Sunday, December 11, 2011

Passionate Presence

Catherine Ingram tells a story in her book "Passionate Presence" about a young friend of hers who said, "Pretend you are surrounded by a thousand hungry tigers.  What would you do?" Catherine said, "Wow, I don't know what I would do.  What would you do?"  Her young friend said, "I'd stop pretending!"

Most of us are so enthralled with the scary tigers in our minds--our stores of loneliness, rejection, grief--that we don't realize they are in the past.  They can't hurt us anymore.  When we realize that the stories we are haunted by are simply that --stories--we can be with what we actually feel directly, now, in our bodies.  Tingling, pulsing, pressure, weightiness,heaviness, big black ball of concrete in the chest.  And by being in immediate contact with what we feel, we see the link we are so much more than any particular feeling, that for example, when sadness is explored it may turn into a lush meadow of peace.  Or that when we allow ourselves to feel the full heat of anger without expressing it, a mountain of strength and courage is revealed.

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