How do you feel about this?

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by: Jamie Rautenberg

After countless years of therapy combined with my years practicing therapy, I’ve become intimately acquainted with the phrase, “How do you feel about that?”

The thing is, most people honestly don’t know.

We’ve become so conditioned in this society to increase productivity, push through and keep moving, that we don’t always stop to recognize our own feelings, let alone experience them.

The problem with this is that our feelings are what drive us whether we’re conscious of them or not. So, if we really want to harness our power we’ve got to tune into these brilliant cues from the core of our being so we can start living the life we truly desire.

Of course trauma makes this rather tricky since not many want to dive deep into the pain that we fear. Unfortunately, if we don’t dig into that pain, we can’t integrate it into our current experience and we can get stuck in the past. It will remain a constant flame inside us that will explode when triggered which creates additional feelings of powerlessness.

Believe me, we all have our traumas and triggers, so no one is immune to this, it’s how we handle our explosions that vary.

Think about it this way, nature wants us to rest & digest. It’s how we process the fuel of food. The body needs time to breakdown the nutrients before using them. Our hearts and minds ask the same of our feelings.

Without processing and understanding our feelings, we’re essentially missing the roadmap of our lives. This is why so many of us, including myself, have felt completely lost at times.

So, for those who are unsure exactly what to do with this information, I have a tool I invite you to consider using: The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle LaPorte.

She brilliantly reframes the line of questioning upon which most therapists rely by asking, “How do you WANT to feel?”

Simply by inserting the word “want” into this sentence helps to alleviate some of the fear associated with going deep into our current pain. With this beautiful question we can finally begin to carve a new path for ourselves which follows the directions of our core desired feelings.

If love is the desired feeling state we want to achieve, we can choose to infuse it into all of our experiences. We love our body by nourishing it with nutrient rich food. We love our friends by lifting them up and reminding them how awesome they are. We love the earth that cradles our feet as we walk upon it, and we love ourself by making this our way of being from this point forward.

When we redirect our focus on our desired feelings, it becomes far easier to witness the painful ones.

For anyone experiencing chronic pain/illness, former Harvard professor, spiritual teacher & stroke survivor, Ram Dass, has this to share with you, “Pain is a worthy adversary of my spiritual practice.”

Pain is a worthy adversary because it demands us to head straight into our discomfort and directly into an understanding of the beautiful ugliness inside each of us. Unfortunately, this gives rise to excuses and is when most spiritual growth & core desires can be repressed. This is where we can get stuck in the shame/avoidance dance (i.e. I’m ashamed of my feelings so I’m just going to avoid them/I avoid my feelings because I’m ashamed & round and round we go!).

Breaking this cycle means facing the ugly.

Once we do this, we are gifted with clarity, awareness, and our true desires. So, with all that being said, how do you feel about that?


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