When you can truly let your emotions move through you, anything can feel good. In contrast, if you chronically tense your body to block “unacceptable” feelings, you won’t feel the simple joys in life, either.
I’d be really happy right now if I could feel it…
For instance, say you’re picking blueberries. You might feel great—content to enjoy the sun on your skin, your emotional connection to others picking blueberries with you, and the smells of nature. But if you’re not in touch with your feelings, then you’re out there in the sun picking blueberries, and it’s your next activity for the day. You are like a drone. There’s no feeling in it; you’re just doing.
Many people are locked up emotionally
Many people whose feelings are locked up in this way are sensation seekers. In order to feel—and I mean in order to feel anything at all—sensation seekers constantly put themselves into extreme situations and sometimes dangerous places. Those situations might involve sex, drugs, extreme sports or careers, repeated combat situations, or any other physically stressful scenario. To feel anything, your body has to move in some way, even if it’s only at a very subtle level. If there is no movement, there is no feeling.
Feeling is movement
Say you’re sitting and watching your child learn a new skill and you’re feeling joy. What movement is involved there? It’s one that comes from your heart as you breathe freely, a feeling in your chest.
When your heart fills up with gladness, it is literally a feeling in your chest and in your heart. It’s more than a metaphor.
In contrast, say you tend to hold your chest muscles very tight. The movement in your chest is so restricted by this chronic contraction of your muscles that it’s not possible to feel anything there. You can feel no joy. Being able to feel joy at the simplest things or to feel good in any plain old moment does not depend on your situation in life, be it financial status, job, or family. It’s not about external circumstances or outward success. It’s about what’s going on inside.
No matter who or where you are, no matter what your outward circumstances may be, you can feel deep joy and emotional satisfaction when you are fully integrated with all of your feelings.
Excerpt from my book, Emotional Utopia, Stop Searching for Happiness and Start Living It
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