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Feeling my feelings. Monday August 21, 2017

A phrase from A Course in Miracles is: "In my Defencelessness my Safety lies."

I had been thinking this meant a sort of "turn the other cheek" way of behaving towards others – not reacting, not attacking back – and I think it does mean this. Today I understood also that "defencelessness" is about being undefended to my own feelings, letting myself feel my sadness or my fear/anxiety or whatever it is, leaning into it, welcoming it, really feeling it and even if at that moment there is no relief, shortly after, as I go about my daily business, there is indeed relief.

Listening to Mike Robbins in a 2017 Hayhouse summit talk yesterday - he was talking about his mentor encouraging him to give himself permission to feel powerless. He did not want to do this, however he started to do a meditation using such words as "I give myself permission to feel powerless - it does not mean I am powerless."

So I can say (for example): "I give myself permission to feel left out - it does not mean I AM left out." "I give myself permission to feel anxious. It does not mean I AM anxious." A big one for me – for I avoid situations where I might feel jealous as much as I can: "I give myself permission to feel jealous. It does not mean I AM jealous. It is just a feeling." Another one: "I give myself permission to feel lonely. It does not mean I AM lonely."

Another 2017 Hayhouse summit talk was by Andy Newbigging. He had the phrase: "I am willing to experience...." So it goes like this: "I am willing to experience the human emotion of loneliness". How relaxing is that!

What Andy says is that we are all resisting life - either resisting something or attached to its opposite, often both. Once we stop resisting we become free - both to experience it and to experience its opposite. In my defencelessness my safety lies. If I am willing to experience unhappiness then the option of happiness also opens up to me.

I would love to hear your experiences and how this resonates or not with you.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Jane SG Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 12:48am

Hi Melanie, really interesting blog. I feel it's about having the courage to be authentic, which opens us up to both happiness and pain xx

Benjamin Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 12:57am

This is a huge topic I've been considering lately. Academically, I work with game theory. I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about fundamental principles like "kill the winner" and "the prisoners' dilemma" (note the plural possessive). I find that most all strategies either result in a good chance of oneself suffering, or 100% chance of everybody suffering. Really uplifting! So, if you will adopt a strategy and recommend it, it better be one that give you a good chance of suffering, or else you are recommending the one that (not today, maybe, but very soon) will give you 100% chance of suffering.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:11am

I had to read this a couple of times, Benjamin. This is a profound philosophical insight. Im going to have to think about this.....

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:00pm

Dear Benjamin, I have read what you wrote several times - I am not sure I have got it. Is it that if I choose the option of resisting - then 100% I am going to suffer - whereas if I choose the option of leaning into and welcoming feelings, then only maybe will I suffer?

Benjamin Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 7:38pm

Thank you for taking the time. Yes, the basic idea requires stepping it forward... if everybody is on the defensive constantly, then the all suffer the loneliness, isolation, etc, of having no functional relationships. They all suffer, all the time. If some people, however, lean in and be vulnerable, then they too will suffer on occaision because of their vulnerability, but they will also create spaces for positive relationships - at least for a while. The more people who are vulnerable and giving, the more positive relationships; but also the more opportunity for a bull in a china shop to create mayhem. So.... you can choose to create norms in which everybody is miserable all time time, or you can take the risks and be pretty confident you will be suffering at least some of the time.

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:19pm

Thank you for responding Benjamin. Wow - this is profound and inspiration to be vulnerable and take risks...

Tess Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:49am

Very insightful Melanie. Life should be simple and uncomplicated, but most of us humans tend to make it complicated unfortunately.
Yes we all have these emotions, we get triggers from past experiences.
After all these years Im still learning to accept the mood Im in, and I go to bed knowing that I'll wake up probably in a dufferent frame of mind.

Tess Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:58am

Oops pressed "comment" by mistake & a few typos!
Im recently recovering from a relationship split, but fortunately we werent living together, so I had my own private place to grieve for my loss. On some days I dropped to some really low dark places, but I kept reminding myself "that it would pass" ... With the help of some medication & spending my time relearning how to do things differently without my partner.
Letting myself feel the sadness,loss & loneliness, I realised that this would pass and ever so slowly it is.
I have had an emotional injury, so like any other injury I must heal myself..
Im already feeling a few little highs of happiness peeping in!

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:08pm

Dear Tess - for me, what you say is very on point. Thank you for sharing and my energy is with you as you let yourself feel. xo

Lex Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:55am

Ah, the Resistance! In France in the War, a good thing. In England, here and now, in my head, a challenge! What are we all resisting. I loved your blog, Melanie, real Emotional Intelligence insights.

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:07pm

I appreciate your clever way of expressing this Lex! Again with humour. Bravo.

LP Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:58am

Hi Melanie,
This is such a helpful blog. The fear that a negative feeling will last forever makes thefeeling so much worse, but allowing yourself to feel it, gives an awareness and perspective that it is temporary. I love the statements " Although you feel ..... it doesn't mean that you are". I will note this so I can refer back to it. For me it has been "powerless" and "inadequate" and even "inferior". The opposites I'd choose would be "strong" "capable" and "valuable" remembering to allow myself to feel the negative in that moment knowing that it isn't true of me as a whole person. Thank you so much.
Sending Moodscope Love to you and all! LPxx

Leah Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:17am

LP I have wondering how you are? Great to see your name. I hope life is treating you well. Hugs and love to you ,Leah x

LP Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 10:26am

Hi Leah, Lovely of you to ask, I'm good today thank you. Had a couple of weeks away and a bit of the blues following that. Am lucky to have time off so am enjoying the rest and chance to get a few things sorted out. Hope you're ok too. LPxxx

Lex Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:08am

Blog reposted on our Facebook page - remember to sign up if you want to. there is also a private group for those of us who'd appreciate more support. I think you have to befriend me first!

Lex Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:33am

Belay that! Befriending me doesn't always work. If you'd like to join the 'Secret' Facebook group, please send your email address to Caroline. Caroline can then add you.

Molly Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 4:55pm

Hi Lex, it is usually your blog on a Monday, is it because you have been working on the Facebook page? Just curious...

Lex Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:15pm

Hi Molly, it was kind of you to ask. My intention was always to make way for other contributors. I like writing, so Caroline can always call on me for content, but the community is huge, and I'd much rather hear content from as many members as possible. Melanie's blog really resonated with me - so I'm more than happy to step aside.

Malachy Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:42pm

How do I contact Caroline? I love this blog. Most importantly, it has left me feeling encouraged.

Molly Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 7:03pm

Malachy - this is the email address to contact Caroline....

Molly Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 7:05pm

Fair enough Lex, thanks for explaining. I hope you will still keep writing xx

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:21pm

Malachy, I am glad you feel encouraged - I find this heartening.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:10am

What a powerful blog, Melanie! I especially liked the idea of allowing myself to feel jealous. What I have always said in the past is,"I'm jealous, but it's *my* problem, not yours." It may sound subtle but the idea of saying "I am experiencing feelings of jealousy" is a profound difference. Thank you so much for this! In the past I have felt so guilty about my jealous nature. Now I can say, "Its just feelings. I can feel jealousy, but it doesnt define me."

The Gardener Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:12am

Melanie, your blog has opened flood gates. Just back from taking Mr G to respite - the girls said 'how on earth do you keep going?' I said the strength given to me by friendship (which includes here, of course). Feelings, I've always despised (not too strong a word) self pity. This morning I'm sorry for myself. Up a lot of the night, loads of washing. Mr G did his best to stop me watching 'Far from the Madding Crowd' last night. This morning his is impatient, critical, abusive, everything that has happened is 'my fault'. It's not all Alzheimers, he's always been critical - kids used to say 'Dad only criticizes us, never praises'. Now, a feeling I try to keep under control, resentment. My plans for today are mainly scuppered - I'm exhausted, need clear thinking for important documents, and energy for enjoyable gardening. A fair proportion of the day will have to be spent recuperating to face tonight. Melanie's last paragraph gives 'hope', because I DO enjoy moments of pleasure (friends turned up unexpectedly last evening because their concert was cancelled and they know I am always here, so we downed Pimms and had a lot of laughs). As things get worse another feeling is real fear, that I will descend into non-stop whingeing. So, to my comforting blanket of friends, and the ability to 'let fly' through Moodscope, I am truly thankful. Right, on with the day xxx

Karin Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:27am

Lovely to read this Melanie! It makes me think: Just because I feel angry - it doesn't mean that I am anger. I am more than what I feel and if I accept what I feel it will let go of me - or I of it and we (me an it) can go our separate ways - or co-exist - happily.

Why co-exist? Well if the feeling is love - we want it to stay around don't we :-) But it can be really good to hang around anger too. Explore it, understand it's protective qualities and accept it. Even depression isn't just bad. All feelings are good in some way I feel. Although I do not always feel that they are good when I experience them.

And I know they will pass. Sometimes anger passes mor quickly when I phone a friend and we laugh at the situation for an hour all while my body is shaking from rage and tears are streaming down my cheeks as I'm so sad this is how it is. Still then I take a (very quick) walk and all emotions pass.

Thank you Melanie! And all xxx

Anne Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:36am

Hi Melanie (and all - it's good to see so many familiar names on here, although I don't 'know' you - it feels good, warm somehow)

I enjoyed today's blog, I had to read it slowly as I am aware part of me is feeling 'foggy' and groggy, so I wanted to absorb what you are saying and see how it speaks to me.

I recognise how I resist feeling some of my feelings and 'stuffing' the feelings down, so I don't have to pay attention, the trouble is that the feelings don't go away, they just demand my focus in another way.

Staying with all of my feelings and fears is a big ask right now, and for now, just for the moment I feel encouraged to stop resisting and to see what emerges...

Thanks for all your sharing

Anne x

The librarian Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 12:21pm

Great blog, Melanie - very helpful.

Molly Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 5:10pm

Hi Melanie, a very interesting blog. If we can put aside our emotions (the bad ones at least) it can be a relief. Sometimes mine get so exaggerated in my head, I will certainly practice this method. I often try to do tell myself "it is ok to feel like that". Sometimes accepting how we feel is also a relief and often the feeling does pass, as Karin said. If we can stop blaming ourselves and get off the hamster wheel, a sense of freedom emerges. Thanks Melanie xx

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:23pm

Hi Molly, yes for me it is catching it - not immediately, reactively going to resisting but instead noticing - there is discomfort here, I am not feeling quite right, what am I feeling? etc X

Melanie Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 6:05pm

Dear All, thank you so much for all your lovely welcoming, thoughtful and insightful comments - very nurturing to read you all. I like the way several of you mention sharing laughter with others as a way of gaining a new perspective on unwelcome feelings - thinking about it this is actually my favourite way. Love and peace to you all.

The Gardener Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 8:48pm

Realise have not got the plot at all. Feel we mostly hide our feelings - 'How are you?' 'Very well thank you', when you really mean 'Life is hell, I did not want to get up this morning and now I have to pretend that life is rosy' because our upbringing leads us to say what people want to hear. I've told this tale before -we were going to a garden party - my father and I and a couple from the North. The lady asked my father's opinion of her hat, he said 'it looks like a frying pan'. We were half an hour late while she bought another one. The poor lady probably had a face which could only look reasonable covered by a thick veil - lying is the only possible reaction. Lex, is the 'befriending' idea along the lines of the Samaritans?

Lexi Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:26pm

TG the frying pan hat comment made me laugh out loud. I hope that was okay. xo Lexi

Lexi Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:24pm

Hi Melanie and all, I'm completely spent and drained today. One more day of family and then they are finally gone. I've been feeling guilty all day - I should be a better host, I should be more friendly to them, etc etc but after 10 days of company and construction workers traipsing through my house all I want to do is try to find a quiet spot that isn't already occupied by another body and just sit in peace and hide. I feel guilty because this is a luxury a lot of people don’t have - family, working on one's house, etc. But at the same time I am feeling drained and I'm no good to anyone, and really - why does everyone use my house as a waylay just because I’m related to them? I am trying to be kind to myself even though I feel like rubbish but perhaps in this moment where I do feel like a rotten, ugly, sack of potatoes kind of blob I can soften a bit and try to understand myself. I can accept myself exactly where I am in this moment and just observe and not be so judgemental. Of myself or others. Perhaps in that defensiveness I can find quiet strength? Not sure but I am trying. Tomorrow I can fight the good fight again. Right now I want some oreos and to hide under my blanket. I know I have lots o typos but I'm just too tired to correct them. Xo Lexi

Molly Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 1:10am

Lol Lexi, sack of potatoes kind of blob did make me smile. One of the reasons I don't have an open house, don't have kids, and can do what I want when I want. But then I complain that my life is dull and I wish for the interaction of family and friends - we cannot really win xx

Molly Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 1:20am

P.S. Having works done on my house too at the moment for my husband. My house that I bought by myself - with no help whatsoever - I let him in when he left his partner with nothing but a shirt on his back - and now I am having to adapt my house and spend the little money I have for his needs because he has become disabled xx

Lexi Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 3:42am

Hey Molly! No, we can't win :) I am separated and doing this work myself because I'm separated. All I can say is carve a bit of space for yourself - we deserve it! xo

Molly Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 6:59pm

Thanks Lexi, I wish I could make some space for myself, I don't know how ! I shouldn't moan, I guess it is harder when you are on your own. I hope you are managing to chill out a bit more now that your visitors have gone. It can be such hard work having guests to stay xx (three workmen in today, drilling made me feel I was going mad!! ....and the mess) arghhh xx

Ach UK Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 9:45pm

Hi Melanie, Interesting blog. Feeling my feelings? Well first I have to find them, and then I have to decide what type of feelings I am feeling! - I don't seem to have a link in my head to the adjectives for feelings, though it is easier now than when I was younger. And allowing myself to feel my feelings and then acknowledging them and not negating them or burying them and saying as The Gardner says " I'm very well thank you . . So important to process feelings
Very important blog. Thank you.

Melanie Wed, Aug 23rd 2017 @ 11:05am

Thank you Ach UK. I just googled "list of feelings" and found this website: Being able to distinguish my feelings and name them is a skill I am learning and improving upon. Maybe the subject of another blog some time.... When we were children our feelings were not always welcome. Sometimes parents/guardians could not accept their own feelings so did not welcome/ accept/mirror ours. Thank you for your sharing.

The librarian Wed, Aug 23rd 2017 @ 12:00pm

There's also a good book called 'Living Like You Mean It' by Ronald Frederick. It was reccommended when I did a Mindfulness course. It helps with identifying feelings and encourages sitting with them.

Ach UK Wed, Aug 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm

Thank you Melanie and Librarian. I've bookmarked your suggestions. I'm doing a one day a week course in the Autumn and Feeling Feelings will be coming up.

Emily Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 12:11am

Thank you for this, Melanie. I tend to be constantly resisting my experience, and it's helpful to read things like your blog in the morning. I hope on some level it sinks in during the day!

These ideas remind me of something Tara Brach, a meditation teacher, has said about resistance to situations or our own responses or ways of being: 'Whenever there is a "should", it is an argument with reality'.

Melanie Wed, Aug 23rd 2017 @ 10:58am

Whenever there is a "should", it is an argument with reality. I love this. Thank you!

S Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 10:11am

I totally believe in this ethos, if I am understanding, being Buddhist, that should and desire can be separate, but when they are opposite, the desire should be chosen as long as it's not got a big red flag like "This Person Didn't make it on the UNdatables even! Avoid emotional attachment' I mt a guy recently who was so lonely sleeping with strangers and ghosting them the moment he began to like them cause feelings hurt too much, I had to sit him down and explain companion theory to him, and now he *Can* do whatever he thinks he *Should* Do. :D

Eva Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 6:54am

A day late, this was an interesting read, and many interesting points, I think I sum this up as allowing myself to be vulnerable, I have recently had enough energy to be getting angry and frustrated with people again, and I've spent some time looking at the feelings and trying to work out the roots, I think it comes down to level of expectation. I'm not sure if I have spent too much time feeling the anger /frustration as once they have popped up I've kind of wanted to look for the source. Maybe I should sit with them a little first and then investigate. Thanks very much Melanie.

Gardener I think of you daily, Bon courage, you do so well, I hope you rested well to build your reserves.

Orangeblossom Tue, Aug 22nd 2017 @ 11:45am

Hi Melanie, I have read this again today. What a great blog, which I understood much better the second time. thanks very much for the blog. It has encouraged me to go on exploring my areas of resistance.

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