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The Journey Is Not Just about Feeling Positive

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When I was a kid I used to wear out my red crayon out first. As the months of school wore on it became harder to find in the box…the paper peeled back from the waxy color, the point gone after the first use. Why I wondered were there not two reds in every box? But alas there were not two reds and in time I reluctantly tried others. Blue, green, yellow…black. I learned to live with them.

I also used to be the kind of person who tried to put a sunny hue on life all the time. I would have described myself as “positive” and while of course no one is always positive, I did achieve a certain reputation as someone who could make “small pox seem healthy.” But the truth was more complicated. I did have all kinds of other, not so shiny feelings: frustration, sadness, fear, confusion. Others, wiser than I know that it is nigh high to impossible to get through life without experiencing these. But instead of acknowledging all my feelings, inviting them in as Rumi says in the wonderful poem, The Guest House, I, in all my “positivity” tried to slap them down as though they were minor irritations interfering with the jaunty journey I wanted my life to be about.

It’s hard to get through life this way--wanting your life with just one color. To do so requires stuffing our feelings down, and in my case, doing it with food.

Over time I’ve learned to recognize all my feelings, hard ones and easy. It makes for a richer life, not to mention a more honest one. And along the way I’ve lost 30 lbs.
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