How do you face your pain, so you can dance in the rain?
This one’s hard for me to write. I had an AHA moment the other day about a choice I made a year ago. I used anger to numb my feelings of pain and stress. Many of us live lives with giant stressors daily. And when we don’t want to feel the stress or the feelings below the stress (usually fear, unworthy, unlovable, etc), we go for our drug of choice. Lashing out to cover up the real feeling inside. Excessive anything creates life imbalance. Yet, who hasn’t felt super sad and gone for something to “comfort” yourself?
You just want to numb out pain so you don’t have to feel. No judgement here. We each have a drug of choice we gravitate towards. Our choice serves us by numbing us and giving us the illusion of protection from pain.
What is your drug of choice so you don’t have to feel?
*workaholic or constant busyness
With me, it wasn’t always an occasional thing. For a long time my drug of choice was bulimia. This was “my thing” from the time I was 8, off and on (more on than off), until I was 25. When I wasn’t choosing bulimia to numb me out, I chose anger to numb my bigger feelings of unlovable or unworthy; dissatisfaction in my body, my relationships, my career. Hugely big and scary. I believed anger protected me from feeling weak and from anyone seeing how awful I really felt. So not true. My “hidden” feelings kept me from establishing strong valuable relationships; kept me from satisfaction in my career; kept me from enjoying my life. And what’s worse? I kept receiving more experiences and situations reflecting the shitty way I felt inside.
This is true for most of us. We have painful feelings we don’t want to feel including parts of ourselves we don’t want to claim. So instead we are hiding that shit by not admitting it to ourselves and/or numbing the pain with our drug or drugs of choice. You can definitely use more than one and may even use one I haven’t listed.
So how does facing your pain help you dance in the rain? For starters, you cannot truly love all of you if you can’t see and accept all of you. And if you are not seeing all of you or unaware of your feelings because you’ve kept them hidden or numb for so long, then you don’t have awareness. You cannot change or claim what you are unaware of. So begin with awareness, ie. Facing your pain. Later after you face it, you can work on accepting it, shifting it, making changes…all kinds of healing.
Facing your pain can be scary and can feel HUGE. Some of us hate change and facing pain is a big ass change. Claiming who you are, in all your glory and imperfectness is also a BIG CHANGE. When it feels HUGE, the feelings you haven’t felt in a long time feel overwhelming, neverending and gigantic. Thus, your reactions can be on the extreme side.
You see I was in and out of numbness almost 20 years., When I started feeling again it felt HUGE, EXTREME, IMBALANCED. The highs were high and the lows were LOW. Who wants deal with that? I didn’t. It felt like a rollercoaster at times and not in a fun way. Yet to get to awareness and balance (the beginning of dancing), I had to face the pain and the extremes.
And this is typically not a one and done situation. Meaning you don’t have just one feeling you’ve not faced or one thing about yourself you don’t like or accept. IT’S usually deeper and multiples.
My numb imbalanced feelings lead me into a relationship for 5 years with someone I never wanted to date. I fell into this relationship after I was in bulimic recovery and began loving myself. And this is so common. I see this with clients too. While my love for me was deeper than before, I still had so many feelings of lack: value, worth, esteem. This also translated into poor boundaries too. And this boyfriend mirrored all my lack feelings back to me during our time together. Since I was already in bulimic recovery, I turned to a different drug to numb my feelings. I smoked A LOT of pot. I numbed out feelings of sadness, lack of worth, self-doubt and just plain feeling unlovable as me. I accepted treatment within the relationship that would have me out the door immediately and never looking back today. It was a mirror of how I felt about me.
Towards the end of our relationship, I had begun learning about energy healing and my awareness was beginning to shift and my love for myself was beginning to deepen. So, when an extreme event occurred between us, my eyes opened as if I’d been asleep for five years and I took action leaving the relationship immediately. My beautiful anger fueled me with the fierce power of courage to leave.
My work was only beginning when I left the relationship. When I became free, I began embracing some of my feelings for the first time in a long time. Facing lots of painful realizations.
Can you see how not facing your pain can lead you to situations where you feel stuck, super unhappy and unlovable?
It is because I love myself, I can look at myself, all my parts: what I like and parts I don’t. When I moved out from THE boyfriend into my own place, though it was painful to face my feelings, I began to dance. And one afternoon, I was in the backyard setting up my grill and it began to rain. And I stayed a moment and felt the water tap me all over and was overwhelmed with emotion and joy. I began to dance in the rain.
I’m still a work in progress, becoming aware of and healing parts of me at a deeper level consistently. It’s a journey. And even gravitate to a numbing agent now and again, though most of the time, I write and deal with my feelings or share them with a friend or practice mindfulness or all of the above. And when the rain water and temps are warm, when it rains- especially in the Summer, I get out and dance in the rain.
I don’t have all the things I desire in my life, YET. I’m getting there. I have hope. I have belief. I have love. I live my life as best I can in the present moment. I continue facing my pains. You only get out of it what you put into it. And for me, the dancing becomes an even more vibrant joy when you claim all of you and your feelings. Love deepens and possibilities abound.
We all have shit and it stinks (Thank you Gwenn)… so rather than push it into a pile and pretend it isn’t there stinking…Face it, smell it, accept it and heal so you can embrace all of you and take your dancing up a notch and fully experience the beauty of life.
I recently traveled for vacation with my 8 year old son meeting my hubby in Minneapolis. A short time before our flight boarded, the flight was canceled. No crew. We thankfully made it to the TOP of the list for the next flight to fly standby. When we agreed to fly standby, the airline rep told us, our bag would be going on this flight whether we made it or not. FAMOUS last words. We made it. Our bag did not. And I was reminded of the only other time my luggage was “delayed” and the difference inside ME today.
Just over fifteen years ago, PM (pre-Marc), I took a trip to Aruba with one of my besties. One of the things I LOVE about my bestie, she is laid back, go with the flow, creates fun and lives in the moment. Well, at the time, I thought I was like this too. And I was to a degree, yet inside me I was still a work in progress as we all are. I remember sharing with my friend about all the recent big changes and belief shifts in my life. You know, like, I meditated. At the time I had an inconsistently consistent mindful practice and while I received benefit from my inconsistent practice, some of what spurred me to share was about being “on trend”. I engaged in intuitive energy healing. My intuition sharp and clear while in TRUTH, my trust of myself was spotty. I was more patient, more calm. True. And I loved myself. YES. Yet, I still felt unsatisfied in areas of my life. Okay, I did NOT admit to myself let alone anyone else about any incomplete feelings. I believed it was my outer stuff: my hair, my clothes, my body, my job, my finances were still the root cause to my life dissatisfaction. I mean I did the work, I loved myself. So it couldn’t be that. But my love for me wasn’t full body, mind, heart, soul and psyche, feeling amazing inside love consistently. So the thought that my STUFF: hair dryer, makeup, the “perfect bathing suit” and comfy great looking on me clothes would be missing caused me great anguish which spread from my psyche to my experience quickly. Body stuff had been “getting me” on some level since I was a kid and developed early.
As a recovering bulimic, I was so NOT COMFORTABLE with the idea of having to find something to wear with limited choices. My fears of finding “clothes I looked cute in” outweighed fun.
I kept it inside and attempted to “go with the flow”. It didn’t work at all. My friend went out and I stayed in the room trying to get information from the airline on where my bag was and when I could expect it. I had looked forward to this trip for weeks and I was spending it chaining myself in the room. I figured once I knew when I’d have my stuff, I’d be able to have fun (interpret as allow myself to have fun).
That evening I left the room to go to dinner. My bestie made a comment about how for all my sharing about my life shifts, my behavior didn’t match up. Wow, did that hurt. That is what I love about my friend. She didn’t say it to hurt. She said it quite compassionately. It hurt because it was TRUE. And I loved myself enough to recognize the outer turmoil I experienced because of my lack of deeper self love.
I did go out after that and uncomfortably purchased: a dress, shorts and t-shirts, underwear and a bathing suit. I made do for our time there as my luggage never showed up. And I had fun, yet I lost a day and half of enjoying Aruba due to not fully loving myself on a fuller body, mind, heart, soul and psyche level. And believe me, I’d done ALOT of work on liking and loving myself. Therapy, books, classes, etc. I was feeling better than ever about myself. My lack of self love at a deeper level propelled me to give in to fear. Fear about how I looked, fear about how I would fit in on the trip, fear about the money I spent on necessities being reimbursed and more. This experience showed me I still had healing work to do and it was time to level up. Learning to love me was not a one and done experience.
Apparently my luggage was partying in Mexico and arrived a bit hung over at my house about 3 hours after I arrived home from Aruba. Then the specialty vacation airline gave me a hard time about reimbursement at a time when my finances were more limited. Really? I was on an island. I had limited choices and certainly didn’t spend thousands. This was one of my fears come to life about purchasing necessities. I was still dealing with this weeks later when I met the love of my life, Marc, my husband. It did all work out. But I digress…
So back to the present story. We arrived in Minneapolis just after 3pm, much later than the 10am we were expected. Truly happy to be there. Found my hubs in baggage claim. He told us the luggage had not arrived. I thought he was kidding. That is so his sense of humor. He wasn’t kidding. And immediately my Aruba experience flashed back. Not out of fear at all. I actually laughed aloud when I thought of it. That is no longer my story. That is not who I am. I love me so many levels deeper than my time in Aruba. It was just STUFF. Sure, it would be a pain to have to replace it if my luggage didn’t show, but chances are it would arrive at some point. And then my WHY for being in Minneapolis spoke up. I am here with my family to enjoy quality time together. We will buy clothes if we need to and we will figure it out. Regardless, we will have fun and enjoy this adventure even if it is in the same stinky clothing. So, we filed our claim with the airline and went on our way.
Before bed wearing one of Marc’s t-shirts, we checked and still no status on where our luggage was. OK. The next morning we got up did what my sister calls a “CWBath” (the genitals, the face and the pits) and left the hotel. First stop coffee at Starbucks. 2nd stop Marshall’s for a few essentials to change our clothes.
Arrived back at the hotel, changed clothes and checked the luggage tracker. Good news. Luggage found, placed on 8am flight out of Charlotte arriving in Minneapolis by 10am. Then it takes up to 12 hours for delivery. I shrugged and we moved on with the adventure of the day not giving luggage another thought. Fortunately it was warmish and my FIT FLOPS, which I wore on the flight, were comfy for walking. We walked all over downtown exploring.
We had a blast making memories and laughing all day and decided to grab takeout and head back to our room for a late supper. Just as we sat down to eat (about 915pm), the phone rang and YES, our luggage had arrived. We looked at each other and laughed saying “we’ll get that after we eat”. No rush. I didn’t even unpack til the next morning.
I was thrilled at my shift and the freedom I could so clearly see and feel. The difference today is I know the outer shit doesn’t matter. Not the clothes, not the finances, not anything. And not because anyone else says it doesn’t matter, but because I truly believe it. Why doesn’t it matter? Because I am in love with myself . My feeling of wholeness is so complete, I could simply be in the moment. When dissatisfaction or diminished enjoyment impact any area of your life, the very first thing you must learn how to do is love yourself. Not the BLAH BLAH love yourself. The whole body, mind, heart, soul and psyche feeling amazing on the inside kind of love yourself. This is the key to greater happiness, greater success and greater satisfaction in life. That is the journey of this great adventure we call life. Only one other person I know could appreciate this beautiful story, I called my bestie and gave her a great chuckle. And the rest is history.
BIG LOVE and GRATITUDE,