If I stuff my feelings, they never go away.
I spent some time yesterday just feeling my feelings. As I grieve, I have many feelings. Sometimes these come together, sometimes in sequence, some coming, some going, and coming back. There is pain of loss. There is sadness over times past that will not come again, and sadness that times anticipated will not come. There is anger, that my life did not go the way I planned, that the universe had other plans. There is regret at choices unmade or seemingly wrongly made. There is frustration that I cannot have it all, cannot be everything for everyone. At breakfast yesterday, reading Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses, I broke down and sobbed for several minutes. At lunch, I was sitting in a restaurant, reading the same book, fighting back tears and choking down sobs (in order to preserve my sense of dignity.) I know that I have more feeling to do before I'm through this grief, and I know that it will come back in the days and months ahead. But I need to live today today, and live tomorrow when it comes, one day at a time.
I am not looking for a solution today, I am just feeling. I have heard it said that “the answer to the pain is in the pain.” If I deny this grief, if I try to paper it over with a false front, I am living a lie. And when I live a lie, I am off balance. Situations that I can normally handle easily become difficult. I “become angry and unreasonable without knowing it.” Yesterday, even though I had recognized I was grieving, and I was starting to acknowledge my feelings, I still fell into this trap. I went into an important meeting unprepared and feeling irritable and discontent. The meeting started badly and I just ran it downhill into a morass. I didn't realize how badly until my boss came by later to find out “what happened?” I have made amends, and we will move forward. But I believe it happened because I had been stuffing feelings, and denying the truth of my life.
If I allow myself to feel, I will come to acceptance of them, and to acceptance of my losses. Then I will be entirely ready to have my grief removed, and I can humbly ask my Higher Power to do so. The program has given me this promise, and it continues to be fulfilled. For today, I am feeling.
A meditation for July 3, 2013.
The book Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses is available from the Al-Anon bookstore. See our Books page for a link.