We’re in the midst of a heat wave here in The Center of the Known Universe. I love it! I only wish I could be at a beach with you (No, not you, Morris! Preferably, someone like Princess, Latina, Juicy, Emily, etc. LOL!)
I’m back to feelings. A while back, I wrote a three-part series on feelings…
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We live in a society retarded in feeling sensitivity because it’s never been emphasized. In this world, conception is confused with perception. And the thing is you can practice some esoteric technique and it won’t change anything about your perception. Nothing changes because there is this incapacity to feel. We spend a huge amount of money, time, and effort into not feeling and we pay a high price.
We pay a high price when we avoid feelings as they arise.
Just so we’re on the same page, I make a distinction between feelings and emotions. I see feelings as the reality — the actual sensation of feeling. Feelings have a physical manifestation in the body. Emotions are the dramas we attach to feelings.
When we deny our feelings, they become “gooey,” and instead of passing through us, they clog up our psychic GI tract. It’s like an emotional constipation. You hear people say it all the time — they “get stuck.”
There are stages here. First, we create a habitual tension in the body and we literally cut off the free flow of sensation. The consequences are a lot deeper than you think. I once had a lover, for example, who found intercourse extremely uncomfortable, painful even. We tried everything: different positions, different patterns of stroking, lubrication — I did everything except swing from the chandeliers while she ran around the block naked.
I was at my wit’s end, until one day we were lying in bed and she began to talk to me. As she spoke, she began to cry. Of course, I became aroused because for some sick reason, I find the spectacle of a naked woman crying highly erotic. LOL! I digress. As she spoke and the more she unburdened herself, the more she cried. The more she cried, the more she opened. I mean she was opening in every sense. She wasn’t talking about anything specific. I was holding her — had been holding her — for the longest. Eventually, she just let go — something inside snapped or unfurled and she became open.
I entered her that day with no problem.
It was an amazing experience for both of us.
So there’s this price we pay for not feeling and part of that is this tension in the body. For my friend the tension manifested itself around her pelvic area, creating extreme tension during intercourse. But there are other manifestations. In order not to feel anger, for example, we clench the solar plexus and block feeling, blood flow and energy. To avoid feeling fear, we contract the pectoral muscles and collapse the chest. Over time these unconscious attempts to block feeling in the body leads to postural imbalances and stress-related illnesses.
You would be amazed at what one loving, unconditional hug could do for your poosie! LOL!
There’s another stage or strategy in avoiding feelings and that’s the use of intellectualizing or rationalizing our feelings. This is a very common defense mechanism and it can be infuriating to me. We sometime develop strategies to control or stop the feelings. We ask, “Why am I feeling this?” then seek for an answer that usually begins with “Because.” I am angry because you… or they made me feel sad when they… And in that way, we become caught in the endless cycle of cause and effect.
Another strategy for not feeling is venting. This one is very tricky because it has become ingrained in our popular culture. This is due to a misconception regarding the psychoanalytic concept of catharsis. Sometimes (especially if you’re a Nuyorican! LOL) this happens very quickly and sometimes it summers for a while before exploding. If you’re from New England, for example, it might take years. However, when the lid finally blows on that pressure cooker, there’s a lot of noise and hell to clean up afterwards. You can even cause permanent damage.
Venting is in actuality a rebellion against feeling. It’s a rebellion against the tension created between feeling and its repression. What happens is that we try to compensate for resisting our initial response with an explosive mixture of emotion and willfulness. Angry? You’re fuckin’ right I’m angry! And you had better sit there and listen to me!
Exploding or venting is not cathartic, it’s just another way to have control over feeling and avoid being overwhelmed. You think (rationalize) you’re managing your feelings by being angry. In fact, you’re not feeling a feeling, but doing emotion — creating drama. Rather than actually experiencing the feeling as a wave passing through us, we contract our small sense of self and become the wave. Rather than feeling anger or sadness, we say, “I am angry,” “I am sad.”
In effect, this movement or wave has taken over our very identity.
From the ego-driven, Mini Me, perspective the only choice we think we have is either to shut down (repress) our feelings or to be taken over by them and become reactive.
Either way, you’re still caught. In essence, we are still controlled by emotional states that are in actuality disconnected from the world around us and we are left with the total inability to offer our deepest gifts.