One of the first bits of wisdomosity my therapist dropped on me when I started seeing her in the summer of 2010 was something along the lines of: “You do realize you’re not actually feeling your emotions, right?”
Um, what? I’m an emotional wreak! Why else do you think I’m sitting in your office crying? This therapy stuff is a waste of time . . .
In the almost two years of (fairly) regular sessions with her since then, I’m proud to report that I’ve not only figured out what she meant, I’ve also made tons of progress in getting past my tendency to play hide-and-never-seek with my feelings.
I’ve learned how to be mindful of not just when I am feeling, but what. I’ve learned to name the precise emotion or emotions dancing about inside of me. Sad, nervous, joyful, lonely, scared . . .
Goodbye anxiety ball of indistinguishable emotions avoided by way of staying way too busy / burying myself in a book / temporarily canceling out the negative welling up inside of me with the endorphins generated by a hard workout, or the pleasure sensors triggered by mindlessly consuming a comfort food. Hello recognizing early and often how well I am handling (or not) the emotions generated by the highs and lows of life.
Then came this week. My last in Ottawa. My farewell tour. Goodbye (or “see you soon”, as I called them, to avoid recognizing the possibility of any finality) coffees / lunches / walks / dinners / road trips / and bike rides galore. Letting go of 13-years of memories. Charting a course into the unknown.
To say this week has tested my resolve to be mindful of my emotions, to not wait until they are so many and so muddled that falling into my old avoidance patterns is infinitely more palatable than working through them, is an understatement.
And so it’s no surprise that it is now Saturday. And I am moving to Toronto tomorrow (?!). And I am sat on my couch, with this as my view . . .
. . . and feeling . . . lots of feelings I *may* have ignored a bit this week.
Not all of them. I let the tears spill while driving away from a number of farewells. Talked excitedly with my family about how much I am looking forward to not having to drive four and a half hours to have dinner with them.
But the feelings associated with the finality of it all; the reality that I must in fact stop cooking in my lovely gourmet kitchen because my kitchenware needs to be packed up and loaded into a truck tomorrow morning . . . that I have not yet figured out how to process.
That might take some time.
Good thing I left packing until the last minute (um, avoidance tactic much?) to give me lots of time to meditate on it . . .
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