I talk a lot about balance, the middle way, and I think that's my Libra tendencies. I like to find common ground, and that serves me well, but there's a yin to all of that yang. (How's that for overloading my intro with hippie talk?) I am really good at finding balance and compromise, but there is something to be said for jumping feet-first into extremes, and I think I could use a bit of practice.
I have this friend who wears her heart on her sleeve. She's super pregnant right now, so her emotions and reactions are about as extreme as they can get. When she feels loss or sadness, she cries her eyes out, right then and there, no holds barred. She told me she bawled watching Survivor this week, and then again in great sadness over a relative's failing health. She is also able to access feelings of pure joy and gratitude. When something really small brings a smile to her face, she grabs right onto it and celebrates it for all it is worth. She appreciates small gestures and strokes of luck, because she has let herself feel the opposite on previous occasions, whereas I typically do not.
When I drop Abby off at school, and she turns to wave at me, I feel my eyes well with happy tears, but I blink them back. Something tells me to keep it together. It's as though I restrain myself from feeling unencumbered happiness sometimes, guarding myself against the vulnerability that comes with having raw emotions on display. When I am upset, I shut down. I give the cold shoulder, I move through my day with sighs and don't offer much up to those around me. I have experienced moments of focused, visceral happiness, where feelings took over and I was there, I was in it. I have known grief and given myself over, at times, to enduring those experiences too. I think I know how to let myself give in to moments by honouring the accompanying emotions, I just need practice in my everyday.
I spend my days with little girls who have no sense of holding back. When they are happy, they throw their little heads up and laugh. When they are upset, their eyes cry big, fat tears that drop onto my lap as I offer comfort. They have an advantage in not being aware of past hurts, or of thinking ahead to what may come. They don't need to practice mindfulness, or leaning into strong emotions, they just obey what comes naturally. So, it stands to reason, I spend my days with great teachers.