Ebb and Flow

I attended a seminar earlier this week in which I heard a curious statement, “Happiness doesn’t last because there’s no resistance. It comes in and out of our lives; it ebbs and flows.”

Without fully grasping the profundity of that statement, my inner voice kicked into high gear saying, “Of course we don’t resist happiness. Who in the world would want to do that?” In my haste to understand the statement, I missed the larger, more powerful message.

The larger message is really about why “good” feelings, like joy, peace, and happiness, flow through our lives with greater ease while “bad” feelings like anger, frustration, and upset have a tendency to hang around a while longer.  

It essentially boils down to what Carl Jung concluded many years ago: what we resist persists. And in similar fashion: what we accept dissolves.

Think about it.

We resist what feels bad, what we’re told is bad, and what we perceive as bad. As a result, the “bad” persists. Negative feelings take up frequent residence and, at times, a lot of space. In fact, they can take up so much space that there’s very little room for the “good” stuff to flow back in.

You might conclude that resisting the “good” stuff would be the answer, that doing so would allow us to crowd out the “bad” stuff. Good logic, though not a sustainable solution. In fact, it’s more like denial. The very nature and rhythm of life requires that all things ebb and flow.

Let’s take a quick look at the “elephant in the room” theory. It’s all about that thing that doesn’t get talked about, that obvious thing that doesn’t get expressed. Over time, that elephant expands beyond the room and begins to take up space in our hearts and minds too, no doubt generating some “bad” or negative feelings.

So, how does one go about getting rid of an elephant? It’s actually easier than you might think. All you have to do is feel the elephant! (As far as painting a picture in one’s mind goes, I’ll admit that’s not a pretty one!)

Feel the “bad” feelings, every bit as much as you do the “good” ones. You’ve got to allow them to flow through. It’s how trapped energy gets un-stuck. Energy, both positive and negative, needs to be expressed.

Ah, but "I dare not express myself," you say. If that’s the case, say hello to your ego, but don’t invite him in. The ego is afraid to let go for fear of losing control. and having the freedom to choose. Here's the good news: your feelings are not in charge – you are - and you absolutely get to choose.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not build a condo there.”

Feel your feelings, moment by moment, and keep moving. Let the sadness and upset ebb so that you can make room for the love and happiness to flow.

(Who in the world wouldn’t want to do that?)