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Deep Feeling – It’s Physical

old room ID-10045063In the past I perceived myself as not very emotional, mostly because crying doesn’t come easy and I can be very analytical and logical.  I know other women who are moved to tears in an instant.  That’s not me.  I can stand by and witness other people’s emotions and feel fine in myself.  So it’s with surprise I realize and accept that I’m a deep feeler.  I’m seeing the possibility that I may experience my emotions in a much more profound and physical way than other people do.  When I resist deeply feeling my emotions chronic pelvic pain symptoms can be triggered.  Instead of trying to feel like I think I should be feeling, I’m coming to expect, welcome and make room for feeling my emotions deeply, especially during major life transitions. 

It’s Physical

Now that I’ve healed much of the heavy protection I once carried in my body and around my soul and heart, I’m experiencing emotions in a more immediate and physical way.  When I know what it is and how to feel it, it’s not so scary and I don’t get lost in it.  I know how to take care of myself while I’m moving through this somatic and visceral experience.

Wearing the Emotions

In my latest experience with deep feeling emotions I actually felt like I was wearing the emotions in my body.  My son recently left home to start his freshman year of college.  He is the youngest of my two children and the last to leave home.  I felt a surge of sadness and tears as I hugged him goodbye in his dorm room.  Then my husband and I spent a few hours in his college town before we left to go back to my mother’s house an hour away over a mountain pass.  It wasn’t until we got over the hill and a song came on the radio that I felt a visceral sense of separation and was able to let the tears flow.  For the first week my son was gone the tears were at the surface and I felt as if I was wearing the grief.  It was very heavy and made me really tired.  I made space and time in private to let myself cry.  Very gradually it stopped feeling so heavy and by the following weekend the grief had moved to the back ground.

Recognizing the Symptoms

If I didn’t know that feeling emotions can make me feel tired, heavy, create gassiness in my stomach and intestines, nausea, and body aches, I would think I was sick.  But I know the symptoms well now.  The good news is that when I don’t resist (consciously or unconsciously) what I’m feeling, I don’t end up in chronic pain.  So I’m doing my best to witness, allow and be with my emotions on a moment to moment basis.  When I do have annoying physical symptoms I accept that this is my body’s way of processing change and I bring love, acceptance and patience to my process, knowing I will come back into balance.

Ritual is Important

A healthy way to mark major life transitions, such as an empty nest, is to create a ritual.  Some mothers I have talked to have given their child a photo album documenting their childhood.  What I’ve been drawn to do is to clear out and thoroughly clean my son’s room.  He left lots of old clothes and things behind that he doesn’t want.  I’m keeping things I think he might want, but the old clothes are going along with soccer balls, Legos, bats, balls, and old shoes.  When I’m done with his room I have plans to go through the rest of the house and clear out the old stuff to make room for the new energy of the next phase of my life. 

Give Yourself a Break

Next time you have a major life transition make room to feel any emotions that want to be felt.  Start by giving yourself a break.  Tell people what’s going on.  Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Set your boundaries with yourself, co-workers and family and friends around what you agree to and what you don’t agree to when you are moving through strong emotions.  Make more time to just be with what you’re feeling.  Take some sick days from work.  If you’re self-employed, adjust your schedule so you have more time to rest.  Don’t resist what you’re feeling, don’t over analyze it, just be with it and trust the process.  Mark with it a ritual or some significant acknowledgment of what has happened.  Let your body, emotions and soul lead to you what you feel most inspired to do, if anything. 

Recognize and Accept Your Unique Process

Now that I fully understand that I’m a deep feeler and that I feel emotions in a very physical way, I can stop comparing myself to other people.  I can stop resisting how I feel.  I can make space for taking the time to allow my mind-body to feel deeply.  I can support myself by accepting and recognizing what’s happening and trusting my process.  I can take the time for deep rest honoring my process.  I can let go of fear around it.  It makes for a much more easeful experience.  I’m practicing patience and trust with my process knowing that it’s a vital part of readying me for the adventure of life beyond raising children.   As I experience profound change, my higher self stands by offering support and guidance, acting as a midwife while my whole being births into who I am becoming.

Photo credit: winnond

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  • Thank you Gail for this post. I have always loved your blog from the first time I came across it. I actually feel a sense of peace come over me when I start to read your post. 🙂

    • Amy – Thank you. This is what motivates me to share my story.

  • Thank you for this post. It was extremely helpful to me. I am definitely a deep feeler while at the same time being a sponge for other people’ s feelings. My body has paid the price for way too long. Thinking about this in the way you present this and finding rituals will be very helpful. Thank you so much.

    • Linda: I totally understand being a sponge for other people’s feelings. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned to mentally give people back their energy and to set conscious boundaries with what I agree to and don’t agree to with other people.

      Ritual can be powerfully healing. I’m contemplating writing a story about my relationship with each of my children and as a mother mainly for my own processing.

      I’m delighted my post was helpful for you and thanks so much for commenting.

      • Thank you for your response Gail. I like the concept of giving people back their energy. That is helpful. I like that better than a barrier particularly since my barrier doesn’t work very well. In my work as a speech pathologist I work with people that have loss and anger from neurological damage such as strokes and brain tumors. This will definitely give me help.

        I like the idea of writing a story about the relationship with each of your children. I made it past college fairly well. Marriage is a whole new thing. I did fairly well with my first son to get married followed by a divorce when his wife became pregnant with another married man. My oldest son is now getting married. We never stop being their mother no matter who old they are. I have been very fortunate to have a marvelous relationship with both my sons. I do enjoy the adult version of my children.

        Thanks for your help. Your blog always teaches me something.

        • You are so welcome, Linda. I appreciate hearing about your experience too and it’s comforting to me.

          • Gail, I ended up back at this post from today’s post. It is very helpful to reread this. Particularly since my older son was married May 10th. His wife has a genetic disease that causes her body to grow tumors anywhere in her body. She lost 2/3 of one kidney last year. She also has a lung disease that she has only been aware of for about a year. She has cysts growing in her lungs. She is a sweet 31 year old kindergarten teacher. Since the wedding last month a lung has collapsed twice. Their honeymoon was cancelled because she cannot fly and she ended up having surgery on the lung this week. We just found out that the lung is leaking air again and she has not even left the hospital. For a deep feeler you can imagine what this is doing to me. I am staying afloat using your suggestions. Although the pelvic pain returned today. Just one thing too many to keep out. My son is 36 and I was thinking today about how much I would like to spare him this pain. It is the path he chose and I have to continue to support him without internalizing these issues. As I said before we have a wonderful relationship so that has been the gift of all this. We are supporting each other. Thank you for the support you give me.

            • Linda – Your situation with your son and daughter-in-law is when self-compassion and love and acceptance can be comforting. There is so much you have no control over regarding your daughter-in-law’s health and your son’s experience with it. I’m imagining that he deeply loves her. Practicing unconditional love and acceptance for the situation may help you stay present and also detach from other people’s suffering while recognizing and being with what emotions are also present for you. Take good care of yourself. The pelvic pain will most likely calm down after you allow yourself to feel the emotions that are welling up for you.

            • Thank you!

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