restrict ourselves.
When we tourniquet our truth, we cut ourselves out of the love we long for, the intimacy we crave, and our own innate sense of rightness with ourselves.
What will my date/my boss/my classmates think of me if I say:
“I am exhausted; my kid had a tummy flu and I was up all night.”
“Pissed – I just got a ticket for running a red light on my bicycle.”
What do we do with all that?
Stuff it all inside?
Pretend it’s not happening?
Stiffen the upper lip?
Not in the world of the feminine.
In the world of the feminine, everything you feel is right, perfect, beautiful, changeable.
Like the wondrously variable weather, the emotional variety of a woman is glorious.
You feel. Exactly what you feel.
The feeling part is the best part of each of us.
Our feelings connect us to ourselves, and one another. Our feelings connect us to our joy. Or to our unbearable sorrow. Our feelings connect us to every animal, every blade of grass, every human being.
When we risk feeling, there is a very deep body sensation of being absolutely connected, plugged in, a vessel for divinity.
Feel is from the Old English word, felan – to perceive through the senses. The sense of being conscious of sensation or emotion was documented in the 13th Century. And ‘to have sympathy or compassion’ dates back to the 1600’s.
So, let’s break this out a little.
Feeling is how we establish a relationship with ourselves.
Something happens, and it either feels good, or it doesn’t.
The way a human being is structured is that when we are safe/happy/healthy, we locate our center by moving in the direction of pleasure, or what feels good. When we truly feel, we can sense when it’s time to move away from what is unsafe or bad or wrong.
If we don’t take the time to locate ourselves, then we are lost.
I was in trouble a few weeks ago.
I got some disappointing news.
At first I tried to ‘be strong’ and carry on business as usual.
But, as much as I could rationalize, the hurt, wounded part of me was whimpering around like a lost puppy. My feelings were hurt. Not rational, just feelings.
Instead of hiding my disappointment, I told everyone.
Not only did I tell everyone, but I sung my feelings. Danced them. Got some friends on board and had them dance and sing my disappointment right along with me. (I highly recommend belting the song ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Misérables, next time you want to process some disappointment in a hilarious and cathartic way!) And by the time I moved through all of my emotions and feelings, I was free. And even more deeply connected with everyone who witnessed my story, and with everyone, everywhere, who ever had a loss or disappointment.
I want to know what happens to you when you feel overcome with a deep emotional response.
Do you brush it aside?
Do you move it through?
Or push it away?
Do you feel righteous about honoring every gorgeous experience that you are able to perceive through your senses? Or not?
What is one feeling risk that you have taken and had it work in your favor?
What is a feeling risk that you could take, today?
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.