Okay, so how do I get out of the way and ditch the negative thoughts and worries that I have about this?
You can’t believe how much has come to the surface since I’ve begun working this miracle on this step!
In the book, I talked about how sensitive I am, right? My normal is to feel what everyone around me is feeling. Sometimes, I even know what they’re thinking. I’m one of those people who has always been accused of being “too sensitive.” But, I have no idea what that means! It’s always been leveled as kind of a criticism, implying there’s something wrong with it–something wrong with me. Which is why I really loved reading Glennon Doyle Melton’s perspective in her book “Love Warriors.” She describes her level of sensitivity as “paying attention.” That feels so clearly RIGHT, so decently compassionate. I heartily recommend her work.
There’s a snag in the fabric of that level of sensitivity though. Sometimes, it takes me awhile to recognize that the feelings I’m feeling belong to someone else and not actually to me. When I was a little kid, believe me, that was really difficult! It isn’t easy as an adult either, ha!
It helps me to begin each day with meditation–I’ve been doing that now for 37 years, and that practice helps me discern whether a feeling that I experience belongs to me or to someone else.
I have a feeling that you may not understand what I’m talking about here, so I’ll tell you a story. Hopefully that will help.
When I was 40 years old, I went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to work on my doctoral degree in Philosophy. My high-school aged daughter, Gina, went with me. We had to move in to our apartment a couple of weeks before classes started because I had also been hired to teach. On the Saturday before classes started, 35,000 students moved into town, many of whom had never been away from home for longer than a week or two before. On that Saturday, I had been working all day on preparing for the classes I was scheduled to teach, beginning Monday morning at 7:30AM, and hadn’t been conscious of the activity going on in the town. About 7PM, I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of sadness that I had no where to go on a Saturday night! It was such an odd experience! I thought “what the heck!?!” This is a feeling that I hadn’t experienced myself in more than 20 years!
When I realized that the last time I had actually felt that feeling was when I was 17 or 18 years old, it occurred to me that I was experiencing the majority of the feelings of the 10,000 or so, brand new freshmen who had just moved into town that day.
You can see how I might be afraid of what I’ll feel when a million, or more, people are reading this book?
When I close my eyes and ask my core self for direction on this issue, I see myself doing work to strengthen the muscles in my solar plexus. It is generally the place in my body where I experience the feelings of others. So, I’m working on it. To that end, I’m off to swim!
CL (Choose Love),