In a society that often seems to have built itself around not feeling our feelings (and in fact gaslighting or otherwise invalidating those who do), a critical mass of people not seem to be becoming aware that not only are our feelings “valid and OK to have,” but furthermore, they are a precious resource.
Feelings are a moral compass; a bullshit detector; a portal to higher awareness.
The sharpest minds in the world might as well be dead chunks of manufactured hardware, if those people have not also been taught to listen to their feelings.
Today I’m starting a digest post of articles about the great value of various emotions that our consumerist-colonialist-“toxic-positive” society typically derides as “weak” or “negative.” Being able to identify one’s feelings and sit with them is a strength not a weakness.
How many forests and wetlands and would not have been flattened, how many of our fellow beings both human and nonhuman would not have been displaced or slaughtered, if more of us who were born into the consumer-colonialist culture, but know better, had been more insistent about owning our feelings and voicing them? Well, we can’t go back in time, but we can start now.
• “Reflecting on impermanence is not meant to make us miserable. But without that sorrow of knowing nothing will last, we will never get anywhere on our path. Sadness makes it possible for us to gain something that is much more precious than anything we could imagine. That is why we must contemplate impermanence. If there were nothing to gain, it would be foolish to think about these things—we would just be making ourselves miserable for no reason. But there’s a deep meaning to it all. When it dawns on us what the world is actually like, and we are consequently struck by overwhelming sadness, the next step comes naturally. We draw the logical conclusion that all things are impermanent and begin training in letting go.” (“The Secret Strength of Sadness“; Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche in tricycle.org .)
• Resources for Working With Climate Emotions (a collaboration between Gen Dread and the All We Can Save Project). “The IPCC Sixth Assessment report that was published on Monday has rocked a lot of souls, including many who weren’t previously all that shook about our warming planet. The process of realizing the dire track of climate catastrophe we are on understandably rouses painful and even despairing emotions. This is ultimately a good thing because we all need to feel about this crisis and not only think about it, if we are going to burst through our defenses that otherwise thwart action.” (Visit the page for list of resources.)
• Reading how other activists are reacting to the situation can be helpful. “6 Environmental Activists Respond to IPCC Climate Change Report” (Emma Lowe; mindbodygreencom)
• Emotional Support in Face of Climate Tragedy (JemBendell.com) “Many people feel very lonely in their experience of facing the reality of climate emergency and its unfolding impact on people and planet. Therefore, here are some links to resources that I have found helpful, as they enable you to get in touch with others.”
(Stay tuned for more links; I’ve come across some great ones lately and am digging them up for you! Also feel free to email me, for possible inclusion here, your favorite articles or other resources on the value of feelings, especially “difficult” ones such as anger, grief, and so on.)