Sunday, February 14, 2010

Letting the Thoughts and Feelings Be There

I got to the grocery store this morning and started feeling overheated in my winter coat, and very tired, and running behind schedule, and felt a rising panic. I practiced letting the feelings and sensations be there without judging them.

I hate the whole concept, because I judge the feelings very harshly, and I want them gone. It's only because the escalation of panic due to my incessant judging is so painful that I even consider following my therapist's advice.

I'm fortunate that Leonard has worked with me in session to focus on sensations without judgement, asking me to describe to him the heat in my cheeks, or the tightness in my chest, or the pressure in my jaw, and letting them be there without getting into a wrestling match. Then he'll ask me if I can tolerate the feelings, as they are.

Tolerating is different than liking. It's often uncomfortable, unpleasant or painful, but without the interference of my OCD interpretations of "I'm going to die. I can't stand this. What if I am seriously ill? What if I lose it?" toleration is possible. It takes all the strength within me to admit this. But I've seen what happens when I battle the thoughts and feelings. I've seen it consume me, and intensify the sensations, and truly cause me to lose it, and this creates just enough willingness in me to consider there are alternatives.

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