One of my favorite places in the world is Hunting Island, South Carolina. It is a State Park on the very southern tip of South Carolina and is called a maritime forest. Through years of erosion and natural evolution this once tropical like jungle is now partially submerged. Massive tree stumps jut out of the ocean and private, serene nooks and crannies are everywhere. As I stand there in the shade with my feet in the ocean I am at once in a forest and in the ocean. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen offering coves of privacy and the vastness of the ocean. I could spend hours at the ocean where the waves wash away what must be transformed.
I thought the other day when working with a woman who fears allowing her emotions to flow that our emotions are like waves in the ocean. Sometimes they crash and are so intense and powerful we feel the threat of drowning with their magnitude and force. And sometimes they are so calm that a simple stone thrown into them could cause a disturbance and/or would be noticed. One thing that is consistent about the ocean is that it is always moving, always changing.
When I was working with this woman asking her to create a safe space for herself she began to weep. I realized that if we stand in the ocean of our truth and try to hold onto our emotions and bottle them up, we explode or implode. It’s not possible. Our emotions are like waves in the ocean. They are vast, flowing, sometimes overwhelmingly powerful and forceful and sometimes gentle and almost imperceptible. If we allow our emotions to flow through and out of us they will transform us and themselves and we can continue to flow in this sea of life. If we try to hold onto them and stuff them down we cause great harm to ourselves and sometimes others.
From the gospel of Thomas: ‘If we bring forth that which is inside of us, that which is inside of us will save us. If we do not bring forth that which is inside of us, that which is inside of us will destroy us.’ It’s that simple. We need to allow our emotions that arise in us to flow in an appropriate way so that we can be transformed by them. They wash over, filling and emptying us simultaneously. They wash away pain and force and leave us released and free for a while till the next wave stirs within us. If we allow that wave to fill us and be released through us, we have the possibility to be moved, transformed and healed.
Development, transformation happens in waves. In overlapping spiraling circles that move us forward and then back, but not to the point where we began, we can relearn and deepen our learning. That allows us to move forward through our lives. We always go backwards to gain more insight and understanding. Our beings need to reinforce understanding so that the learning seeps into our tissues and cells thereby deepening our understanding.
This beautiful woman has been afraid of her feelings, of the magnitude of her feelings. She believes that if she allows her feelings their expression she will be consumed and destroyed by them when the opposite is true, she will be saved by them. She will be cleansed and healed through their release and the power that they have over her will be transformed into power and strength she will have for her self and her life.
So much with transformation and healing is counter-intuitive. We often fear that which will help us the most and trust that which actually creates the most harm. By holding in, sitting on or stuffing our emotions we are harming our selves. By and through allowing the safe release of them with a conscious understanding of their meaning and importance we are actually healed and our capacity to love increases dramatically.
Today, allow your feelings to emerge and flow through you so that you too can be washed clear like the ocean, ebbing and flowing through life. When some feeling wells up in you allow your self to be with that feeling and let the wave fill you and release. You will be surprised how easy it is to love your self after you allow your feelings their space. Like the vastness of the ocean, so too are your feelings. They are constant and healing and important. Let them flow. Put your feet in them and feel how they wash over you. Gradually you’ll be swimming with the dolphins…..