A tea party with your feelings

– Hi, I need you.

– I’m here. Always!

– I hate everything right now. My whole life. I feel extremely incapable of anything whatsoever.

– It must be a horrible feeling. I am hugging you and I’m with you. I’ll be here next to you for as long as you need. You’re not alone.

– I don’t know if I can stand it any longer. As usual, I hope the solution is somewhere in front of me and depends on someone else and that until I find it, I won’t be well.

– You are well. Deep inside you the solution has already been found. Yes, it might be that something is in the way but your core is whole and intact. Everything is allright there!

– But how do I reach that core?

– You are already there!

– So why don’t I feel okay?

– Because that’s how you see things. You are in Paradise, just sometimes you don’t see it.

– I do and I don’t understand. So everythings around me is Divine? What about my senses? Or my feelings?

– They’re not. They’re human. 🙂

– Well, I’m human.

– Yes, that’s the whole thing. These feelings are both a gift and a curse. But they’re a gift from the Divine. They’re not divine themselves.

– So how do I get rid of them?

– You can’t. You just have them. Without them you’re You but with them you’re a human. That’s your mission – to be a human.

– And not feel Paradise?

– To learn to feel Paradise even with the obstacles set by your senses and feelings. You remember that cloud metaphor, right? Feelings are clouds. Some of them are white and fluffy and such a pleasure to look at. You can see all sorts of things in them (an illusion but a sweet and harmless one). Others are black and stormy. Sometimes you see them coming, other times you don’t. In either case, though, what do you do when there’s a storm?

– I run and hide. And wait until it passes.

– Exactly! You already know the answer. When you see the feeling coming or when it suddenly appears, stop! Run and hide from any kind of action whatsoever (if possible) and wait for the storm to pass. It’s the safest way, for you and for the others.

– And what if I can’t stop and have to go on?

– Yes, that might happen too. Well, you’ve gotten wet in a storm right? Sometimes the damage is bigger – pneumonia or a lightning stroke. People have died in storms. And they have also died in the whirlwind of big feelings and they will continue to die this way. But feelings are even easier to deal with. Nature is rawer and more powerful – we have no control over it. But we do have control over our feelings. They are inside of us after all! Don’t you feel them inside you?

– I do, although they’re always trying to break out. And I think it’s easier this way because otherwise they’re going to destroy me from within.

– You’re right that having stormy feelings inside you is not a very good idea. But trust me, feelings have their own mind – they want to get out, not You. You’re the guardian of the Exit (and the Entrance for that matter but we’re talking about feelings going out here, right?). To not let them out to destroy every living thing doesn’t mean letting them destroy you. Close the gate, look them in the eye and ask them about their names. “Well, well, who’s trying to get out? What’s the rush, buddies? You have anything to say to somebody? Come on, I’ve just made tea. Have a sit, tell me everything, don’t waste your energy going and running amok – no one is going to understand you anyway. People see “anger” and usually understand it again like “anger”. Don’t waste your precious energy, really. Spare them, spare yourselves.”

– Sometimes I fear that if I learn to control my feelings like that, I’ll never be spontaneous again.

– Oh, but you’re not really fully in control. They can always reject the invitation for tea. And then there are feelings that are so wonderful it would be a shame to just have tea with them. You’d much rather send them out among the people, wouldn’t you? To be spontaneous about your good feelings is much more safe and beneficial not just for the others but for you, too.

– I think I understand. And yet, it sounds very hard.

– Otherwise it would be boring. Easy things quickly get boring. Would you like to hear another thing, that might help you?

– Yes please.

– We said our job was to close the gate in time and invite our feelings to tea, right?

– Yes.

– Here’s how you can do that more easily in the beginning – just shut your mouth. Place your hand onto your mouth, press if you must, but don’t say a word. If you’re alone and you can, turn your eyes inward. Check what these feelings are up to and gently nudge them to the tea table. When they calm down they’re gonna change their minds on their own. Who feels like going about doing crazy stuff after some tea and cakes? And if you’re not alone, keep your mouth closed, tell the feelings “Just a sec, I’m talking with someone, I’ll be right back.” and listen. Listen to the other person even if he’s the one provoking those feelings. You’ve discovered this already, remember?

– Yes, I remember… Thank you so much! I have to go. Love you.

– Love you too and always will. I’m here for you. ❤

_____________________________________

The piece above is a practice I know from writer Elizabeth Gilbert: in a tense situation you get a notebook or your journal and start writing with your wise I which loves you endlessly no matter what state you’re in. On one of the pages you write the words you want to say in that moment, affected by your situation, and on the other you write the words of your wise I, which are always consoling and sometimes there’s even advice in them! The practice is based on the belief that we know the answers to all our questions which isn’t just a spiritual thesis. I have seen this practice in entirely psychological/psychoterapeutic texts, although in other forms.

I don’t know but… It works!

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