Last week I had a strange phone encounter.
I was talking to a customer service representative for a company I shan’t name, due to a saga I somehow manifested involving long waits, being ported from person to person to person (none of whom was empowered to do anything about my situation) and weeks-nay, months now-without resolution.
Finally in a conversation with this one particular customer service representative I heard myself saying, “I just feel like crying right now, I am so angry!” And then, I did start crying.
It was embarrassed, because my ego really likes its persona of being in control. I pride myself on handling conflict with aplomb.
And really, while the situation was frustrating, and perhaps even worthy of a good cry, I realized, when I had some time to reflect, that I wasn’t crying over this situation.
Instead, I had to ask myself: when else have I felt out of control, disempowered and helpless?
Oooooh, OK. Now I was getting somewhere.
I recognized unprocessed emotions from something that was really important in my life (a recent decision involving one of our children). And that brought up older unprocessed emotion involving other situations in my life when I felt out of control, disempowered and helpless.
When I was able to name those feelings and hold a compassionate place for them to just be what they were, they began to dissipate.
And now, when I think about the situation that brought me to tears last week (still unresolved, by the way), I can smile and offer thanks for the healing it is bringing into my life.
Sometimes, you just have to lie down and cry.
A few months ago, I wrote this poem about making space for the difficult feelings inside of myself.
A sky like that
ought to be enough
even for the most intransigent
Just look at it:
light-laden coral clouds
cascading across a cornflower
canvas, coaxing me to thaw
my frozen feelings
in the face of their phenomenal
And yet, I stand unmoved.
What use have I
for heartbreaking beauty?
I’m holding a heart already
a hundred times broken.
So surround me with sunsets,
beleaguer me with beauty.
Tonight the only tender
thing that I can do
is make space for one
who cannot even weep for
will be time enough
for dénouements and
Tonight, let the beauty be
that while the fading light
leaves me feeling lost
I can sit
heart to heart
with my own longing
and have no need to make it
other than it is.
Ó2010, Kimberly V. Schneider
The most healing thing you can do when faced with challenging emotions is to stop. Notice how you’re feeling. Breathe. Find your center. Connect with your Essential Self. Know that help is yours. Let love fill you. Be peace.
When you remember who you are, you don’t need to change anything outside your self. Everything you need is right here.
And here’s the really beautiful part: when you let yourself feel your feelings, when you create a compassionate poem inside yourself for all of who you are, you no longer need to dump your dense energy into the Collective Unconscious, where it might result in someone uttering an angry word, or hitting a child, or picking up a gun, or dropping a bomb.
Never underestimate the power of a little self-compassion.