How committed are you to loving your life exactly as it is? Most of us do not even notice how shut down and repressed we are in our emotional lives.
We might not notice how we are barely breathing, or that we are tensing and armouring our muscles in a way that can keep so much creative information out of our awareness.
Your availability, presence and full engagement with life and with those you love can be measured by how open your heart is and how grateful and at peace you feel in your life. Consider that the degree of emotional repression that you feel lowers the engagement that you are able to bring to your life.
We are meant to feel and love all of our feelings unconditionally, but most of us reflexively avoid this process. It often hurts to feel, and we can spend our energy trying to control and orchestrate our life to avoid what feels difficult and unmanageable inside.
Much of our emotional life is non-verbal, and if we were to be really honest with ourselves, we often cannot put a finger onto why we feel upset. Many of us go through our days feeling a nameless anger, sadness, or anxiety and fear.
This is because our emotional patterning was laid down before we had words - from birth to age seven. We find the stories for our inner discomfort later when we develop our mental capacities from age seven onwards. Healing through imagery, visual self-expression, and being present for feelings without words is often so profoundly helpful for clearing emotions that cannot be named.
It helps to have a daily creative practice to help us move through our conditioned repression. Creative play helps to express the suppressed feelings and beliefs that we repressed into our emotional bodies in childhood and adolescence in our attempt to navigate the adult world.
Imagery, symbol, color and pattern are often richer than words and can express and acknowledge feelings in a more all encompassing way. Rather than always trying to verbalize a reason as to why we feel as we do, we can heal through the immediacy of present moment attention through the process of visual self-expression.
If we do not have some kind of wordless creative practice, our level of emotional repression can become our defended "comfort zone", where we make every effort to suppress any hint of discomfort from coming into our awareness. This comfort zone of our accustomed repression is the enclosed area that keeps our connection to other people out of our care and awareness.
Our comfort zone protects where we hurt inside. Emotional repression takes a considerable amount of life energy that could be freed up for vibrant, engaged living. Committing to an emotionally healthy life means committing to feeling uncomfortable for while and allowing ourselves to have compassion for our inner hurt.
Suffering with awareness, and witnessing hurt from a larger, kinder part of ourselves is what true commitment to loving is. True creativity involves engaging with life as it is arising right now, with unconditional love and present attention, no matter how uncomfortable you feel on the inside, or what challenges are happening on the outside.
True creativity is a commitment to the truth that everything that happens is arising is healing and sculpting you into who you are meant to be. Making the uncomfortable - comfortable - is the process of bringing unconscious material up in stages or layers to be accepted, loved, and integrated.
For a time when a layer of my subconscious/unconscious, unintegrated psychology comes up, we can feel worse rather than better. Our heart heart might ache or feel bitter or sad. Intense anger might come up to be seen in the light of awareness. Repressed feelings and all of the behaviors that constellate around those difficult feelings are like a blind spot where we keep life out.
In my experience, after integrating a difficult feeling, a bright feeling of wholeness, vibrant energy and well-being arises. And soon after, I am able to engage with life at a deeper level. I often track non-verbal movements of my subconscious mind into my conscious awareness through spontaneous art making.
Because I like to commit to deepening into creative practices, I have explored many expressive art modalites, such as collage journaling, stream of consciousness drawing, and poetry writing. I usually commit to one modality for a period of a year to see how deeply I can go into the process. I am always profoundly deepened at the end of the year.
The Creative Mirror of Life
We all are given little signs and symbols within each day that can help us to unfold, heal and evolve from unconscious to conscious human beings. We can learn how to invite these daily symbols and be open to their messages. This creative synchronicity is the co-creation of our human life with the Divine.
The day I was contemplating full engagement with my own life, I intuitively opened one of my favorite books, "The Untethered Soul" by Michael A. Singer and read this:
"It is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life. Life is not something you get, it's something you experience. Life exists with or without you. It has been going on for billions of years. You simply get the honor of experiencing a tiny slice of it.
If you're busy trying to get something, you will miss the slice you are actually experiencing. Every one of life's experiences is different, and every experience is worth having. Life is not something to waste. It's truly precious. That's why death is a great teacher. It is death that makes life precious. Look how precious life becomes when you imagine you only have one week to live."
Fear often arises whenever we cannot accept something inside of ourselves. When we are in emotional pain, our awareness often feels very close to our body. This contraction of life energy most often indicates an old hurt that has not been healed.
This hurt place is where we withdraw our full engagement with life. This inner rejection is an indication that something needs to be felt, accepted and integrated into our experience.
We feel contracted, dense and nearly completely self-involved when we are in emotional pain. It is hard to notice what is going on outside of our tight and personally embroiled awareness when we are upset.
The purpose of emotional pain is clear. Something hidden needs to grow into the light of awareness so that we can unconditionally be present for it, integrate it with love, and move forward towards a deeper engagement with life.
"You should be experiencing the life that's happening to you, not the one you wish was happening. Don't waste a moment of life trying to make other things happen; appreciate the moments you are given. Don't you understand that every minute you are closer to death? This is how to live your life. You live as though you are on the verge of death because you are." - Michael A. Singer