Being Present with Difficult Emotions

Sad Man City

I wrote this poem the other day while reflecting on the last year of our life, which has been turbulent, at best.

Here, I sit.
In a space that once was mine.
somewhere between my future and my past.
My life shattered, scattered.
Grasping for the pieces
as they float away.
Avoiding, resisting
the uncomfortable unknown,
the unsettling transition.
Reaching for comfort.
Begging for the illusion
that I ever had control.
Melancholy, sadness,
heartache, heartbreak
rush in.
Here, I surrender.
In a space that once was mine
somewhere between my future and my past.

 

Struggle

This poem speaks to the struggle to willingly sit with discomfort, sadness, and grief.

I worked hard to avoid the pain.  In part because I was afraid I would be consumed by it and also because I felt I should put on a brave face.  I muscled my way through life, attempting to control it.  It’s understandable.  I didn’t like hand I’d been dealt so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Me vs. the universe.  Who do you think won that battle?

It’s ironic given I am trained in mindfulness.  I should know better.  And yet with magnitude of the events, I was unable to see what I was doing.

Surrender

It wasn’t until my body manifested an illness that I was slowed down enough to take a look at myself.  It took me a few weeks of being sick before I finally surrendered and was willing to acknowledge all that had happened and all of the emotions I had been shoving down into myself all year.

Anger.  Sadness.  Grief.  Fear.  Everything.

It’s not easy to be fully present with pain.  If it were, there wouldn’t be so many ways to distract and numb ourselves every single day.  And while distracting and numbing is temporarily effective, it’s only a short term solution.  It doesn’t address the underlying issue.

Avoiding our pain is a form of resistance.  You may have heard the saying, “what you resist, persists”.  Avoiding your emotions will keep the pain locked up inside your depths, creating longer term problems both mentally and physically.

Freedom

As challenging as it is, being present with the difficult emotions gives them the space to come up and dissipate.  I was so afraid to let my big emotions come up.  Yet when I finally allowed them to, they passed, leaving me with a feeling of peace and relief.  Practicing mindfulness can allow us to move through these difficult periods while cultivating a renewed sense of peace, equanimity and freedom.