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Learning to Feel

Learning to Feel

Our feelings are like weather patterns. They are changeable and act on the environment with great power. They inform and distract with their intensity. They reflect the nature of the moment with great accuracy. Our ability to experience and share our feelings in meaningful ways is one of the profound marks of our humanity.

Yet feelings are for many people a locked box, an experience that overwhelms and is difficult to express. We are taught in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of reasons to suppress our feelings. We learn to silence our feelings so well that the messages in our bodies are not even discernable. Suppressed feelings are not as invisible as you might think. They take on a life in our dreams and eventually become diseases in our bodies. Our inability to express our feelings cuts us off not only from our own experience but limits the connection we feel with the people we love most.

Part of the reason we disconnect from our emotional life is because we are afraid we will be overtaken by our feelings. Small children are frequently shaken by the enormity of their emotional experience. When was the last time you witnessed a temper tantrum in the grocery store–what better metaphor for a giant storm raging inside a little body? What happened when your feelings were too big to hold when you were a child? What happens now?

Jim Carrey was quoted in a Playboy magazine interview last year saying that “Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch and you get up to make a triple-decker sandwich. It’s on the other side of that, when you don’t make the sandwich….It is about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling. I am always asking myself ‘What am I going to give up next?’ Because I want to feel.” Learning to feel begins with a choice and the realization that authentic living demands the maturity to open up to your full experience, as messy as it might be.

This is, in fact, the do or die work of relationships; to have the courage to feel the full range of emotions that comes with intimate connections. It is literally the fuel for the fire of passion, the air that keeps a relationship breathing, the stuff of transformation and growing up. Just as our weaknesses and frailties are wedded to our virtues and strengths- the ability to express uncomfortable emotions creates the possibilities of discovering the love and passion that we want most.

How then do we make this choice to live a feeling life, to physically experience the internal storms of growing up and growing old? It is a practice, no different than learning a new musical instrument. Some days you hit the right notes, other days there is no melody at all. In agreeing to the practice, something opens and each moment gives you an opportunity to try again. Slowly you become comfortable with the weather systems of your emotions. Some days it is even comforting to know they are there.

Wendy Strgar, the owner and founder of Good Clean Love, manufacturer of all natural love and intimacy products. She is a sex educator focusing on “Making Love Sustainable,” a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. She has learned that physical intimacy is an important component of sustaining healthy loving relationships through her own marriage of over 25 years.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

5 comments

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9:13AM PDT on Sep 5, 2010

Thank you for your wonderful article about love and the 'weather'. We all need sunshine in our life, as well as rain and thunderstorms on occasions. But when we've had too many tunderstorms and be hit by quite a few blizzards, one keeps things in check and guards those feelings of love. At the same time, our antenna is set on high alert for any interferances that might distort our peace and comfort.

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8:05PM PST on Mar 7, 2009

WOW
feeling is just the thing i have been learning about from spirituality and my marriage. this article was very timely. i have been struggling a lot lately to feel all there is to feel so i can connect with my husband and life stream. blessings to you Wendy. your words are TRUTH

12:59PM PST on Feb 23, 2009

OOPS..."from these expriences I became convinced that all emotions, when combined with temperance are healthy, and serve a meaningful purpose."

Poet Dancer: I'dlike to respond to your ending statement with a quotation from Shakespear"...If music is the food of life, play on". However, a wise person will always have great regards for signals.

12:50PM PST on Feb 23, 2009

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for the viewpoint. For many years I failed to know the value of being able to "feel". This is an emotion that should not be taken for granted within itself. Twice in my life emotions completely left. Both times, it was as though I was the same as a dead woman, existing, but feeling nothing. How miserable. From these experiences I became that all emotions, when combined with temperance are healthy and serve a meaningful purpose.

11:28PM PST on Feb 21, 2009

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for your wonderful article about love and the 'weather'. We all need sunshine in our life, as well as rain and thunderstorms on occasions. But when we've had too many tunderstorms and be hit by quite a few blizzards, one keeps things in check and guards those feelings of love. At the same time, our antenna is set on high alert for any interferances that might distort our peace and comfort.

Does that mean we should try and try again until we crumble on the ground and can't get up any longer to dust ourselves off from the fall?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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