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Emotional Firewalls

Thanks to the grace of a Hallmark movie, I was able to sleep last night. We are living in uncertain times. My concerns for dear friends suffering with Covid; the state of our political system and yesterday’s events resulting in the loss of a woman’s life; the instability of the environment with resulting weather and I can go on and on with my breath becoming shallower and panic setting in. I use distraction to cope.

Matt Kahn has a talk on “Facing Uncertainty” that helped me. It also reminded me of times in my past when despair and uncertainty overwhelmed me. I was newly divorced and my ex had just picked up both my girls. I was alone. I was overcome with sadness and fear. Like a tidal wave, despairing emotion overcame my whole body and I collapsed on the kitchen floor and sobbed. I was too tired to fight it. Emotion just oozed out of my body and left me in my own puddle of snot. I felt despair down to my bones. It was a relief not to fight any longer. I was so wrung out with emotion I was determined to die right there on the floor. There was nowhere to go once I opened the door to my pain. I lay there exhausted.

Matt Kahn explains in his talk on “Facing Uncertainty” that our spiritual ego believes if we keep asking life’s questions trying to understand why stuff happens, the direction we’re going and the reasoning behind it all, we will find the answers that give us happiness. In reality, the true work is in feeling the emotions that help move us to the other side where we will find clarity, and experience a peaceful emptiness which is in essence connecting with our beingness. Our magnificent being. A peace beyond all logical understanding.

What I found on the other side of my pain was indeed this quiet emptiness. It has taken me years to understand what exactly happened that day, because it was significant. I cried such deep emotional pain, it immobilized me. My mind was screaming not to go there, but I couldn’t go anywhere else. This experience was a turning point for me in realizing my emotional pain was a metaphorical firewall burning so bright I believed it would consume me. It was actually a doorway. Uncertainty is a doorway. Despair is a doorway.

Allowing myself to feel my deep emotions is a key. It’s up to me to find a safe place with an intention to feel my pain. Sometimes I create such fanfare trying to figure out with reason and logic why I’m feeling a certain way or who is to blame or if this happens then what do I do. I still twist myself into a pretzel before I feel the emotions. It’s a habit I’m working on breaking. I want to get to the place where I identify my emotional discomfort and feel it. It’s easier to pace in front of the firewall and seek other solutions. I’m a work in progress.

“Violence is fear in action. Fear is an avoidance of sadness. Sadness is an aversion to loneliness. Loneliness is a denial of emptiness. Emptiness is the presence of being. The presence of being is awakened consciousness. Through an awareness of fear, violence no longer becomes an option. As fear is faced, sadness is encountered. As sadness is encountered, loneliness is acknowledged. As loneliness is acknowledged, emptiness is recognized. As emptiness is recognized, a presence of being is discovered. As a presence of being is discovered – consciousness awakens.” Matt Kahn

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. That was such a perfect reading for today, for where at least I am, I don’t know about others. Being in this state of uncertainty. It was so powerful to hear your thoughts on how to deal with it and to hear the words of Matt Kahn. I feel like what I said yesterday—I didn’t even know the depth of my words regarding how yesterday would live in history. Yesterday, I kept thinking about what I said, to stay in serenity no matter what is happening around me. In terms of uncertainty, the pandemic, our government, and who knows what’s going to happen at any level, your reminder to just feel the feelings and not be a brick wall so that the feelings can come right through me. It’s an important reminder as another day is here to get through without letting my mind go crazy with worry and fear. So thank you for such a powerful start of the day.

  • Matt Kahn’s talk on facing uncertainty is long and it is very powerful. I often listen to it and do other stuff, tuning in and out. It’s like my brain knows when to pay attention.

  • As the events of yesterday were unfolding, one of the most prominent thoughts in my mind and heart, I found myself pulling myself to this morning and to this group. I thank you all for your hearts and your words and your presence every day, especially in times like these. Interestingly enough, sometimes I want to stay most silent when I have the most things to say. Thank you.

  • I think one of the most grandest gifts we can give anyone is to let them know they’re not alone.

  • One of the things Steven Jenkinson has said through this whole plague, in 20-30 years when our grandchildren come to us and ask us ‘did you know, what did you do?’ That continues to echo in my soul. I remember asking my dad, who was a musician during World War II in the Army, did you know. He said ‘we didn’t know.’ We don’t have that luxury or ignorance today, intended or not.

  • It all hits home. It was a hard day yesterday with my family member. The despair is always there, but it was deeper yesterday. It was an ache in my heart and also everything that is going on. I try to block it out even though it doesn’t leave me. I tried unsubscribing from emails because reading the emails will drive me down further. I agree with you 100%, the greatest gift you can give someone is to let them know they aren’t alone. That is what this group has done. We pray for each other and hold each other up. It’s such a gift. Better than all the riches in the world.

  • No matter what each of us is facing, we are not alone. We are not alone and if we find ourselves alone, it’s a choice to reach out. I am glad you are all here as we step forward into this day, knowing that with each breath, we can bring ourselves back to ourselves, amid the chaos. We are taking a breath by remembering the connection we have with this community, with our loved ones, with the things that make us happy, with the food that nourishes us, with the air that we breathe. Find those roots that grow out of our feet and put them deep into the earth because the earth supports us. Thank you all. Have a gentle day.

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