Several years ago I came to the conclusion that it was important for me to ground into my body. Ever since I can remember, it has been easier for me to live in my head--thinking, dreaming, planning, rather than showing up fully in my body--feeling, being present, taking action. Grounding into my body has been a beautiful challenge and lesson resulting in lots of long, slow inhalations, and long, slow exhalations that enable me to move through my emotions with more grace and presence.
I don't think I am alone in this experience. For far too long our culture has collectively put value upon intellect, while simultaneously de-valuing the importance of feeling. As a result, our culture tends to have an aversion to experiencing and expressing emotions because most of us are not used to traversing that terrain. Interestingly, this behavior mirrors our collective relationship to the wilderness. Most of our society lives a very mechanized, sterilized existence in an attempt to remain safe from the uncertainties, inconveniences, and dangers found in nature. The landscape of the heart is wild territory too. And so being, it is also rich and good and healing in ways that can be compared to a gorgeous vista-- you just have to go there and experience it for yourself. It is not always easy, convenient, or safe to get there, but it is worth the effort.
Sometimes the landscape of the heart is intimidating. It is at those times in the past that I have "checked out". The cliched deer in the headlights syndrome where I would freeze in terror. Afraid of what I might say or do if I felt too deeply into my heart. Afraid that I my fail or succeed. Afraid that I would never be able to walk through the canyon of sadness, or even worse, that perhaps there was nothing on the other side.
In moments where my emotions seem too treacherous for me to journey into alone, I call upon a trusted friend to witness me...someone to walk beside me for a bit until I can remember that the canyon will not swallow me up, that I just need to keep walking, and that it is ok to take in all the gifts of my environment. And during those times when I need more than just to be witnessed, I call upon a guide--someone who knows how to ask the right questions to help me find the path I seek--be it anger, joy, sadness, or fear...because sometimes you know the fiery pit is there, you just do not know how to get to it.
In a workshop recently, I was reminded that we do not get to choose which emotions we get to experience. We do, however, get to choose the degree to which we get to experience our emotions. If we only want to glide over our sadness from a distance in a plane, then our joy will be something we only get a glimpse of too. Conversley, if we choose to hike into the valley of our sadness, noticing the sharp corners of grief and the broken bridges of regret, then the luminous mountains of joy will shimmer and shine with a glorious light as we stand upon their peaks and drink in the fresh, cool air of pleasure that can only be found there.
While the journey is sometimes intimidating, the payoff is extraordinary. And if the thought of hiking into this territory frightens you, I encourage you to find a guide, or group of guides that will help you navigate your way into a fuller, more juicy experience waiting to be discovered in the landscape of your heart.
Take a deep breath and know that you are supported by the Universe.
Deep bows and blessings of love to you,
Suzette Winona Summers
*As a side note I am feeling called into being what I would like to call a "Heart-Centered Living Guide."
If you would like to learn more about this, or are interested in being witnessed and held in love as you journey through the terrain of your heart, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org