TRANSFORMING OUR RELATIONSHIP TO FEELINGS
The feeling realm is profoundly misunderstood.
When related to as “our trauma”, or problematic, or the “cause of
our suffering”, they contract and intensify.
But if we soften and relax the body and mind and learn to welcome these ancient sensations and vibrations with immense curiosity, kindness and a felt sense of deeply relaxed spaciousness …
a whole new realm of experience can be revealed.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
~ W.B. Yeats
Feelings are so profoundly misunderstood. The way we currently meet and conceptualise these sacred vibrations and sensations causes us suffering. But we can’t see it. Because the feelings feel so intense and so overwhelming, we mistakenly fear them, pathologise them, judge them and blame ourselves or others for them. We brace against them, run away from them and spend our lives trying to heal them. But no matter how hard we work, they don’t seem to go away.
It never occurs to us to turn towards them with kindness, bow before them and open up to the possibility that we are profoundly misperceiving them. Understandably, we don’t arrive at this ourselves. How can we? We live in a world that reflects back to us that their presence within us is bad, the cause of our suffering … or the demons we need to clear.
Therapy and the spiritual pathways are definitely useful, but if you have a high level of intensity in the feeling body, then this may not completely work for you.
When this happens, we usually come to the conclusion that we must be too broken, traumatised or deeply flawed. After a lifetime of practice, this can be deeply disorienting and so painful. It can feel like we’re mad.
What if the movements of these feelings are beckoning you? What if it’s the maps, the judgements, the endless, intricate stories of what we think they are, that are stopping us from being able to receive them? We can’t see how deeply we fear them!
But we can’t do this by meeting them in the way that we’ve been trained, because at the heart of our training, we are relating to them with judgment and fear.
By learning to sit in the warm, sweet darkness of our being, down at the bottom of the ocean, with curiosity, calmness and an openness to these sacredness and deeply misperceived vibrations.
Feelings move so slowly, they’re actually quite timid and shy. Scared even. They need soothing, calmness and beyond everything … a profound attitue of kindness. For they have been so deeply misunderstood and rejected, for so long.
WHO IS A FEELER?
A feeler is someone who feels their feeling body intensely. Swimming or drowning in it might be a good metaphor. You probably experience quite a high degree of shame, or unworthiness. A constant sense that you haven’t done enough, that you’ve messed-up your life, that everything is your responsibility, and even, somehow, your fault.
If you’re a feeler, then feelings aren’t an experience that happen every once-in-a-while, they’re a constant companion. Always travelling just below the surface with you. There is a constant vigilance, or fear, that they’ll take over at any time, and that they’re too much. Maybe even that you’re too much.
When our shame and unworthiness is activated, it’s like the gates of hell open. The intensity in the body can be so extreme, where we could be writhing in shame for days.
If this resonates for you and if you feel touched by what I share, I want to deeply welcome you. It’s deep terrain and I know how scary and lonely it can feel. I know how devastating it is to work so hard and to not be able to find a way through.
WHAT ARE FEELINGS?
In Buddhism, Feelings are understood as the “sensations” beneath the emotions and narratives of what we believe is happening in any given moment. These sensations (which are pleasant, unpleasant and neutral in tone and vibration) are profoundly misperceived. They are moving in our unconscious and are the substructure of our emotional world. Whilst they are not us, the way we perceive them literally animates us into the way we see, feel and experience our world.
Without meeting them deeply in the body, we remain unable to access the roots of our experience.
If you’re a highly sensitive feeler, then you can feel them. Which is amazing!! I know it might not feel amazing, but it is. It’s your judgment of them and perception of them, that is painful.
Learning to meet these vibrations in a calm and deeply open body is not only essential, it’s profound.
If you continue to meet your feelings directly and intensely, like we’re often trained to do in meditation and psychotherapy, then for feelers, it’s like pouring petrol onto a fire. It’s too coarse, too direct, too intense … and means we cannot unglue our perception of what we think we are meeting.
AND … because it intensifies the feelings, it intensifies the story and we get stuck circling in the tip of the iceberg.
HOW CAN YOU MEET FEELINGS?
My approach to the feeling realm is profoundly influenced by my Buddhist meditation training. However, it was only in my later training, through a Tibetan Tantric somatic practicing lineage, that I learnt to meet and navigate the intolerable and terrifying feelings that I had never been able to access through either meditation or somatic psychotherapy.
It was totally paradoxical.
1) Soothe the distressed feelings! Yes, they are actually distressed. We’re usually so lost in judgment and believing they’re bad and that they are us, that it doesn’t occur to us to be super kind and soothing. Like we would be with a distressed baby!!
2) Settle into the deep calm of your body and create safety for them. This is so important because not only do we learn to rest in our essence in a profoundly nourishing way, but it creates a level of safety and calm from within which, the pain of the feeling realm can be received. But we let them hide, we don’t force them out to be dissected and understood.
3) Wait for the feelings to build trust with us! Yes, could sound weird, but when you’re a feeler and you do this in the body, it becomes so obvious. And they are beyond relieved that someone even notices their distress and is kind to them! They have to come to us, not us to them. They are timid, gentle, profoundly misunderstood vibrations.
As these vibrations and sensations begin to move through us slowly and safely, it not only brings immense relief to the body, but insight is illuminated beyond the limitations of the mind.
This terrain is sacred!
When the water gets caught in habitual whirlpools
dig a way out through the bottom to the ocean.
There is a secret medicine given only to those
who hurt so hard they can’t hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.
I could sense that not everyone experienced their feelings as intensely as I did, so I assumed that it was an indication of my brokenness or complex PTSD! Whilst I was inwardly crippled with shame and unworthiness, outwardly I appeared strong, embodied and seemingly capable. It had never occurred to me that I was highly sensitive or that it was an ability.
As a result I became a life-long explorer of the inner realms and the shadows of the deep.
A long-term Somatic meditator and former Certified Hakomi Psychotherapist and embodiment facilitator, I now teach highly sensitive beings how to navigate their inner realms. Through an eight month immersion of guided practices, one-on-one sessions and the transmission of the exquisite maps of Buddhism taught through the body (from a wildly female perspective) I give people a direct experience of meeting their feeling body in a completely different way, that is beyond the stories of therapy and trauma … and the mind.
When we cultivate the body so that it becomes a soft, warm kind and unconditionally receptive field, the divinity of the intolerable and misperceived sensations and vibrations of the the feeling realm can be directly revealed.
If you do not have acceptance for it, you are not loving it.
If you are not loving it, you are denying it.
When you deny, you do not have all of yourself with you,
because you are not accepting all of yourself.
If you do not have all of yourself present with you in a loving acceptance,
then you do not love yourself unconditionally.
You cannot love anyone else unconditionally,
if you do not have all of yourself there to love them.
Unconditional love exists when all of you is loving all of that which you love.
~ Ceanne DeRohan
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If you’re a feeler, one of the most important things to do is to connect to other feelers. Because if you have strong feelings (even if you’re so used to them that you don’t think you do!), then you’ve probably internalised the shame that something is wrong with you.
I’ll let you know about : ♥ “Inner Navigation” immersions ♥ “Mysteries of the Feeling Realm” Podcasts ♥ Inspirations and Free Guided Practices ♥ I look forward to connecting ♥