As soon as we accept how we really feel , healing and restoration can begin. But for the highly sensitive person (HSP), the amount of time it takes to move through difficult emotions can feel ridiculously long.
I know because I am one (HSP) and I constantly look for ways to shorten the healing time. I used to try to bypass the difficult feelings and I have learned the hard way that doing that only ends up deceiving yourself and potentially hurting others.
Here’s what I’m learning. And it’s best expressed in a famous, well-loved poem by Jellaludin Rumi entitled The Guest House.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
Yes, every day brings with it the opportunity for a new event that can shake us to the core. What is the best way to help ourselves heal? Let the new arrival (feeling) in.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes. Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
My spiritual director and my therapist are both helping me gently invite in all my feelings and allow them to speak. Practically speaking this means breathing deeply through the emotional pain, accepting it just as it is, and—when I feel ready—listening to what it may be saying to me. I can do this by dialoguing on paper with the feeling or allowing it to settle somewhere in my body, noticing the physical sensations and then talking to that “felt sense” and (this is important) listening to whatever it may have to say to me. Yes, this all takes place in the realm of the imagination. And yes, it is important to accept the imagination as a place where wisdom resides and speaks to us!
In Rumi’s poem, we are to invite in the visitors.
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.
But this doesn’t mean that the difficult visitors get to move in and take over forever. They are guests, not residents. They can help us clear space (those helpful ones who take your stuff) but the anger, grief, sadness, confusion or despair don’t run the house.
What I have noticed—and what countless others who practice this feelings-based-hospitality will tell you—is that once entertained and listened to, the feelings move on.
They aren’t interested in staying. They only want to teach.
Are you ready to learn from them?
For information about spiritual direction or entering spiritual direction with me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teresablythe.net. Also visit my website for the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction.