For better or worse, we humans were blessed- or cursed- with the ability to reason. We have the full gamut emotions and we experience them every moment of everyday.
And here’s the tragic irony of it all- our society dictates to us which emotions we are to embrace and the ones we should be embarrassed by or simply ignore as irrelevant or a sign of weakness.
How many times in your daily life has an emotion risen and you dismissed it as a sign of weakness? How many times have you shunned a feeling or a true, authentic emotion- because that voice in your head (not really your voice, but some father-figure or mysterious masculine identity from your past)whispered in your ear that you were a complete pansy for even letting that thought cross your mind?
I ask this because over the past few months- or even years- as a nomadic gypsy, I’ve crossed so many paths with so many people. I have met both the enlightened souls who willingly embrace their emotions and the tortured souls who run in fear from the very feelings that dwell deep within.
Yet the conflicted one, the ones who come to me at some point in time- usually in a personal capacity- who need a catalyst and are seeking some drastic change in their lives to help them step into their own, are tortured by their emotions.
The conflict is so easy to witness from the outside and as a person with a strong sense of intuition, I can immediately recognize this tortured soul. Their actions do not match their words. At the first moment of emotional engagement, they disappear. And I may not hear from them for months, sometimes years.
It breaks my heart because somewhere during their life, some voice or some person took this soul, at their most vulnerable and exposed moment, and told them the emotions that engulfed them were not supposed to be present. This poor soul was crushed and smothered and told that the pain and turmoil that was real and thriving inside of them was wrong and they were weak for even possessing such an emotion.
And now, this person stands before me as an adult- unable and unwilling to sit with the discomfort that life presents before them. I can see their true self, buried beneath all the emotional garbage they’ve harbored for so long- and that true self is so beautiful, lovely and in such pain. Yet reaching that true self is not possible if the person can not touch the pain and the turmoil the lives within and keeps the soul imprisoned.
For to truly live in this world with your eyes wide-open- to see all of life’s beauty and all of its sorrow- you MUST be able to sit with the entire gamut of emotions.
You MUST sit comfortably with your anguish. You MUST embrace your sorrow with the gentle arms of a longing lover. You MUST recognize your vulnerability and then hold it out for another person to witness and recognize- and respect. You MUST greet your pain with the mutual understanding that it demands and simply be one with it- for however long it accompanies you.
You must walk along side your sadness and feel its every caress, its every whisper and its every kiss until the day when you are simply able to part ways with it, with the respect and the admiration that it deserves.
There are no pills to remove these emotions. No drink nor drug can take the intensity of these feelings and remove them from your soul- such distractions will only prolong their presence in your life. Ignorance, in this instance, is not bliss. It’s a waking death.
I parted with my long-term companion several months ago. My sadness, who walked as a quiet companion for over a decade finally told me it was no longer mine to bear, and it simply left. Clearly and distinctly, like someone was whispering in my ear- it said goodbye. But to get there, we traveled many roads and many years together. It’s a sadness that I had come to understand and truly, had come to welcome in some moments. It was my familiar. And that’s not to say that over the past 12 years I haven’t had moments of pure joy and ecstasy- that I haven’t lived a life that was filled with the experiences and moments that others dare to dream of- my life is all of that. Yet, sadness was always riding in the backseat. And that’s OK, I understood its presence and it was warranted.
But since we parted ways- with the inevitable understanding that we’ll probably cross paths again at some point in life- people have entered and re-entered my life who embody all that I was seeking and all that I knew existed, but was unable to see clearly enough to bring them into my life.
In the past few months, I’ve had the blessed pleasure to have men (and some lovely ladies) enter my life that not only recognize the full gamut of human emotion- but they are not afraid to embrace their presence. And the refreshing relationships that have ensued just make my heart sing. Finally- men who are not afraid to actually feel the emotions that society ignores or degrades. Finally- men who will sit with their vulnerability- and mine- and not run screaming like a banshee in the other direction.
Finally- men who harbor the maturity, compassion and wisdom to recognize both the joy and the sorrow, the pain and the sadness, the beauty and the fallacies of being human.
(side note- we women carry all of these emotions as well- and ignore them in just the same capacity, I’ve just been able to bring a handful of powerful, strong and beautiful women into my life over the years already)
And this gives me hope. Knowing these souls exist and are part of my life now gives me joy.
And while I’ll always be there to try and guide the lost souls who are seeking a different path in life and I will try to translate my perceptions of the world into something that can act as a catalyst for them- it is truly invigorating to have beautiful people in my world to share this lovely and arduous journey that is life.
So I ask you, lovely reader, are you able to sit with your emotions? Can you embrace all the sorrow, anguish and joy life has to offer and understand why it exists in your life? Can you grow from these intense feelings- or do you hide them away in fear and disdain?
For if we are to truly evolve into the enlightened beings that the world now needs- and is demanding from us- we MUST understand, recognize and embrace all of who we are and what we feel in this world.
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The images in this essay were taken on my current assignment in Italy and France and you can purchase a print or just see more from my travels at my gallery or just click the image.