The Warrior Priestess and The Wise One
I read a great piece the other day by Elizabeth Gilbert on the wrong emotions. It reminded me of my monolith. The monolith was the container for all my “wrong” emotions. The emotions I didn’t want to acknowledge or thought I shouldn’t have. Well you know if you read my piece from a few weeks ago, that I decided to look at that monolith even though I was terrified of it. Today I write about one reason I was terrified. The terror was coming in response to the part of me, let’s call her WP (for Warrior Priestess), that insisted that I need to act on such feelings once I uncovered them. Warrior Priestess is kick ass, but kick ass can sometimes override wisdom. She definitely needs counsel at times. Fortunately, I also have The Wise One. She was the one who got me through that pickle. She stepped in to tell me that I need not act on the feelings immediately as I uncovered them. That timing isn’t right for me. First the feelings need to be felt. I can choose not to act, I could choose many things. “For right now,” she said, “let’s just feel.” That clinched the deal for me and I was ready to look. Yes, it was painful to look. I cried and I railed and I howled and cried some more. And I was strong enough to weather these storms and to take care of me in the middle of them. The Wise One knew that right action would emerge of its own accord once the maelstrom was past. In the middle of the storm, it was important to batten down the hatches and take care of my little girl, in a safe place, as the storms of my emotions howled around me. Hugging myself in the cellar, I was safe. Eventually the storm dissipated. I emerged and walked into a new version of me, not destroyed by the storm, but surely changed. Old structures which were no longer useful had been shattered and new structures were waiting to be raised and formed.
The Wise One is pretty awesome. It is she that understands my feelings are necessary. Some are stormy, others drenched in rain, but ultimately they lead to change and renewal. During the storm is not the time to build a new home. After the storm is a much better time. The answers emerge on their own. Part of the reason emotions get such a bad rap is because we often act too soon in the midst of them. The discomfort can be so intense, we want to make it go away and so act rashly, potentially making things even more untenable for ourselves and so the vicious cycle goes. Then we react to that, determining that we need to just totally ignore the emotions and act rationally. The problem is we can’t succeed at that game. The emotion will have its way with us whether consciously or not. Unconsciously it will decide for us, no matter how rational we think we are being. Rational can be another word for unconscious and oblivious.
Eventually I acted. But the action I took was not one I could have imagined in the midst of my crisis. This action was not drastic. I am not saying that drastic action might not be called for in some cases. There is no hard rule book for this territory. It requires me to navigate, in the moment, allowing the answers to emerge according to the circumstances. My fear of looking into the monolith was driven by the idea that I was going to have to completely abandon my life as it is and that felt too devastating to risk and that was the root of the terror for me. Afterwards, I could see that some adjustments were all I needed for now. Further adjustments may be required as well, when the time is right for me.
Here’s my lesson from this story - feel my emotions first, allow them to inform me. I am capable of being in discomfort. The trick is to be with the physical experience, not the story. The story is avoidance. The emotion will pass on through when it feels heard, but not before.
This is also important as it relates to my intuition. What intuition requires of me is listening. If I won’t listen to my own emotional information, which like intuition is based on my sensations, how can I expect to even begin to know what my intuition is telling me? Otherwise, my “intuition” becomes what I want to know, rather than what I need to know and I risk getting lost in a world of ungrounded fantasies and then getting confused about why I can’t trust myself to make better decisions. This leaves me particularly vulnerable to relying on outside advice from people who may not have my best interests at heart or know what I need. I’ve seen this in myself and all around me. Our world is filled with it.