Remember that bacon-wrapped hot dog?
If you read my last newsletter, you might know that my son got food poisoning from a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a street vendor. (I know, sketchy!) But when I started the same uncontrollable purging a couple of days later, we knew we were in trouble (and that it wasn’t food poisoning) And yes, EVERYONE went down like dominoes. One by one. I was so grateful when Jesse was still able to take the boys to Universal Studios (their Hannukkah present) while I was the walking dead back at the hotel room.
I could tell you about how this was our first attempt at a blended family vacation – his kiddo and mine all together for some Los Angeles fun! And there was some fun… it just looked a lot different than what we expected.
But here’s what I really want to tell you.
As I was hanging my head over the toilet in utter misery, there was a moment when I couldn’t throw up but knew that if I did I would feel better. I found myself saying aloud to the empty bathroom – I AM WILLING. And almost instantly, I threw up.
I used this tactic over and over as I got through the grueling hours of this illness. Every time I declared- I am willing – my body would let go.
I think what I was trying to say to myself was –
I am willing to feel this pain.
I am willing to have this experience.
I am willing to let go.
I had to jump on a plane for Mexico yesterday and with each new bout of nausea and pain, I would say to myself, I am willing to feel this. And then I would watch. Not run away, but move toward it in my mind’s eye. Sometimes I felt it more acutely. Other times the pain would go away.
And now, I am wondering – What else could I allow to move through me if I was willing to feel it?
Would the loneliness I sometimes feel move through me more gracefully if (instead of pushing it away by distracting myself, numbing, getting busy) I said to myself – I am willing to feel this loneliness. And then actually feel it. All the way to the end.
Because the good news is that it does have an end. Most emotions only last about 90 seconds they say!
What about those other emotions we push away? What if I said to myself, I am willing to feel this pain in my belly, this tightness in my chest, this ache in my heart, this grief, this loss…
When I told Laurie this she said, “When you surrender to what is happening, there is less struggle, less fight. You step into the flow. Ironically, everything is easier.”
As I’ve entered into a new love relationship this year, I’ve had to be willing to feel the vulnerability that allows for intimacy and closeness. I’ve needed to feel the fear that comes with opening your heart to another. I’ve had to be willing to risk having my heart broken to receive all the goodness and love that’s right in front of me.
What are you willing to feel my friends?
Maybe you are willing to feel rejection as you enter the dating world again.
Life can more easily flow through us when we are willing.
Traci Ruble is a San Francisco based psychotherapist and founder / director of Sidewalk Talk, a global street listening non-profit.