Has anyone ever told you to just get out there and FEEL?
RAGE like an angry lioness?
HOWL like a bitch in heat?
SCREAM your head off?
What women have been trained, taught and conditioned, their whole lives, is to turn down the volume and velocity of their emotions and emotional responses.
With dire consequences.
Most of us have no idea how to navigate our brilliant, beautiful, important, and dazzlingly perfect emotions.
We feel something deeply and…poof!…we think something is desperately wrong with us. Our balance is gone. We are lost to the abyss.
In fact, for most women, our highest goal for ourselves is a plain vanilla emotional life.
But there is nothing plain and nothing vanilla about a woman.
Here is a question from a subscriber that moved me so much:
I find the idea of loving rupture extraordinarily hard to connect to. I was raised to be a strong, independent woman who does not EVER let negative stuff get in the way of forward movement. Love the sadness and the pain? I can’t see how. But these feelings DO get in the way of my ability to move forward. Especially when I try to avoid them. After a life lived by the rule of “keep on keeping on,” how do I stop and feel? I just simply don’t know. I don’t know what is really getting in the way of my doing the actions needed to feel the pain and sorrow so that I can move on. Dance? It doesn’t feel right. Scream? It doesn’t feel safe.
Or, in a similar vein:
I’m not happy, I’m not depressed. I feel numb. I want to know what I need to do to get out of this state.
When we are taught to disconnect from our feelings, we feel just that: Disconnected.
Disconnected from ourselves, disconnected from life itself.
And when we practice disconnection successfully for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, then we can’t even find the outlet, much less the plug. And the whole world loses its color and just becomes a mass of depressing grey.
So, what to do? What to do?
To restore your beautiful, magnificent natural balance?
Which you might not have experienced since you were toddling around in diapers.
What to do to begin to feel again?
In The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program, I teach women how to not only locate their darkness, but to speak it, and, most importantly, to embody it.
You cannot experience your emotions with just your head.
We jump for joy for a reason.
Joy cannot be contained or expressed by thinking.
You gotta jump or it just ain’t joy.
And have you noticed, when you jump for joy, that it is not permanent? You kinda jump for a few, leap around for a bit, and then go on about the business of your day?
You are not attached to it.
It comes, it goes.
And the dark emotions are the same.
Each of them has a life cycle, a timeline, a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Just like joy.
We just don’t ever have the opportunity to give in, surrender, explore, and experience darkness. We only green-light light.
What, I wonder, is the physical form of agony? (Certainly not a jump.)
And what shape is despair? Bent? Straight? Immobile?
How does bottomless grief look?
When I was first studying the body of work that eventually evolved into the School, I studied the indigenous cultures, and the ancient goddess religions.
I learned that when the feminine divine was in the house, every facet of the human experience was celebrated with equal gratitude.
Death and birth were gifts of the Divine. The sun, the moon and the stars all contained Divinity.
And I extrapolated from there, that if darkness and light were perfect, then the darkness and light within myself was perfect.
And I started a practice of embodying my feelings, wearing the inside on the outside. So, for example, when I was in a bad mood for no reason, I put on a garbage bag. When I felt like garbage, I wanted to look like garbage. It felt good to not hide from myself anymore. I listened more deeply.
I learned how to move an emotion through my body, how to drop to my knees before the feeling I was having.
I stopped pretending I wasn’t having an emotional response, when I was.
I don’t expect you to head for work in a garbage bag today, even though I can guarantee you would have an amazing day with powerful consequences. But, what I recommend, as a first step, is to notice what you feel.
For 24 hours, keep a journal, where every hour you jot down your feelings, just like this:
10am: I feel bored, and that is a right way to feel.
11am: I feel frustrated with my boss, and that is a right way to feel.
12pm: I feel jealous of my co-worker, and that is a right way to feel.
And then, when you get home, slip into that garbage bag.
See how it feels.
See what comes up.
It is time for rupture to take her rightful place at the banquet table.
After all, it is the tears of your grief that provide the water for the soil of your unfolding and evolving storyline.
Follow this simple exercise, or create one that feels right!
With so much love and pleasure,
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.