REO Speedwagon’s 1984 power ballad has been my ear worm all week. It’s been like my 9th grade homecoming dance in my head. “I can’t fight this feeling anymore. I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for…”
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say to myself. It does seem like a burbling up of subconscious wisdom — open your heart, feel fully into things. Which is fine advice, generally. I’m all about that.
But I don’t really think that my problem is a paucity of feeling right now. Heck, no. Lately, my feelings have been gushing out of me like a firehose, all over the place, without much aim or direction. Already, I’m not fighting them. If anything, I probably ought to attend them a little more mindfully if I don’t want to hurt someone or get myself in any more trouble.
What I wish is that the feelings I’m not fighting were more like the feelings I’d rather be having.
Maybe there’s a way to transform the feelings. Not to fight or control them, but gently to re-frame them. To be inspired and empowered by my emotional nature rather than resist it as a dangerous or destructive thing.
- Overwhelming frustration? There’s definitely deep care and commitment underneath that. And care and commitment are feelings that I can embrace, wholeheartedly.
- Confusion and uncertainty? First, join the club, because we’re all in that together most of the time, so probably feelings of connection and compassion are right here to be had. Second, remember that uncertainty is where possibilities live, so confusion is the first step to anything and everything new. Confusion and uncertainty might be feelings of hope in disguise.
- Despair, defeat? Well, these are hard, for sure. They seem like the exact opposite of anything that we might really want to feel. But perhaps they can open us into an experience of release, surrender, and serenity regarding all that we can’t change, that really isn’t ours to fix. As Janis sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I concede that this line may express the epitome of trying make lemonade without any sugar, but still… It is true that once relieved of responsibility for that over which we never had much control to begin with, we can find that there are worlds of creative opportunity ever available in our own hearts.
I believe that feelings are an inner map to our fulfillment. Sometimes they indicate what’s not working, when we’re off track, and we do well to pay attention to that. Sometimes they blast everything that’s not working on loudspeaker so it’s hard to hear anything else, to think of anything else.
At the same time, though, our feelings constantly also are pointing us to our souls’ most honest yearning.
We are all full of all sorts of feelings that we do want to be feeling. I think they just get muddied up a lot of the time because we tend to interpret them in negative ways, spinning them into problems. So they come to seem like things to be pushed away or avoided or put a lid on.
We could practice trusting our emotional landscape, listening to our souls. Not fighting it, no. But perhaps being a bit more conscious with it. Feeling what we feel, and doing it on purpose.
This Sunday begins the season of Diwali, the Festival of Light celebrated by over a billion people worldwide. There are many different traditions and stories around the holiday — all about the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil. Lanterns and candles line the path, welcoming our heroic selves home.
In some traditions, Diwali is honored as the birthday and holy day of Lakshmi, Goddess of Prosperity, Fortune, and Plenty. She was born out of an ocean of milk that churned for a thousand years.
Perhaps Lakshmi is who we’re coming home to, or coming home as… After what feels like a thousand years of turmoil, emerging into our Enough-ness. Our abundance to overflowing. Our capacity to be generous with ourselves and each other. Our freedom to feel fully and courageously, illuminating our heart’s content all the way.
Can’t fight it. Don’t need to fight it. Much better off not fighting it. I can’t wait to be with you this Sunday, November 12. 10:00am at Maple Street Dance Space. XO, Drew
©2023 Drew Groves