Feeling Numb & Shutdown to Life
I want to talk about compassion today, but I have to admit I feel some tenderness as I sit down to write this. Choosing compassion is still relatively new for me.
As a sensitive, empathic person, I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling other people’s feelings without really knowing that was happening or what to do about it. Add that to our cultural shaming of emotions in general, and you get one overwhelmed system.
To cope I began to shut down. To block myself from feeling anything at all.
On the outside I appeared fairly normal, going through the motions of life, saying the right things, expressing gratitude, love, happiness when appropriate. But if I was honest with myself, I didn’t really feel those feelings in my heart or in the depth of my being. Truthfully, deep down, I felt numb. Nothing.
I remember telling two women I attended a workshop with that I was afraid my heart was closed. One reacted strongly. “Do you want to go through life like that? How sad! You shouldn’t do that,” she said. “You should open your heart.”
But not really that helpful, thank you very much.
Of course I wanted to open my heart to life. I just didn’t know how.
My heart had built up a master security system with walls and alarms and spikey barbed wire. It felt it needed that protection to be safe.
Unsurprisingly, my first instinct was to push and force my heart to open. To judge myself for being so closed and opening feeling so hard.
Equally unsurprisingly, that didn’t work at all.
Our hearts our powerful and capable of infinite love, but they are also tender and sensitive. They do not respond well to bullying. I mean, who does??
Learning to open my heart - to life, to love, to transformative energy like compassion - has required deep acceptance. Forgiveness. Allowing. Feeling all of my feelings, including the scary ones like doubt and sadness and fear. It’s slow. It’s messy.
And it’s freeing like nothing else.
The first moment of true compassion I felt was so gentle, so expansive. I could feel instantly compassion’s power to transform any difficult relationship or circumstance.
But I couldn’t get there without honoring my own feelings and pain first. And without creating spaces like meditation and Breathwork for my heart to safely open. To release the old hurts. To expand beyond my own point of view to acknowledge the common pain of being alive at this moment that we all share.
Not to unconsciously take on other’s pain, but to honor and witness it and thereby invite deeper compassion and understanding.
The truth is, it’s a journey.
I can’t sit here and pretend I’ve healed my heart fully and I move through life blissfully open all the time. But I am growing and healing, and part of that healing for me is holding deep healing space for you.
And that is what tomorrow’s Cultivating Compassion Breathwork experience is all about. I can’t promise you’ll feel a heart full of compassion for all of the challenging people in your life and cruise through the holidays with perfect calm as a result. But crazier things have happened in one Breathwork session!
At the very least, I know you’ll receive some reflective, empowering time to yourself. To release, to be in your body, to heal, and to gently allow your heart to open to life to whatever degree feels good to you right now.
It’s my absolute honor to hold such space for you.
And if Breathwork isn’t calling to you at this time, I hope this message serves as a reminder that it’s ok to feel numb. It’s ok to feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s ok for it to feel hard or scary to open your heart to life. It’s ok for the journey to take time.
You are growing. You are healing. Whatever support you most need to take your next step will be there when you need it. Claim it. Receive it. You deserve it.
I see you and I love you just the way you are,
P.S. Come breathe with me tomorrow, Dec 4, 2018 at 5pm PST | 8pm EST from wherever you are in the world to call in more compassion and open-heartedness. Learn more about upcoming breathwork classes below.