Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Being Okay

I was recently on the phone with a friend who had just had a helpful but disturbing insight into her own less-than-life-enhancing patterns with others. Often the information we need to heal are insights that highlight a place where we have habitually gone unconscious. Doing the work to bring things to consciousness so we can deepen our participation in life can sometimes feel like a process where things get worse before they get better.

The revelation understandably made this person feel emotional. I could hear the tears in her voice. As we started to end the call, pulled to other commitments of the day, I asked her, "Are you okay?"

She hesitated for a moment, and than answered in a less than confident tone, "Yes . . . yes, I'm. . . okay."

I replied, "It's okay to feel emotional. Emotional doesn't mean you're not okay."

She laughed and confirmed. "Right. I can be emotional and be okay."

I've been reflecting on this conversation since it happened, realizing how often when we ask another if they are okay, we are (probably unconsciously) asking them to pull away, if only a little, from emotions that are uncomfortable for either or both of us to be with. And when we reassure another we are okay, we often cut off the feeling of the moment, suck up our tears and our shakiness and respond in a strong, clear voice we pull from some corner of our being, "Yes, I am okay."

What if we learned to say- to ourselves as much as to others- I am angry. . . or hurt. . . . or afraid. . . or sad. . . . and yes, I am okay.

What if we expanded our notion of okay to include having uncomfortable or difficult feelings that others can see or hear.

What if being okay really did just mean- I am a human being doing the best I can with what is arising right now, and I will continue. And that truly is, okay.

Oriah House (c) 2014

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