Permission to Feel Good

EQ and Energy Series: Part 1 Permission to Feel Good

Pacific Golden Plover

In honor of the many lessons I have learned and continue to learn from the birds here in Hawaii, I am featuring their awe-inspiring behaviors as captured by my husband and gifted photographer, Norman, in this post. 

This past year as Nature guided us inward by limiting our ability to go outward, Norman and I discovered our own way to still find wonder and beauty in our corner of the world through birding. Watching birds just be themselves oddly gave me a lot of permission to do the same in my own life. I noticed that every time I watch birds, I simply start to feel good.

Java bird

Emotion is described as energy in motion. In order to have emotions and understand them, this requires us to have an energy system through which the energy flows. More and more we are hearing about energy these days and perhaps still feeling somewhat separate from it (because we don’t see it with our physical eyes). Yet, more and more the understanding of ourselves through the lense of energy and having an energy body is resonating with many people.

I see that this is happening because the average person is becoming more aware of their own emotions and, therefore, on a collective scale we are becoming more emotionally intelligent. We do this by not repressing our emotions as much or making excuses for why we should not listen to or allow them. We hear the words “self-care” more and more, and especially since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have been bombarded with questions like, “What is healthy and safe for me?” “Am I allowing others to make their own safety choices?” Our understanding of both compassion and free will have been tested. Regardless of any conclusions each of us have come to, over this past year we have all been studying emotional intelligence.

Red cardinal. When it rains, it takes the opportunity to bathe itself

Feeling Good

I see the foundation of emotional intelligence as beginning on the individual level: being able to recognize emotions when they arise inside of us, having realistic expectations of the behavior of emotions (including the ability to accept their presence), and being able to discern for ourselves what feels good in our body and what does not. 

When I look at Nature I always feel a little bit of envy at how everything just flows. I’ve never seen a bird sit around being depressed, bathing in self-loathe, or seeming to be on some endless quest to figure something out. I am the most moved when I see a bird just sit and rest on a branch–not singing or looking for something to eat– but resting. Wow. Birds don’t have the same minds as humans, but they listen to their inner rhythm and they even know that feeling good matters. Resting is an act of self-care that allows the body to rejuvenate and helps the mind calm as well which creates a wonderful balance that naturally invites good feelings back into the body. 

Zebra Dove dozing off

Up until the pandemic hit, much of the world was fixated on things like progress, productivity, and efficiency. I’ve heard voices out there that say, “I’m going to juice every drop out of life and live it up to the max, yolo! I’ll rest when I die.” The enthusiasm is REAL, but the idea that rest and self-care is not part of the equation is where the idea of living a great life and actually feeling good during our everyday experience of life becomes incongruent. 

Also, our idea of resting does not always yield its intended results. Maybe we sit down, pour ourselves a cup of coffee, check our phones and browse the internet. Only half of us (the body) is actually somewhat resting. What is behind this inability to settle the mind? I see that it is often some seductive idea we carry that tells us that doing something is better than doing nothing. We are in many ways addicted to the idea that we need to be productive. In such a society, being productive becomes a primary way for us to feel self-worth. Therefore, no good feelings will come (that are worth our time) by stilling the mind. 

Mina bird. This bird is very territorial and has a hard time relaxing when other birds are around

This is where experimentation yields us our own answers. Is it just me or do others out there find it difficult to feel gratitude without stilling the mind? I have never observed myself fill up with gratitude and maintain that high vibration WHILE multitasking. A part of me feels it is possible, but when I am honest and observant of my own capabilities I see that I’m not able to do so at present. I can feel a gratitude ‘ping’ that comes and goes like a text message, but is that all I am capable of? Actually, to fill my energetic body with gratitude and just sit in it is still not an easy state for me to achieve despite having kept a regular meditation practice for several years now. This is because I’m still detoxing my belief system of these addictive patterns of multitasking and of continuing to associate being productive with the highest form of feeling good. 

Heron. Sitting in stillness

Trust me, I enjoy feeling productive, but gratitude feels WAY better both in the body and mind.  Enjoying productiveness yields a positive state of mind while the body is in movement or the mind is creatively engaged in something. However, clinging to the feeling of being productive does not go with Nature’s flow, because we ignore our own need for rest and create more permission to work hard often at the expense of our health. 

When we are addicted to the energy of being productive, duality sets in and naturally the idea of resting becomes synonymous with being lazy. We create rules for ourselves: “No indulging in rest until you achieve xyz.” “Complete this checklist and then you are allowed to feel good.” Life becomes a waiting game to allow ourselves to feel good and this pushes us further away from the present moment which is the only time we ever actually feel good. These rules make up our own personal equation for allowing ourselves some amount of self worth, but the moment something in life interferes with our ability to be productive (like a pandemic), those feelings of self worth can dwindle away and feeling good can feel far from possible. 

Rose-Ringed Parakeet. Eating something tasty is a quick way to feel good

There is the conceptual idea of feeling good, and then there is the actual physical and emotional experience of feeling good. When you dive deeper into the study of energy, you eventually are forced to become more emotionally honest with yourself and this means monitoring yourself throughout the day, not just summarizing your idea of how good you think you feel over coffee with a friend on the weekend. This daily self monitoring is a practice that grows one’s inner awareness and its byproduct is more emotional intelligence–more awareness of energy. 

Rose-Ringed Parakeet

Growing Inner Awareness of Feeling Good

Reflecting on just one or two of these kinds of questions daily can deepen our awareness of our own emotions and help us discover our own blind spots.

-What percentage of your day do you feel good in your body? 

-What is your idea of feeling good? Is it simply the absence of pain or discomfort? 

-How much permission do you have to feel good? Is it something you have to earn?

-How much of the energy that keeps you from feeling good in your body is self-generated? 

-Do your thoughts determine your ability to feel good? If so, do you feel like you are a slave to your thoughts? Do you have tools to help you separate from your thoughts? 

-Do you believe you have much control over your ability to feel good?

-When you catch yourself feeling good, how long does it usually last? How could it last longer next time?

-Some forms of feeling good come in a big intense rush, do you expect feeling good to always feel THAT good? What expectations do you have about your body’s ability to feel good? 

Rooster. The rooster’s crow is a signal to awaken

Even as I compose this blog post, I am practicing my awareness of and ability to feel good. As much as I feel in flow and deeply moved by what comes through me and out on paper, I am not WHAT I write. I am not the final written product that I will share. I do not have to buy into those equations of self worth that create imbalance and the inability to find congruent stillness between mind and body. I can practice a higher level of self-care–a truer restful state that isn’t grasping outwardly as if permission to feel good exists only outside myself. 

House Sparrow. We cannot always rely on external stimuli to always be uplifting

Perhaps it isn’t what we see that matters, but with what mind and heart we see.

The sunset we see the evening we celebrate an anniversary, and the sunset we see the day after a loved one has passed.

Perhaps it isn’t where we go that matters, but with what mind and heart we go.

We go somewhere new to get away from our problems, or we go somewhere new because we feel an inner calling to go there.

Perhaps it isn’t what we create that matters, but with what mind and heart we create.

We might create a product because we believe it will be helpful to others, or we might create a product to prove to others that we have talent.

Perhaps it isn’t what we say that matters, but with what mind and heart we speak.

Telling someone we are happy for them and truly feeling happy for them, or telling someone we are happy for them when inside we want them to fail.

Orange-Fronted Yellow Finch. How aware are you of the energy behind what you do? Can you observe the energy behind what others are doing?

In the dimension of energy, there is the healthy vibration of a truth and the warped vibration of a lie. As humans, we depend a lot on our ability to communicate with words and, therefore, give a lot of our power away to words that come out sounding “good.” However, trusting in words alone is the reason why we experience being lied to. If we could all read the energy behind words, we would always know the quality of the vibration being directed our way. We would never look outside of ourselves for the truth, because we would see it for ourselves. This is the power of energy–emotional intelligence. 

Increasing our permission to feel good is a great first step to deepening our emotional intelligence. It takes inner work and practice, but as we further understand our own mind and heart connection, we learn how to manage our emotions rather than ‘become’ them. I am excited to share more insight into this wonderful journey that I’ve embarked on, including how I stumbled into this practice of not only learning about energy in motion, but learning to see it with my inner sight.  

Thank you Norman for letting me share your amazing photos!

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