I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the different feelings we go through, all the different colors of the rainbow we experience, sometimes through a life time but more often than not, within a short amount of time.
It is a fact that everything changes all the time and the only constant is change. That is actually one of the first teachings of the Yoga Sutras: making us understand that our thoughts are fleeting all the time and they don’t define who we really are.
But I’m very amazed by our capacity to feel very extreme feelings or emotions at the exact same time. Fear and excitement, anxiety and hope, joy and sorrow, love and hate can coincide simultaneously or quasi simultaneously.
For me, the ones that come up the most are fear and excitement. At the exact same time, I can feel very afraid of something and very excited about doing it. Teaching yoga definitely falls into that category, especially when I first started. I would be so fearful but at the same time excited. Now it’s more when I teach a workshop or when I do something that brings me out of my comfort zone. The funny fact is I usually know that if I feel these two emotions simultaneously I’m exactly where I should be and doing exactly what I should be doing. It became a good barometer for me.
But sometimes, the fear takes over completely and I’m paralyzed even though the excitement was there. I always wanted to sky dive despite the fact I’m afraid of heights. So on our honeymoon in Namibia, I told my husband that I wanted to go for it. He did his military service in the paratroopers (at the time the military service was still mandatary in France) so he experienced jumping out of an airplane quite a few times already. We went to talk to the instructor and everything looked great. I was terrified but still excited. But the day of, I completely panicked, I got so much into my head and felt so much fear that I never made it to the place. As the quote at the top says: “fear is just excitement without breath”. And let me tell you my breath was quasi inexistant and my heart was beating really fast! I definitely regret not having done it but I was so afraid that I didn’t want to push myself.
And there is anxiety and hope: when you feel anxious about the results of a medical test but you are still hopeful and have faith that the results will be good.
And joy and sorrow: when you finally get pregnant and at the same time you are still mourning the miscarriages you had.
Or love and hate: when you love your partner and simultaneously hate some of his/her habits. Or that good old love/hate relationship we seem to all have with New York (at least if you live there).
There are so many other ambivalent emotions we can experience at the same time. I actually think we are able to go to these extremes just to bring us back to balance. How can you find balance when you haven’t experienced radically opposed feelings? How can we know love if we don’t know hate, how can we know joy if we don’t know sorrow…
Would I still appreciate summer as much if I didn’t know winter?
The important thing is not to get lost in the extremes so we can find a more balanced and grounded life. But thanks God we can feel all the feels and not only can we but it is our duty to feel them so we can start our healing process.
This is a shorter reflection than usual for I want to feel rather than analyze. This concept of feeling and just being keeps coming back in my life and in my diverse personal breaktroughs. So now I want to listen more closely, I want to give myself the permission to be and feel rather than doing all the time. I’m an achiever, once I have a goal I go for it but at this precise moment, I feel drawn to feel more. And what a better time to do this when I’m surrounded by nature on Shelter Island. The concrete jungle isn’t pushing me to feel as much so I’ll take this present opportunity.
As always, thank you for reading.