I recently listened to a podcast series by Christa Black Gifford and her husband, Lucas, called "Heart to Heart". I'm honestly not much of a podcast person, but the series was recommended by a friend and I had a few hours in the car to myself, so figured I'd try it out. In the podcast Christa and Lucas bravely bare their hearts as they talk about experiencing trauma in their own lives and the power of being vulnerable, allowing oneself to truly feel, even when the pain is overwhelming.
By the time I reached my destination, I had cried my way through four episodes (It's really that good, people). I'm not sure there's anything more beautiful than a heart coming fully alive, even in the midst of painful circumstances. I think it's what we're made for.
I hear lots of people talking about the concept of wholehearted living. From the foods we eat, to the way we spend our time, influencers everywhere are sharing their two cents about wholehearted living. Thanks to authors like Brene Brown, John Eldredge, Christa Black Gifford and Shauna Niequist, people are being inspired to slow down, embrace the mess, lean into the brokenness and be true to who you really are. It's beautiful, really. Yet I can't help but think this quest for wholehearted living isn't the end, but the beginning (more on this later).
A few years ago I hit a major low and all the emotions started spilling over; I felt as though I could barely hold myself together. For the few months following my move back to Texas, I became a hermit, allowing myself to sort of check out of normal life.
I was in the midst of a major life transition and grieving the loss of several significant relationships, roles and expectations. Once I started feeling, I couldn't stop. I was forced to either stay in and face the emotion or to ignore and stuff it.
And I'm here to tell you that facing and feeling emotion created a space for healing and wholeness that I would have missed had I chosen to escape, numb or ignore.
Oftentimes my gut response to feeling emotion is frustration. As if I can't wait to get over feeling emotion as quickly as possible so I can move on and get to the next thing. But I've learned that if I choose to not feel, I cut myself off from the healing and wholeness available to me. And in the end, I cripple myself.
The truth is that feelings and emotions are part of being human. And if you shut yourself off from feeling, you begin to lose touch with who you are. I'm in a place where I'm having to give myself permission to just be human again. To feel and to be, to breathe and to release and let go. It's freeing, really.
This morning I slept in longer than I have in months, made myself some french press coffee and enjoyed banana pancakes drizzled in butter and maple syrup. I think there might be something holy about solitary Saturday mornings; they've become a sort of weekly ritual for me, and this morning proved no different. Although I could list a thousand reasons why I should be doing something different because school is starting and I have a list of projects that need to be completed, I gave myself permission to take it slow, feel and be thankful for the little pocket of space on this Saturday morning.
Soon I'll get up and start moving to what's next. But right now I'll just be. And don't mind if I do help myself to another banana pancake.