Explaining vs. Expressing

I was doing some completion work with a client, inviting her to get messy and intimate with herself, and really feel what was there for her to feel.

But I started to notice a pattern.

I would ask her what was there for her to say, and she'd begin to make a statement, and then begin explaining why she was making that statement.

So I stopped her and invited her to check back in and simply share the thing that was there for her to share. And she started again..

And this time, she stopped mid-way through and asked "Is this making sense?"

So I stopped her again and again asked her to check back in with herself, and simply share what was there to share.

And then she started to tell me why she thought she kept trying to explain what she was feeling.

(She was explaining to me why she was explaining to me!)

And I realized that we left-brained high-performers have a problem.

We love analysis. We love explanation.

If only I can analyze this feeling enough, it will go away.

And there's some truth to that, in as much as analyzing and thinking through feelings creates distance between them. As soon as I'm thinking about what I'm feeling, I'm one step removed from it.

I'm no longer present to the feeling of it — I'm now present to thinking about the feeling of it.

I was a master of this. Growing up, with a huge heart, it was very painful to experience the heartbreak of unfulfilled expectations, unmet desires, and pain (both mine and other peoples). Even things as simple as embarrassment became week-long ordeals to get past.

Instead, I retreated up. Up into my head. Up into the safety of analysis and thought.

It became a very good tool. I got really good at analyzing what I was feeling, and would get so busy doing that that I felt pretty good about all the "work" I was doing around my feelings.

"I'm really evolved!" I thought to myself (righteously).

The truth was, I was masturbating — navel gazing.

I was disconnected. I wasn't present to my own feelings. I was present to my own thinking about my own feelings. (Sometimes, for extra credit, I would start to analyze my tendency to think about my own feelings)..

The trouble is that explaining our emotions (whether inside our own heads or out loud) is just another form of resistance, and it doesn't let the emotion flow through us. Worse yet, if you do it enough, it starts to numb you. The colour starts to seep out of your world. You stay safe from heartbreak, sadness, anger — but you numb yourself to joy, love and exuberance as well. You reach a point where you realize you're living in a universe of greys.

What happened to all of the colours?

(You did).

The good news is, you can change this.

The way out isn't around, or over, or under — it's through.

You return your power when you shift away from explaining your emotions and towards expressing them.

The only real question is whether you're willing to experience your life in a world full of colours — because even though that means you get to be with your favourite colours, it also means that you have to be with colours like puce, vermillion, and chartreuse.

Which universe do you want to live in?