Breakthroughs in life occur at the feeling level.
That’s the beginning and end of it. If we want to evolve, grow, face our fears, reach new heights, become the kind of artist we know we can become, we have to feel our way there. We have to feel things we aren’t accustomed to allowing ourselves to feel. Feel things we try to control and suppress. Feel things that we have judgments about. And then be brave enough to communicate those feelings to another. When we feel vulnerable. Exposed. Scared. Intimidated. That’s not just the call into acting. That’s the call into life itself.
Just feel. Period.
Your feelings don’t have to be pretty or together or understood by others. They don’t have to make sense. Feelings often don’t make sense – that’s why they’re feelings! How do you intellectualize love, compassion, hope, fear, sadness, empathy, desire? You can’t. Or you can try but the intellectual component only takes you so far. But the more we allow ourselves to actually be, the more our life begins to transform in positive ways.
But when we don’t give ourselves permission to feel, we move through life anesthetizing ourselves, putting us in a zombie-fied state of existence. A numbness that we accept as status quo. A standardized way of just getting through the day. We wake up one day (if we’re lucky) and realize we’ve merely been surviving, not truly living. Or maybe we’ve been living but not thriving.
To thrive is to be emotionally engaged. Curious, Excited. Passionate. Vulnerable. Out there.
The breakthroughs that have occurred in your life have all come at the emotional level. You experience grief, tragedy, loss and the experience profoundly shifts you or changes your outlook. You express pain, frustration, turmoil and an insight occurs from the release. You live in joy, ecstasy, passion and realize you’ve never allowed yourself to feel that wild or free.
You could argue that breakthroughs occur first at an intellectual level. Perhaps you solve a math theorem or make a new scientific discovery or uncover a new model for physics – and those achievements, of course, require a great deal of brain energy. But what comes with the intellectual insight is the commensurate feeling in your body physiologically and in your heart. You feel overjoyed or relieved. You feel gratified and elated. You feel a “Eureka!” sensation inside. That’s not intellectual. That’s emotional.
So feel. It sounds so easy. But when you begin to look at how often you cripple yourself from feeling, you realize that like anything else, it’s a journey. It takes time. But the pay-off is really truly living life, and really the essence of life itself.