Poetry: Allowing And Understanding Feelings — Without Being Ruled By Them

The Golden Rules For Feelings, And Other Thoughts In Verse

CS Sherin, 09-10-2019, edited 9-11-19

Canadian Geese and Tundra Swans, La Crosse WI marsh. Photo by CS Sherin

FEELINGS…

are neither good or bad…
they just are.
If denied
they become like
exiled mice
burrowing and hiding
in hidden places
of the psyche and body,
indefinitely.
Only when
they are felt
and named
can they be released
and resolved…
even if it takes
50 years, or more.

If there is no room for certain feelings
they can get squeezed out
sideways
in unintended words or actions
that may inflict
lasting harm…
a lot of times
upon those
undeserving
and most loved.
Or we may express
inappropriate emotions
at inappropriate times
because we were never given permission
to show certain feelings, like
sadness, fear, or anger.

Feelings are like babies
or art…
they are so often
a surprise, an experience
created and flowing
through us without effort,
a full human experience…
emotions provide a needed function
that each of us is
responsible for…even
while others
may come to their own
interpretations
about it.

Feelings are.
All the feelings
are natural, honest responses
to whatever we are experiencing. Sometimes
they seem ugly and wrong,
sometimes they are
harsh
and exaggerated,
but truth is
they are what they are…
and everyone
has all of them
no matter how repressed and denied
they may be. Sometimes
the full gamut of emotions
haven’t been felt or
experienced, but the
potential remains
the same
within each of us.

What is important,
essential,
absolutely necessary
is
to look at our feelings
and name them,
especially the difficult or enigmatic
ones — whenever we can,
no matter
how clumsy or tentative
it seems in doing so.

Feelings, ultimately
are meant to be felt and then
fade…let go of
in the moment,
and recycled
into other energy
and actions that are needed
in each moment.

If we cannot let a feeling go
it becomes something else…
a thing, a force
that we
consciously or unconsciously
choose
to feed and hold onto…
like a depraved zombie
that is treated like a
beloved teddy bear —
it will surely cause
malfunctions and
other problems both
subtle and obvious.

If it is hard
to let go of a certain feeling
it may require really listening to
and responding
to the feeling, or it may mean
that one feeling is dominating
as a defense
to hide a deeper feeling
that was or is
less
acceptable to us
or to those
who
influenced us.

Look at your feelings,
name them, and
let them go.
Let it be
natural.
Let it be
like a passing moment.

No bird ever soars
by holding on.

Truly,
real and needed fear
can keep us alive,
and generate enough
kinetic energy
to fuel needed
responses to real danger
and emergencies:
like running, rescuing,
putting out fires,
fighting for our lives,
and so on.

Best we don’t hold onto it.
Best we listen to it
and respond. That allows
the natural flow
into
needed actions
and new feelings
and experiences.

Real and needed anger
can alert us to the fact
that our boundaries are being
disrespected, someone is
being harmed,
or that we need to
say no, because we are
allowing ourselves to be taken
advantage of, and we are giving too much.
And, it can tell us
that the other person
cannot be trusted, and shouldn’t be
at this time.
The anger serves its purpose…
we feel it,
we listen to it,
name and understand it,
and respond to it appropriately,
and then,
move on.
Anger too,
can give us new energy
to act, to respond,
to create
positive change,
movements for the good,
and new creations. Anger doesn’t mean
ugly. It means
something productive
needs to happen, adjustments
need to be made. Deep breathing
helps.

As emotions flow through and out of us
channeling difficult ones into
actions and words that do the least harm,
is most preferable.
Seeking to channel difficult
feelings can contribute to
health and creativity.

It is a choice
to be responsible
and transform pain and difficulty into
something helpful and
healing, or at least something
that brings greater health and balance
to self…
rather than creating more,
and unnecessary suffering.

In anger
I have created some
of my most beautiful
art. Channeling emotions
with creativity can be
surprising,
refreshing,
renewing. It can lead
to great things.

Easy feelings are easy.
Difficult and layered feelings
can be quite hard
and uncomfortable.

Rage and terribly sad can be much
harder. Along with resentment,
jealous insecurity and many
other challenging emotional
states brought about
by many dynamics…

Norms make some of these
unacceptable to feel or express,
except when channeled into
energy that bypasses
perceived weaknesses…

Feelings range the gamut
and can be easy to handle, feel,
name and let go of
unless
we have been in places
in circles
where
we were made to feel
over and over and over
that certain feelings are wrong and bad or
that there is no room for our feelings
or that feelings are inferior
or too big, or too much trouble…
there are so many ways
that our culture
has manipulated, exploited
and exiled feelings,
while also neglecting to
teach healthy processes for them.

Some of us grew up
being told without words that
there will be no support for our feelings
(trusted caregivers did this,
as was done to them)…or that
some feelings are forbidden. This is like
telling someone
that peeing is forbidden.
The pee is going to come out
sooner or later.
Seen or unseen.

Feelings are an automatic
and natural response to experiences
and situations.

Some of us received love when we
expressed pleasant emotions and then
likewise, love was
withheld
if
we expressed anger
or other “ugly” feelings.

Some natural feelings became
confusing, hard, forbidden.

There were so many unspoken judgements
and snares
like barbed wire for our
automatic, natural emotions
to navigate, all the while our brains
weren’t fully developed.

Drugs and alcohol often step in
for so many of us
to alleviate, numb, or mask
the difficult feelings and exile, and the
resulting anxiety and depression
produced
by such a dysfunctional culture
that has developed and upheld such
corrupt systems
that discriminate
and silence
among other things,
natural functions necessary
for
healthy development, comprehension and
coping skills.

Stress can be living in an environment that
denies and forbids difficult feelings
in public and community settings,
while also setting up media forces that feed
on stagnant, underdeveloped, unhealthy
held-on-to emotions.

Seems a stage set for devolution, really.

We have a right to our feelings. Just as
it is a basic right
to go to the bathroom
in a healthy, sanitary way.
We don’t have a right
to piss on others
and to take out
our pissed off state
on others.
Dealing with others
who are doing this,
or being cold and vicious
can be just as challenging
to handle.

We have a right to
our feelings and there is only
one over-arching
golden rule:

While feelings are neither good or bad…
when you are old enough
to understand and respond,
you are 100% responsible
for your own feelings and
how you handle them.

The GOLDEN RULE has many parts,
but it is all one
understanding and code:
We honor our feelings,
we take responsibility for our feelings,
and we take every measure to refrain from
causing harm to self or others due to our feelings.
We find ways to express our feelings
in healthy, honest,
creative ways. We refrain from
holding on to feelings, and instead, we
let them flow. Except,
with an anger that is unreasonably lit
with threat to harm, we engage our
breath, logic, and exercise — we engage
all manners of detaching from the lit rage,
as needed,
so that it does not become
unnecessary harm and suffering
for others
and self.

We are most true when
we realize:
No one makes us feel a certain way.
We experience our own feelings,
through our own experiences
and lens of perception.
Likewise, we aren’t responsible
for other people’s feelings.
Still, we can share a
healthy detachment that seeks to
acknowledge and honor the feelings
of others,
as needed, in order to
address something important.
Then, we let the feelings go,
and move on…
all the wiser.


CS Sherin, WildClover.org 2019©

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Mental Health Awareness Week, And 4 Things That Helped Me

“Hole” by Grafontour on Pixabay

CS Sherin, 10-10-2018

NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) designates this week as “Mental Illness Awareness Week,” with a goal to promote “CureStigma”, which illuminates the needless stigma people with mental health issues face in our culture.

Mental health and mental illness are important, huge issues in our world. There are so many aspects we need to address, I cannot begin to elaborate on it all here and now. All in all, we need to create systems that are healing and healthy for people, communities, and nature — and dismantle the corrupt, abusive systems, which contribute to trauma and mental health disruptions.

From a personal perspective, mental illness shaped my early life, as my father was mentally ill. In fact, he was a sociopath and/or narcissist. You can be sure there is a stigma to those words. And this is the first time I have said it in public. The repercussions of his mental illness, and the actions he took while mentally ill, are still felt in my life to this day. It has always been hard to deal with, whether he was present and alive, absent and alive, or now absent and deceased. In short, he was a product of an institutionalized infancy (state orphanage till the age of three) and institutionalized systems, like the military. Many institutionalized systems that care for children can create narcissists and sociopaths.

Beyond that, I faced my own mental health issues as an adult. I had a traumatic childhood, and faced unfriendly peers and teachers in elementary and middle school. As a young mother , I experienced a trauma that caused me to have PTSD, which I saw a therapist to treat. That was the trauma that was the tipping point of traumas, a culmination that started in childhood. A couple years after that, I became severely ill from Lyme’s disease. It was not diagnosed right away, and I ended up not being able to work for three months.

This caused what the doctors diagnosed as mild depression that was joined with IBS, anxiety, and panic attacks. After slowing recovering, and having taken the medications and therapy that I could from western medicine, I sought deeper and more empowering methods to heal my inner wounds and traumas.

That started me on the path of spiritual work like reiki, and holistic wellness in general, which I applied to myself before sharing it to help others. Looking back at all that I went through related to the spectrum of mental health to mental illness, I can tell you some of the key things that really helped and made a difference for me. We are each unique, and we each find our way to health and wellness in our own ways, but perhaps some of the following things we have in common. Here are four things that helped me the most as I climbed out of the dark abyss, known as a mental health crisis, back in the early 2000s:

  1. I asked for help. I knew my brain chemistry had literally changed from the trauma and illness, and that I couldn’t help myself this time, no matter how independent and private I love to be. I asked for help, and I needed it. I went to my doctor. I went to a therapist. I took an antidepressant for a period of time, and it helped. I was dedicated with a strong desire to find myself and climb out of the dark abyss I had fallen into of panic attacks. The most important and helpful thing that the therapist told me is that: my reactions and mental health crisis had to do with things happening to and around me that weren’t normal or healthy. Therefore, my reaction was healthy and normal, and my mental health crisis was a part of that health. That was a big relief, and goes a long way to removing the stigma.
  2. I read a book that helped me to see that the terrifying panic attacks that made me feel like I was dying a horrific death were actually an opportunity to connect with a deeper and truer part of myself. The panic attacks were an opportunity, it said, to face fear in order to rise up stronger. That book is called, Riding The Dragon by Robert J. Wicks. Books, dancing, and music have always been lifelines for me. That was one of them.
  3. I found life-giving support from people who know, love, and support me — people I trust and feel safe with. For me, that was my husband, sister, mother, and a close friend. The faces of the people in our lives may change at different stages in life, yet the important thing is to find at least one or two people, who are safe, healthy, loving, supportive, kind, and honest. When there is no one that comes to mind, that is when finding help and community through support groups and counseling can be the best alternative.
  4. I used the free tools that I had been taught as a teen and young adult. I had an unusual childhood, and not all of it was bad. I had some unusual, stellar, rebellious-in-a-good-way mentors, friends and family who taught me skills and tools that serve anyone well: breath work exercises, exercise/walking daily, singing, dancing, meditation, yoga, art/creativity, retreat, positive visualizations, prayer, healthy diet, avoiding toxins and chemicals, and spending quality time with loved ones, animal companions, and in nature.

The truth is, mental health issues affect everyone.

We are all on a spectrum of mental health to mental illness, and it fluctuates according to our experiences, environment, and many other factors.

There are few if any people I know who don’t experience some kind of mental health issue in some way, at some points in life. Grief, genetics, disasters, violence, war, abuse, corrupt and broken systems, institutions all play a part in how our brain chemistry balance fluctuates, and our in our ability to manage in insane conditions.

“Stop the Stigma” by Geralt on Pixabay

What helps me to speak up now is knowing that I was lucky to have the help and the tools. I was lucky to find a way through it. I was lucky to know I needed to ask for help.

Now, like too many other Americans, I don’t have and can’t afford health care on a regular basis. I may not need it now, but that doesn’t mean I can count on that always being true. I am proactive, and use the holistic tools that have served me well. But that isn’t always enough.

Not only that, some mental illness needs ongoing treatment and care from doctors and therapists. Our healthcare system is broken, and people who need help aren’t able to receive it.

We cannot remain silent. Not only do we need to dispel the stigma of mental illness, we need healthcare and insurance to serves a higher purpose of wellness with ethics, inclusivity, accessibility, and transparency.

If you struggle with mental health issues, the stigma of it, and in needing help but not being able to afford it, you are not alone.

If you need help right now, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to find support and help. They provide resources, hotlines, and a lot of the help is free.

An Irrational, Transcendental Poem For Pi Day

Celebrate the Irrational and Transcendental Pi that is Pi Day, with Pi facts and the inspiration of dreams, tea, and Adventure Time through poetry

Image by Aitoff, Pixabay

“3.14159”

by CS Sherin, 3.14.2018, updated 3.14.2019

We traveled to Australia.
We look younger.
We see the strange and unfamiliar
as well as things that look
just like home.
We are traveling with other tourists.
I am on a tall ladder-like platform, and
large Afghan-type dogs appear.
Four of them.
One comes to me specifically.
I am to put my hand on his back
and he will lead me where we need to go.

The dogs were blue at first,
then turned black, and last, white.
They can puff up their hair
when they want, and smooth
it out again at will.

We end up at a long corridor of
open dorm beds that are like
a partial camper-sleeper/barracks.
Some female family and acquaintances
are there too, it turns out.
I choose to sleep halfway
in the corridor of beds.
A woman across from me exclaims
that she knows she is sad because
when she is happy she feels horny.
I roll my eyes and think,
I have to put up with this?

Another woman playfully-not playfully
taunts me about not knowing
what a former friend is doing now.
I don’t need to know, I think, irritated
by these arrangements. And then,
the alarm awakens me.

Today, in waking life,
I saw the pi symbol formed
by tea leaves at the bottom of
my tea cup.
Quite
a surprise.
And has never happened before
or since.
Then tonight,
on Adventure Time
Finn drank from a cup
with the pi symbol on it.
My amazement was complete.
So I dove into all the
alluring pi facts…

Ancient Babylonia,
ancient Egypt,
the Old Testament,
the Greeks all
knew it to some degree.
Pythagoras helped
Archimedes to really find it.
Madhava of Sangamagrama found
more of it.
Within the atom and through
computers we find more of it
each day.
Irrational,
transcendental,
infinite pi…..
Wherever there is a circle,
there is pi (I smile
thinking of all the mandalas I create)

Pi is not a root–not algebraic.
It’s patterns never repeat.
Pi measures emanating ripples well,
and probability determination,
the unchanging ratio of any circular
circumference and diameter.

This is the day that 3.14159 (and so on)
tapped my shoulder
with it’s waking life answer —
a mysterious, romantic, infinite
irrational answer —
to my night of dreaming, and day of waking…

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197….They say
just those first forty digits could hold the answer
to our universe.

CS Sherin, WildClover.org 2018/2019©