Embracing The Fullness Of My Feelings – By Nicola O’Hanlon

collage-1479137590314Today the moon is full. I follow the moons cycles, as is the way of my spiritual practice. When the moon is at its fullest I use it as a guide to explore how I feel, in an attempt to embrace myself fully. All my parts. Not just the bits I like but also the bits that I’m not totally wild about.

One of the most significant of lessons I have learned is that categorising feelings into good and bad piles is a complete waste of time. Through my years of self-development my perception now is that there is no such thing as a good or bad feelings. Feelings just are.

I noticed the reaction of my rescue dog Ruby, to the new arrival of Reggie, another rescue dog we adopted this week. She wasn’t happy. She sulked and became quiet and basically reacted to the presence of this other being, who she had to now share her space with. She’s giving me looks of WTF have you done to me. And seriously she has a point here!

Us humans would experience those feelings in ourselves as betrayal, jealousy and encroachment of our private space. On top of feeling those feelings, we’d feel associated feelings of guilt for feeling the original feelings.

Why? Because we have been taught that certain feelings are negative or bad. We have come to understand feeling emotion such as anger, jealousy or envy is wrong and if we are not all love and light and accepting every situation we face with open arms, we are selfish…..another perceived bad trait.

But is Ruby judging herself for her feelings and reactions? Well I’m not a dog and I can’t be sure that dogs don’t feel guilt, but I’m guessing that since she hasn’t been indoctrinated with shame around feelings, she’s probably fairly chill with her sulkiness. She will also decide when she’s ready to accept Reggie and until then the household will just have to suck it up.

I have also learned that for the average human it’s impossible to rid ourselves of feelings until we accept that we really get off on feeling them – yes even the bad ones. My teacher Carolyn Elliott says that “having is evidence of wanting.” That concept completely blew my mind.

It meant that my recurrent financial struggles, my disastrous love life, my tendency towards isolation and lack of true friendship, were all things I created because in my very dark reaches, I completely enjoyed the sensations associated with them.

Basically, what keeps showing up in our lives does so because we love the feelings associated with it. We love the burning sensation and adrenaline rush of jealousy or anger or abandonment as much as we love the sweet sensation of love and peace. If we live in chaos or are dealing with inner turmoil most of the time it means we love the burning sensation more than we love the sweet feeling.

And it’s our unconscious or shadow side that creates the situations so that we can keep feeling that exquisite burning over and over again. This is why our conscious and unconscious need to be best friends so we know what the other is up to. Isn’t that mind blowing? I’m absolutely aware, depending on where you are in your development or recovery, that you many find this concept totally offensive and exasperatingly melodramatic and outrageous.

But just think about it for a minute. Really get honest with yourself about the reactions of your body to the situations you encounter. It may be a very enlightening experience for you. How do you feel really, when yet another lover leaves you? Or when you get rejected because of your radical thinking by your community. And what purpose do these seemingly disastrous events play in your life? Well you get to be the eternal damsel in distress feeding off the pity and kind words of others, or the superior mind, never having to conform, a righteous rebel. And how delicious is it to stand out from the crowd as the tortured one living life despite all the adversity?

I would like to clarify that in no way does this apply to things you have no control over. That being the actions of other people or the decisions they make. But it absolutely applies to situations that you place yourself in willingly.

It is my new understanding that I have manifested some of the most awful situations in my life into being. I have in fact, been in charge of things I first thought I had no power over. I saw my life as a series of bad luck events when in actuality I was putting myself in situations because of some deep rooted need for them. I’m a pro at the law of attraction when it comes to the yuck stuff. And seriously can you imagine applying that manifestation process to creating the joyful stuff?

So at this point I’m totally done with manifesting the yuck. I’m on a relentless path to creating a life where I’m not constantly cleaning up my own crap. I’m learning to align myself with feelings of peace and tranquility rather than chaos and drama. Watching my dog Ruby be totally accepting of her shadowy aspects further solidifies that being real and honest about our situation is the first step to making it different.

Nicola O'Hanlon

About Nicola O'Hanlon

Meet our Editor-In-Chief, Nicola O'Hanlon. She created this website, along with the help of the InTheRooms team in September 2015. Her work has been published in several recovery magazines, including Recovery Today, In Recovery Magazine, AfterPartyChat.com, Psychology Today and Reach Out Recovery to name but a few. She has also had her work published in two Feminist anthologies and a book of personal recovery stories. Born and raised in Wexford, Ireland she still lives there with her two children, Christopher and Jessica. Her background is in healing through Massage Therapy, Reflexology and Sechiem Energy Healer. She has combined her professional and life experience and now coaches women on how to empower themselves. She runs the Womens Wisdom Healing Circle meeting, on InTheRooms.com every Sunday (Noon est 5pm UK & Ireland), which is a non program specific gathering of women seeking support, encouragement and healing. Already an expert on how not to live life she is a constant seeker of new and better ways of being. Nature is her Higher Power and she believes in magic, crystals and blames the phases of the moon for her multiple personalities.
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  1. Brilliant as always and great comments too xo

  2. What’s up,I read your blogs named “I Love Recovery CaféEmbracing The Fullness Of My Feelings – By Nicola O’Hanlon” like every week.Your story-telling style is witty, keep it up! And you can look our website about proxy list.

  3. Nicky, I love how you put it, “the burning sensation of anger” and the “exquisite burning rage”. Oh how painful it was for me to realize that in my dance with the devil I had become addicted to my anger. It was such a hard thing to let go of, the anger had become my best buddy, my protector, my love. Even today, when I need a place to hide, a defense mechanism, I long for my old friend, anger. You are so right, our conscious and unconscious need to know what the other is up to so we can stay balanced and healthy!

  4. Nicky,
    Thanks SOOO much for being the voice of my next much needed awareness on this journey!!
    Gary Zukav, Debbie Ford, Carolyn Myss first opened me to looking at/owning my shadow. Now, your work and wisdom lights my path as I continue being honest & true to myself!! Obvious righteous rebel-in so many areas!! Consciousness rises, as surely as the morning sun, regarding choices~and the consequences thereof! I am grateful you speak about the unconscious making friends with the conscious, so the balancing can continue as my truth comes to me, as I walk this inner knowing. You say “mind-blowing”, and yes, it is wonderfully so!! Thank you for all you are, do, create and express so well!!

  5. It is fascinating to me that when I first got into recovery I was full of feelings, very intense, strong, and seemingly long lasting feelings; I felt like a volcano ready to erupt at every moment. And then, I “judged” those feelings as bad or good or wrong or right, on and on–which made it all worse– because then I’d have feelings about those feelings. An endless cycle.

    I really get what you said. The feelings themselves weren’t as bad as my judgment on them. Now I try to accept my feelings–they are mine and I have them–and not judge them. Just notice them and either wave goodbye to them or do something to change what I can. Accepting ourselves is so important. I came from a family who had nothing good to say about anyone. It was a very controlling environment, and I learned at an early age not to have any feelings that didn’t align with those around me.

    It’s been hard to let those feelings just be without judgment. But it is extremely rewarding.

    Thank you Nicky.

  6. I absolutely need to feel all my feelings – not just the attractive and appropriate.. but the lovely and unlovely alike. If I stuff them they will come out sideways and in the process I am rejecting a part of myself – doing myself untold harm. That doesn’t mean I act on them.. I merely see what they are, where they manifest in my body, how I respond emotionally and investigate my past for triggers and tools.
    Until I discovered how I felt about all things, and the situations I was in and my choices I was unable to effect a difference. And, in that mix, I also had to learn to endure not being liked. I am not obnoxious, but I am now, more than ever, true to myself. And it took looking at ALL of me to feel comfortable there.

  7. Yes on top of yes!!! Thanks for sharing! ~Ann, a recovering righteous rebel

  8. Not sure I agree– but for reading,not a downer.would challenge most conclusions,but again,speaking from my life/ and experiences!!

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