Years ago, I came to the uncomfortable realisation that I had become numb. Somewhere along the line I had turned off the tap that had brought to me my feelings, emotions, intuitions and appropriate human reactions. Somewhere, in amongst the dramas and traumas of a crazy life, I had decided I would be better off not to feel… anything. I could still stub my toe and complain about it however, and much later I could give birth and be aware of excruciating physical pain ravaging my body, but to most things – good or bad – it would be as if I disappeared, to a place deep inside where nothing could touch me.
Why does a person shut off feeling? In my case I believe it came as a small child when I was told that life was hard and unpleasant, and consisted of difficulties and penalties and punishment. ‘Real’ life was all about hard work, success or failure. It was about marks on pieces of paper and regular reports from your betters, highlighting what was wrong and never what was right. Real life was a mountain of must dos and must do nots… Freedom, peace and hugging trees were just a joke! Never permitted, never valued, never even talked about except in terms of wackos, weirdos and drop outs… Peace and Love were for drug addicts and wastrels – bad people who sponged off those who worked hard their whole lives. Good people like us work I was told, and work some more. I believed the propaganda, all its lies and limitations, and part of me began to close down because I never wanted to feel the intensity of the sadness of it.
I was led to believe the connection I felt with Nature and Trees as a child was not ‘real’. It was a fantasy that those who believed they were helping me, tried to squash. They succeeded oh so easily, because a small child always wants to be loved, and if you do as you’re told and think as you’re told, you’re more likely to receive a kindly word. Go against them and something is ‘wrong’ with you. Even if you are never deliberately disobedient, only gently going about your business, if you have not bought into their world you must have chosen opposition, and therefore become the enemy in some form. Little children do not want to have enemies. They just want to have love.
As you grow up you become so used to numbness you no longer remember how it felt before. You wonder in your quiet moments why you have to drink so much alcohol before life holds any joy at all. You know you will be judged in the morning, told off, condemned and looked upon with disgust, but it’s still worth it just to feel something for a while. One too many and it’s over the top back into numbness again – but hey, that’s familiar territory.
When awareness comes, as it does in the end, all kinds of interesting things begin to happen. It is as if every unasked question starts screaming for answers, and it hurts. Every lie becomes blatant and raw. Every attempt at smothering the honesty of Life becomes a crime. With awareness the Truth rushes in from all directions, and for years it literally took my breath away. How could I have been so dumb? How could I have believed such twisted pain and taken it as my own? Why did those who professed to care, persist in trying to poison me?
Now I am in the middle of the great unfolding. I allow things to come and go. I am releasing the blame, and releasing the pain, and am continuing to feel more and more. Now my love for the Natural World has free expression – I feel safe in the wild places. I am connecting again. Feeling means full expression of Self. It is the only true way to live. Without our emotions and intuitions we are shadows, half-alive… It is the uniqueness of the human experience and the ability to express it fully that makes a Life.
I can do that.