Our current cultures teach us to avoid pain and discomfort. Speaking about what’s wrong in the world, our relationships and lives and the pain, frustration, anger and even the despair we feel are considered unhealthy, not socially appropriated and a sort of illness that needs to be avoided.
We are taught to leave relationships, homes, jobs and groups whenever conflict or difficulties arise. We are taught to take painkillers at the smallest discomfort and pain in our bodies or souls.
We are not even allowed to be bored: there are thousands of things out there to keep us busy and entertained.
Even groups and spaces where emotions may be discussed, we try to make them “safe”: we are encouraged to censor ourselves and each other if ever a courageous emotion or comment emerges.
At the least sign of pain (emotional or otherwise) we are brainwashed to hide it, fix it, avoid it: we are taught to always be positive and see the bright side. Conflicted and complex, sick or traumatized people are seen as “toxic” and we are told to leave them behind…”everyone for themselves” is what our culture proposes: we have human rights and individual freedom above anything else, even above Life and Life sustaining systems.
Accepting and honouring the many ways we feel pain, frustration, anger, sadness or despair for what is going on in the world is not only healthy and natural, it is also healing and necessary for us to move and actually do something.
Avoiding any of these emotions is actually a privilege few have: those who can hide themselves from what’s going on, go shopping instead, run away from conflict by removing themselves from relationships, groups or places and those who have the luxury to turn off the issues by turning off a device or going to a far away retreat are privileged because they have a choice the majority may not have. They are also oppressive, because they leave these things unsolved and for others to fend for themselves.
Pain, frustration, anger and all those emotions are not only healthy, they show that you care, that you are alive and care for this world, your loved ones, your community, our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world, our companions in this journey: plants, animals, insects and more who have the same right to live we do.
I will be posting a lot about my own struggles with this phase of the spiral, but here I want to list the main issues for which I feel deep pain, anger, sadness or despair:
I invite you to take the time to witness your pain and other emotions emerging when you think about the world and its future. I also invite you to witness the ways you hide or escape these emotions, or the things you do to “fix” or “fight” them.
Finally, I invite you to sit with each emotion, journal about it, explore it, share it with a friend, and allow it to pass through you instead of staying stuck on you.