All of your feelings are welcome, and there is nothing wrong with you.
INNER ALCHEMY: Transforming Difficult Feelings into Love
INNER ALCHEMIST: One who dives deep into the inner darkness, dances with it, feels it, allows it, breathes it, and sees that in the process it is integrated into the soul, and is more fuel for the radiant fire of love.
If you are going through a difficult time today, or this very minute, or this very hour, I want to let you know you are not alone. If you are experiencing intense anxiety or even panic attacks, you are, at your core, OK.
There is nothing “wrong with you”.
You are not a defective item in this vast human soup. You are probably, par contre, one of the most alive ones.
I say this because I have been told this by people very close to me.
Because I am not ‘normal’; I don’t ‘fit in’; I don’t do what I am told to do. And I feel all of my feelings: the joyful, the hard, the sad, the tragic, the dark, the depressing, the anxiety-inducing, the panic-filled, the light, the heavy, the uplifting and the messy.
I am a highly sensitive human. I feel everything very deeply. To those who don’t feel quite so intensely I may seem a little intense. A little dramatic. A little over-the-top.
But that’s their opinion, based on the way that they have chosen to process and filter their own emotions. Based on the lense that they use to look through at life.
I consider that I am completely normal how I am. I am just…. myself.
People who tell you there is ‘something wrong with you’ may have a developed a pattern throughout their lifetime of dulling their feelings because they were afraid of their intensity. They felt they were dangerous. They may have been taught that feeling too much was dangerous, so they have completely cut themselves off from their deep feelings.
If you grew up in a family system like this, it is quite possible that you have become the ‘feeler’ for your whole family. If as a child you were surrounded by people who deny and supress their emotions, you may have inadvertently taken on this role, like a channeler, if you like. They cannot feel their feelings, but those feelings are still there, and they want expression. They (the feelings) may have chosen you as their avenue for expression. But because those in whom they originated are still supressing their feelings, when they see them expressed in you, they will label you in various ways, making you ‘wrong’ for expressing the feelings that they don’t want to feel. In effect, in judging you like this, they are seeing themselves in the mirror and judging these hidden parts of themselves.
I have a very particular understanding of mental illness, having a few people suffering from this particular label in my own family. My understanding is that there are no mentally ill people, but there are ill / dysfunctional family systems. The illness in these families comes, I believe, from unexpressed desires, unexpressed emotions, unexpressed words, unexpressed love, unexpressed pain and perhaps even un-lived dreams. These elements are pushed underground in the family unconscious, but they will not stay happily there. They become like a swollen sore – pus-filled, which is present in that family system.
All living systems seek healing
This pus though needs to come out. All living systems automatically seek for healing. All pus, automatically wants to be released and relieved.
So someone in this family system, usually the most sensitive one, will inadvertently become the one who is holding the family’s pain; the other members’ unexpressed feelings. And because this is far too much for this one person, their nervous system cannot cope with the role, and shuts down in various ways, or turns against itself.
And in our atomised societies that see humans as separate, autonomous individuals before anything else, these people are then analysed, diagnosed and labelled with any number of illnesses or disorders from the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and Mental Disorders from the professional Associations of Psychiatrists around the world). The particular names for these illnesses and disorders are in a constant state of flux.
I am not a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist, but I have been to sessions with both of these categories of professionals, and in my early twenties, I was also diagnosed and labelled with mental illness. I experienced a psychotic episode during a traumatic travel experience, and I was then clinically depressed for a year. My diagnosis switched a few times during that year from bipolar, to depressed, to schizo-affective disorder and back again. And at the end of that year, my twenty-first, I had electro shock therapy because I was desperate and all else had failed. I wanted my life back. And, miraculously, it seemed to work. Some neurons in my brain reconnected and life started coming back into me.
But even though I do understand mental illness as a family illness, this doesn’t mean it can be worked out through the family. It is almost like the person who suffers from this particular manifestation of mental / emotional pain has been chosen to be the one that processes it for the whole family. And if this is you, even if you have not been labelled with anything, but you are the feeler in your family, you have my utmost respect. It’s a difficult task. But it wouldn’t have been given to you had you not been up to it. You are a powerful being who has been chosen to channel the healing for your family system. And maybe even for generations of your family’s unexpressed pain.
What to do with the intensity of feelings that have been given to you*?
My suggestion: Become an INNER ALCHEMIST.
- Find out everything about them,
- Allow and invite all of the feelings into your inner house,
- Spend time with them,
- Talk with them,
- Invite them for tea, and let them stay for dinner if they wish to.
Your feelings and emotions are your guides and your messengers. And they may also be the guides and messengers of members of your family.
I know – what a task!
And I also know, you didn’t ask for that job. But you may have been chosen anyway. So say yes to all of the emotions that arrive in your inner space. Some may want to stay with you some hours, others some minutes, others for some days. Just stay tuned to them and don’t turn away. They are powerful messengers from your unconscious and want only to be heard and seen and felt. They want only to be acknowledged. And with this acknowledgement, with this witnessing, when they have delivered their message and you have received it, they can then dissolve and integrate back into your unconscious (and your family’s collective unconscious) in a whole new way. This is the alchemy process at work.
They can then become fuel for your creations! For the creation of art, of relationship, of work, of business and of your life.